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Between Exile and Redemption

July 19, 2017

The Temple Wall is the Eternal Sanctuary of the Jewish People. It`s not “our Temple”, but rather G`-ds Temple. Beneath it is the original Mishkan with the Holy Vessels- the Tablets, Menorah, Table for the Baked Offerings, and the Altar for the Incense, all layered in gold, With the arrival of the Third and Eternal Temple, the Heavenly structure will descend from heaven, perfectly aligned with the Temple built by Moses in the desert.

The rules governing the behavior of the Priests in the Temple were strict like nothing else. If the Priest had in mind one sacrifice while offering another, the misdirected thought rendered the Sacrifice unfit. The High Priest upon entering the Inner Sanctuary Chamber was disqualified by a list of items rendering him impure (such as a nocturnal emission, or touching a menstruant woman), not only was he forbidden from performing his ritual activities on the Day of Atonement: He would not survive the exposure to G-d`s sanctity. Despite the fatal statistic caused by the impurity of a High Priest performing a ritual on the Day of Atonement, there was an abundance of volunteers, since the Sanctification reached by the Priest would elevate his Soul to Eternal Sanctity – a duty for which the competition was fierce.

Of equal mystical complexity was the process of purification required to reverse the state of spiritual contamination. To allow the Priest and his family to partake of the tithes within the Temple walls required the ritual known as “purification by the Living Water taken from the Source of a natural fountain mixed with the ashes of the Red Heifer. Its for this reason that the discovery of the ashes of the Red Heifer is a pre-requisite of entering the Future Temple. This is explained in the Chapter “Chukkas” in the Old Testament (a Chok being that category of Law that is beyond human understanding. The entire phenomenon of “Sanctification” is beyond reason and understanding. That’s what “transcendence” means: the elevation that is conferred on the Priest and by the Priest on the entire Nation of Israel to a higher dimension. It`s a phenomenon that if you think you understand it is the ultimate verification that you`re wrong. By nature, sanctity is beyond us. We all live in varying states of exile, disconnection and separation from our source.

The Laws governing Sanctity are covered in the Book of Oral Law in an entire Tractate dedicated to the Laws of Purity (Kedashim), and in the 10th Book of Maimonides Magnum Opus “Mishna Torah”, referred to as “the Book of Ritual Purity”. Included in every Blessing of the New Moon and in the prayers dedicated to the Three Major Holidays when the entire Community has the imperative to visit the Temple bringing gifts and sacrifices, as long as the Temple remains in ruins, we substitute the Mitzvah of “Aliyah’s Hareggel” (walking to the Temple) with prayers formalizing a communal declaration that “because of our Sins we were Exiled from our Land ומפני חטאינו גלינו מארצנו, meaning “because of our sins we were exiled from our land”. The fact that Jews always lived in the Holy Land and even created a secular State there does not diminish an iota from our state of spiritual exile.

The current state of affairs is like an estranged couple living in different rooms in the same house for the well-being of the children. Or a couple living together out-of-wedlock. The reason being that Exile and Reconciliation are qualities that pertain to the state of emotional and spiritual intimacy versus alienation, having little to do with physical location. The entire matter of a relationship with the Western Wall pertains to a symbolic reference to alienation versus reconciliation. The variables are the most complex Laws pertain to the rules of sanctity as dictated by G-d through ancient texts. The only reason why the authority is given to the Orthodox has nothing to do with a state of entitlement or spiritual elevation, since as a tribe we remain alienated from G-d and in the darkest state of exile wherever we locate ourselves -in Israel or the diaspora, since the remnants of the external Wall (or Kotel) remain entirely symbolic.

The reason that authority over the Temple was given to the Orthodox Rabbinate, was because within the remnant of  Jews living in the Holy Land, only the Orthodox  continue to keep a steadfast commitment to the principles of the Torah that define and delineate those Divine parameters regulating our behavior that require an understanding that the concept of exile and impurity are one and the same.  And based on that belief, they exercise the necessary restraint based on the knowledge of the Divine Laws that dictate what constitutes purity from impurity, and exile from redemption. (These Laws are found in the Tractate of Oral Law- Mishnah, Kodshim; and Maimonides, Mishnah Torah, Sefer Taharah, Volume-10).

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