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A House of Prayer for all the Nations

The holy Temple is needed by Israel and by the other nations as well.

On the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, more than two thousand years ago, there was a Temple, where people prayed and offered sacrifices. In the Holy of Holies – within the Temple – the Shechina, the presence of G-d, appeared, and it was very close to the nation of Israel. The organization of the world was very different from what it is today. That is how things were a long time ago.

However, two thousand years ago, on the Ninth of Av, which takes place this year on Sunday, the twenty-ninth of July, the Temple was destroyed by the evil conquerer Titus, who burned it to the ground and robbed its treasures. Titus built a victory arch in Rome that remains standing to this day, glorifying his great conquest of the Jews and Judaism. He did not understand that the main damage that he wrought was not to the Jewish people but rather to all the nations of the world.

I would like to elaborate on the above statement. In what way did the entire world and not only the Jews suffer from the victory by Titus? To clarify, I must explain how the entire world shared in the Divine service that took place on the Temple Mount, under the guidance of the nation of Israel.

Israel is a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Its role is to have an influence on the world, and indeed, when Israel is living on its land as an independent nation, when the Temple exists and the Divine service takes place as it should, the entire world benefits. All the nations of the world benefit from the spiritual influence of the nation of Israel, and as a result they will be spiritually uplifted.

Our sages stated that the Temple helped the nations of the world more than it helped Israel. “If the other nations had known how important the Temple was for them they would have surrounded it with armed guards to protect it, since it was better for them than for Israel.” The Temple is not meant only for Israel, it is a center for all of humanity. Everybody is influenced by it for the good (or for the bad), and everybody can make his own choice about the matter.

The Temple also belongs to the righteous people of the world, the Bnei Noach. It is true that the area of the Temple Mount which a non-Jew can enter is limited, but each and every one of the Bnei Noach can offer sacrifices which will be brought by the priests. Everybody can come to the Temple Mount to pray. G-d said, “My House is a House of Prayer for all nations.” It is the universal center of Divine service for the entire world.

“With respect to strangers who join with G-d to serve Him and to love the name of G-d and to be His slaves – all who protect the Sabbath from being desecrated and who uphold My covenant: I will bring them to My Holy Mountain, and I will make them happy in My House of Prayer. Their Olah sacrifices and other sacrifices will be accepted willingly on My Altar. For My House is a House of Prayer for all the nations. So says G-d, who gathers the dispersed people of Israel. I will yet gather all those who are still far away.” (Isaiah 56:6-8).

One period has been set aside as most appropriate for all the nations to come and show themselves on the Temple Mount, specifically the holiday of Succot, which is relevant to the natural world, when all seventy nations of the world can come to serve G-d. The prophet declares: “And it will come to pass that all those who remain from among the other nations who attacked Jerusalem will rise up every year to bow down to the King, the G-d of Hosts, and to celebrate the holiday of Succot” (Zechariah 14:16).

This shared service of Bnei Noach together with the nation of Israel at the holiest place in the world carries with it broad and great intensity, both in quantity and in quality. The result of this shared activity by Israel and the other nations, spiritually separated but performing related roles, is that a unique Divine light will be revealed in the world.

Therefore, at this time of year when we remember the destruction of the Temple we must do what we can to renew the desire to rebuild it. This is relevant not only for Israel but also for the whole of humanity, because the result will be that the Divine light will once again settle onto the entire population of the world. The return of Israel to its land, the rebuilding of the national homeland and especially the Temple will bring the light of redemption to the entire world. Let us hope and pray that this year we will be comforted by the renewed building of the Temple.

 

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About Moshe Goldberg

Moshe Goldberg
Moshe Goldberg is the English webmaster of Brit Olam - Noahide World Center. He has been a student of Rav Oury Cherki for many years, and he has been connected with Brit Olam since its early days.

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