Monday, August 4, 2008

Mourning the Beit HaMikdash

XGH asks if most Modern Orthodox today would really want the beit hamikdash and its ancient but currently primitive-seeming tradition of animal sacrifice back in our lives.

As such, he asks:

So, in these 9 days I shan't be mourning the loss of the BM (which has the added bonus of cutting out a lot of tedious kinot). Certainly there's much to mourn, 2,000 tragedy filled years culminating in the Shoah.

But the loss of the BM? Probably a good thing, all things considered.

Here’s my comment on that post:

The destruction of the beit hamikdash forced Judaism to evolve from the vestiges of paganism into a religion that was able to survive for then next 2 millennia.

However, the beit hamikdash was also a symbol of the independent sovereignty of Israel (even during the late period when they only had autonomy) and of the right of Jews to live in Eretz Yisrael.

The destruction of the beit hamikdash brought that era to an end, destroyed the symbol of their capital and initiated the period of exile. I think that that is more what the mourning is about, rather than the building itself.

As an analogy, think about 9/11. For most people it symbolizes the loss of life and a turning point in our collective consciousness. The commemoration each year is about that, not about the loss of the towers themselves.

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