Revelations of the Messianic Era Depend on the Holy Temple

“The glory of this latter House [Holy Temple] will be greater than the former.”

Translation of a Hassidic discourse by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson

Presented with permission from the publisher, Sichos in English. Text is on-line at:

http://www.sie.org/templates/sie/article_cdo/aid/2348493/jewish/Part-I.htm

From Parts I, II, VI, XI and XII

By the Grace of G-d, spoken by the Rebbe on Shabbos Parshas Matos-Masei, 5722

 

“The glory of this latter House will be greater than the former.” (Tractate Chaggai 2:9)

There are two explanations to this verse. The simple meaning is that “this latter House” refers to the Second Beis HaMikdash [Holy Temple], which surpassed the First BeisHaMikdash both in terms of size [it was larger] and time, [i.e., it lasted for a longer period].

The Zohar, however, states that “this latter House” refers to the Third Beis HaMikdash which will be built, speedily in our days. This Beis HaMikdash will be greater than the First and Second Batei HaMikdash, both of which are included in the term “the former.” For they both were temporary, and the Third Beis HaMikdash will endure forever.

…We find a statement in Likkutei Torah [by the Alter Rebbe]:

“There are three Redemptions, the First Redemption [of the Jewish people from exile in Egypt] came in the merit of Avraham, the Second Redemption [of the Jewish people from exile in Babylon] came in the merit of Yitzchak [Isaac], and the [future] Third Redemption [of the Jewish people from their present diaspora] will come in the merit of Yaakov [Jacob]. ”

There it is explained that the Third Redemption [is associated with Yaakov (who is associated with the Divine attribute of truth), because it, like truth,] will be eternal.

The simple explanation [why Likkutei Torah refers to the Redemption rather than the Beis HaMikdash (the Holy Temple in Jerusalem)] is that building the Beis HaMikdash is one of the primary factors of the Redemption [in each case]. Thus, each qualitative elevation in the Beis HaMikdash brings about a higher level of Redemption. This is why the unique dimension of the [future] Third Redemption is associated with the unique dimension of the [future] Third Beis HaMikdash.

In addition, we may say that Likkutei Torah speaks of the unique dimension of the Third Redemption because the Third Redemption [possesses a quality] superior to the Third Beis HaMikdash. This can be appreciated from the fact that the [climax of the] Redemption, (the ingathering of the exiles,) will take place after building the Beis HaMikdash.[1] Nevertheless, [even] this dimension comes about through [the influence of] the Third Beis HaMikdash. (For this reason, [the discussion] (in Likkutei Torah) is based on the unique dimension of the Third Beis HaMikdash.) For  the Third Beis HaMikdash includes all the [spiritual] influences and qualities that will later be revealed.

According to the Zohar’s description4 of the course of events in the Time to Come, the Resurrection of the Dead is the final occurrence of all. We may thus say, that the revelation of the unique dimension of the Third Beis HaMikdash {which is its eternal truth} will be primarily in the final epoch of the Resurrection of the Dead, at which time we will be endowed with eternal life.

This is also related to the verse (Hoshea 6:2), “He has sustained us through the two days. On the third day, He will raise us up, that we may live in His presence.” There are two interpretations of “the third day”: a) it refers to the Third Beis HaMikdash;[2] b) it refers to the Resurrection of the Dead. The connection between these two explanations is [that] at the time of the Resurrection of the Dead, the unique dimensions of the Third Beis HaMikdash will be revealed…

As is known,[3] the world is structured according to the dimensions of space and time because its creation comes about through the medium of the [Divine] name E-lohim [which connotes G-d's power of concealing His revelation to the created worlds]. Were creation to have come into being [solely] from [the Divine name] Havayah, it would not have the limitations of space and time. [“Havayah” is the mundane substitute name for the Tetragrammaton name of G-d, which indicates the transcendent fusion of past, present and future as one.]

This is why with regard to the [place of the] Beis HaMikdash the verse (Genesis 28:16) states, “truly Havayah is found in this place,” for in the Beis HaMikdash, space was not subject to its [ordinary] limitations, [as reflected in the miracle,] “the space of the Ark was not sub­ject to measurement.”[4] Rather, the revelation that illuminated the Beis HaMikdash was the revelation of the Divine Name Havayah as it shines through the name E-lohim. For the Divine Name Havayah as it exists independently transcends space [entirely]. [Within the Beis HaMikdash, by contrast, space was significant.] Thus the Holy of Holies was of a clearly delineated size (twenty cubits by twenty cubits) and the Ark as well had a specific size (two and a half cubits in length and one and a half cubits in breadth), Nevertheless the “space of the Ark was not subject to measurement” [in that it did not take up any space in the room.] This represents the fusion of Havayah and E-lohim, [that within space, there will be a revelation of a G-dly light that transcends space].

[The implication that the name Havayah is above the concept of space], however, [requires explanation]: Even creation from the name Havayah creates something new that is wholly incom­parable to the source which brings it into being. {The revelation of Havayah within the framework of existence it brings into being merely results in nullification — that these created beings feel that their entire existence is solely that of the Divine light which creates them constantly}. Therefore it would seem [on the surface] that even the world as [it would be if] created [directly] by the Divine Name Havayah would also be subject to the limitations of time and space.

The explanation is as follows: Since we say that Havayah includes the past, the present and the future (as one), and time is [a continuum including] the past, the present and the future, it is clear that the concept of time would apply even if the world was created [directly] from the name Havayah [without the concealment provided by the name E-lohim]It is merely that in such a world, the past, the present and the future would be all as one.

Similar concepts apply with regard to space. The concept of space would apply even were the world to be created [directly] from the name Havayah. [On that level,] however the six directions of space would be as one.

Accordingly, we may say that the reason why there would be neither limitation nor division within time or space in the world as created [directly] by the name Havayah … is because [on that level] the world would be in a state of [absolute] nullification. [At that level] within the past, the present and the future (and similarly, within each of the six directions) is [felt] not their own state of being, but [only] that of [the Divine name] Havayah [through] which [G-d] creates them; [therefore, at that level] they do not conflict with each other and are, indeed, as one.

Based on the above, it is necessary [to clarify the following] point: In several texts, it is explained that [the dimension of] space within the Holy of Holies stems from the name E-lohim (although this space as well was not subject to the limitations of space) [— in contrast to the explanation given above that even from the name Havayah, there would be the possibility of space].

[The association with the name E-lohim is made] because the space of the Holy of Holies (twenty cubits by twenty cubits) is characterized by distinction [and hence, division] — each cubit was located in a different place. Such a division of space stems from the name E-lohim.

This, then, is what is meant by [the statement that] “the space of the Ark is not subject to measurement” reflects the fusion of [the powers of the Divine names] Havayah and E-lohim: The limitation and division of the space of the Ark [that it was of a specific measure] derives from the name E-lohim, while the fact that its space was not subject to measurement came as a result of the revela­tion of the light of [the name] Havayah within the space brought into being by [the Divine power represented by] the name E-lohim. This represents the fusion of [the powers of the names] Havayah and E-lohim

The main revelation of the fusion of [the powers of the names] Havayah and E-lohim … will be at the time of the Resurrection of the Dead which will follow the ingathering of the [Jewish] exiles [to their promised Land of Israel], i.e., the final stage [of the Redemption]. For the revelations that will be manifest within the world previously (redemption from exile and the ingathering of the exiles) are limited (when compared to the revelations that will take place in the Time to Come). For as explained above, they are merely a microcosm of the revelation within the Beis HaMikdash

This, then, is the meaning of the verse, “The glory of this latter House will be greater than the former.” Although the Future Redemption will include many wondrous dimensions, including the apex, the Resurrection of the Dead, still, the fundamental emphasis is placed on the “glory of this latter House.” For the source for all the revelations [in the Era of Redemption] will be the Beis HaMikdash. For it is the source from which [all the different revelations] will be drawn down into the world (as above).

This is also one of the reason why Mashiach’s first act (after he has attained the state of b’chezkas Mashiach [5] , will be the building of the Beis HaMikdash.[6] For this is the source of all things [in Messianic Era] that follow. Most importantly, may it be G-d’s will that all this take place most speedily.

Footnotes:

1. Rambam, Laws of Kings, beginning and conclusion of ch. 11.

2. Rashi, explaining the verse Hoshea 6:2.

3. Shaar HaYichud VehaEmunah (The Gate of Unity and Faith) ch. 7 states that space and time stem from the [Divine] name Ad-nai. The [resolution between that statement and the statement included] in the body of the [present] text, that [space and time] derive from the [Divine] name E-lohim, may be explained as follows:

The source of time and space is from the Divine name Ad-nai as stated in Shaar HaYichud VehaEmunah. The [present] discourse, however, speaks (not of the source of time and space itself, but rather) about the fact that time and space are not permeated by the illumination of the [the Tetragrammaton] name [represented by] Havayah that transcends time and space. This is a result of the [Divine power of concealment represented by the] name E-lohim that conceals the [Divine power of revelation represented by the] name Havayah.* Also when speaking in non-specific terms, the names E-lohim and Ad-nai are used to convey the same ideas.

* This is true even of the“unmeasurable space of the Ark.” From the standpoint of the revelation of Havayah alone, space would be entirely nullified [and not just unmeasurable].

4. Tractate Yoma 21b. {I.e., there were ten cubits from the northern wall of Holy of Holies to the Ark, ten cubits from the southern wall to the Ark, and the Ark itself was two and one half cubits wide. Nevertheless, the entire span of the chamber from north to south was twenty cubits. The space taken up by the Ark was not part of the measure of the chamber.}

5. [The term b’chezkas (“validly assumed”) Mashiach refers to a stage when Mashiach has already begun to reveal his identity by strengthening the Jewish people’s observance of their Torah heritage and leading them to victory in their conflicts with other nations to the extent that we can confidently presume that he is indeed Mashiach (Rambam, Laws of Kings 11:4).]

6. Rambam, ibid.

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