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Desiring and Delving

Based on a shiur by Mrs. Shira Smiles

The Sifsei Chaim quoting the Nefesh Hachaim notes that there are two aspects to the beit hamikdash. There is the physical beit hamikdash that was and the inner beit hamikdash which resides within each of us. If we understand the implications of this it means that if a Jew harbors inappropriate thoughts it is like bringing inappropriate things into the beit hamikdash. When we sin we are destroying the beit hamikdash within us. Hashem’s original desire was that each of us would be the conduit of the Shechina. If we haven’t merited to see the rebuilding of the physical beit hamikdash it means there’s something within us that’s lacking. First we must look inside us to see where we have gone astray. Very much part of what the beit hamikdash was about was an inner building, an understanding of what Hashem wants from us. Bein hamitzarim is a time of repentance, a time to reorient ourselves to be able to bring the Shechina back into our lives.

The Leket V’halibuv writes that a person should be filled with a yearning for the rebuilding of the beit hamikdash and the revelation of the Shechina. The third beit hamikdash will be rebuilt only by our wanting and desiring it. The Sefas Emes on the verse, “L’shichno tidreshu,” says that when we long for the beit hamikdash that is how we become part of the process of bringing it back.

The Nesivos Shalom notes that we mourn for the inability to mourn for the churban. The greatest tragedy is apathy and thinking we can live in a world without the beit hamikdash . When the beit hamikdash stood we felt Hashem’s presence. We knew with clarity what our priorities were, to sanctify the name of Hashem and we tried to live up to that ideal. Exile is apathy. It’s saying, “I’m ok where I’m at,” when in truth we can’t be ok in a world where there’s darkness and concealment of Hashem’s presence. Our avodah during this time period is to take an honest look and ask ourselves, “Am I living a life of exile? Am I mourning the outer building and forgetting about the inner building which is likewise missing?

Rav Kluger points out that our mourning and yearning for the beit hamikdash connects us to the spiritual closeness of this time. Chazal say, “One who mourns for Yerushalayim merits to see its joy.” The joy in the mourning is our pain and longing which binds us to the love experience of Hashem and Knesset Yisrael. The pain proves to us that we are still intrinsically connected. Our mourning for the churban is not a lament for the past but a way of bringing us to the reality of the geulah within us. The letters of Tamuz and Av hint to us that the days of teshuva are approaching. Our mourning serves as preparation for the yearning and closeness of the coming days of favor.

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