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Wednesday, Tammuz 28, 5778 / July 11, 2018

We are now in the “Three Week” period, in which we remember the destruction of the two Holy Temples in Jerusalem.


The destruction of the first Temple took place over 2,500 years ago. The second Temple was destroyed around 2,000 years ago. Although the Temples were destroyed, the place where the Temples stood is holy forever. It is the place from where our prayers ascend to heaven.


The story in the Torah, when Jacob, in his dream saw a ladder standing on the ground and reaching into heaven and angels were going up and down, he was sleeping on the very place where the Temples would eventually be. He called that place, “The gate of heaven.” This is why we pray facing east, towards the place where the Temples stood.


Q.  Why is it so important to remember these events which took place thousands of years ago?


A.  We believe that nothing happens by chance. The reason the Temple was destroyed was a result of their sins at that time. We remember these unfortunate events, in order to correct them. Thus, G-d willing, we will merit our redemption and the re-building of the Temple, with the coming of Moshiach.


Napoleon once passed a synagogue, on the fast day of Tisha B’Av (9th of Av), and saw Jews sitting on the floor, reciting prayers and weeping. “What are they weeping about?” he asked.  He was told the Jews were mourning the destruction of their Holy Temple and the loss of their land.


“How long ago did this occur?” asked Napoleon.  “About 1,800 years ago,” he was told.


“A people capable of crying for so long over their destroyed Temple and Land, will eventually find their way home, There is no doubt that their Temple will be rebuilt, ” said Napoleon. 


Q.  Why were the Holy Temples destroyed?


A. Our sages in the Talmud tell us that the First Temple was destroyed due to the sin of Idol worship, as the Jewish people were influenced by their neighbors, accepting many of their customs and ways, including idol worship. The Second Temple was destroyed due to “unjustified hatred” amongst the Jewish nation.


Q. How do we correct the sin of unjust hatred?


A. Through acts of goodness and kindness, even to those about whom we may feel that they are not deserving of our kindness. We also give more charity to show our caring for each other.