Longing for the Beit Hamikdash

Two year ago from this Shabbat, I helped Drexel AEPi run a Bar Mitzvah. I’ll have to tell that story another time, it’s too good – and long. But in preparing for it, I was helping some of the brothers learn to read Hebrew and lain. I was teaching them one of the pesukim in this week’s parsha and they asked me to translate it. It happened to be about stoning people who worship Ov and Yidoni – not exactly the most politically correct topic, nor one that people find most attractive about Judaism. But what the heck, I figured, and I told them exactly what it meant. “Woah!”, they exclaimed, “That’s awesome! Do we still get to do that?” I told them no, that since the destruction of the Temple a few thousand years ago we no longer have the judicial authority to punish people the way the Torah prescribes. To which one of them responded: “Man, I wish we had the Temple back.”

Out of all the times we say in davening or zemirot that we wish we had the Beit Hamikdash back – how many times did we actually mean it? Here was someone who didn’t know much – but at that moment, on his own, he really meant it when he wished for the Beit Hamikdash. Our people never cease to amaze me…

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