Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Building the Beis HaMikdash

Today is the day before Chanukah (which is a bit like the day before Xmas, except completely different). It is the 24th of Kislev.

Historically this is the day of the foundation of the Second Beis HaMikdash, as recorded in the prophecy of Chaggai (2: 10-29). The Kaf HaChaim brings that there is a minhag to learn this section of Navi today. So without further ado - here it is.

On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month of Darius’ second year, the L-rd spoke again to the prophet Chaggai. “The L-rd who rules over all says, ‘Ask the priests about the law. If someone carries holy meat in a fold of his garment and that fold touches bread, a boiled dish, wine, olive oil, or any other food, will that item become holy?’” The priests answered, “It will not.” Then Chaggai asked, “If a person who is ritually impure because of touching a dead body comes in contact with one of these items, will it become impure?” The priests answered, “It will be impure.”

Then Chaggai responded, “‘The people of this nation are impure in my sight,’ says the L-rd. ‘And so is all their effort; everything they offer is also impure. Now therefore reflect carefully on the recent past, before one stone was laid on another in the L-rd’s temple. From that time when one came expecting a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten; when one came to the wine vat to draw out fifty measures from it, there were only twenty. I struck all the products of your labor with blight, disease, and hail, and yet you brought nothing to me,’ says the L-rd. ‘Think carefully about the past from today, the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, to the day work on the temple of the Lord was resumed, think about it. The seed is still in the storehouse, isn’t it? And the vine, fig tree, pomegranate, and olive tree have not produced. Nevertheless, from today on I will bless you.’”

G-d will bless us, even when we are not worthy of His blessings. How much more so if we strive to draw closer to Him and his laws and His Beis HaMikdash.

We are about to celebrate the rededication of the Beis HaMikdash by the Chashmonaim, and all the miracles of Chanukah. Today is the anniversary of the building of the Beis HaMikdash. Let us strengthen our faith in the future rebuilding and dedication of the third Beis HaMikdash, and whatever the government decides or promises, let us never lose sight of the fact that G-d runs the show, and that He will perform miracles for us at the right time. May that time come soon and we all merit to celebrate the rededication of the Beis HaMikdash speedily in our days.

Chanukah Sameach.

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