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Time to rebuild the "Temple of David"? Part 2

Given the difficulties and obstacles involved in rebuilding the Holy
Temple today in its proper place - Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount in
Jerusalem - some wonder why Israel does not first rebuild the
Tabernacle, at least as a temporary plan, until such time as
circumstances permit the Temple to be rebuilt properly.

Firstly, let us understand that on a conceptual level, the Tabernacle
and the Temple are one idea... not two separate commandments. The
commandment of "And they shall make for Me a Sanctuary, that I will
dwell among them" (Ex. 24:8), before being actualized in its permanent
location, was first fulfilled through the traveling Tabernacle - a
miniature version of the Holy Temple in modest form. But there were also
differences between the Tabernacle, as described in the Torah, and the
structure of the Temple, as explained in Tractate Middot. There were
also differences between the First and Second Temples.

There is a distinct relationship between the Tabernacle of the desert,
and the Holy Temple which stands in Jerusalem. In order to illustrate
why the Temple was preceded by the Tabernacle, the rabbis of the Talmud
utilized a parable:

"Rabbi Judah the Prince arranged for his son to marry. The Rabbi agreed
to provide for his son's livelihood for twelve years, so that the latter
would be able to continue with his holy studies unhindered. At the end
of this period the marriage would take place. When the son was
introduced to his betrothed, he was quite pleased, and said 'Let the
wedding take place in six years, instead.' But later, when the youth had
occasion to see his bride a second time, he said 'Let us have the
wedding now! And then I shall go and continue with my studies.'

The boy was afraid that his father would be annoyed with him, on account
of his efforts to bring forward the date of the wedding. But Rabbi Judah
told him: 'My son! On the contrary! Why, you have acted just as G-d
Himself did! For at first, the Torah states (Ex. 5:7): 'You shall bring
them in and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance... in the
Sanctuary, God, which Your hands have established.' (This means that
when the Jews will enter into the Promised Land, they will then build
the Temple). But afterwards Scripture suddenly states: 'And they shall
make for Me a Sanctuary, that I will dwell among them' (Ex. 24:8) -
meaning now, in the desert (Ketubot 62:B).

This anecdote of Rabbi Judah the Prince helps us to understand the
connection between the Temple and the earlier Tabernacle.

The main objective of the commandment to build the Temple is to
establish it on Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount. Nevertheless, on account
of God's love for the Jewish people - just as the anxious groom of the
story wants to go ahead and marry his bride as soon as possible, so too,
the Holy One sought to bring forward the time of His intimacy with His
chosen people.

Therefore, He commanded them to erect a temporary, traveling Tabernacle
of gold-plated cedar wood until the fixed Temple in Jerusalem would be
built, so that He could be close to Israel during this intermediary
period until they entered into the land.

The Tabernacle and the Temple are not two separate entities; in reality
they are one and the same. This idea is emphasized even more
emphatically by the commentators and scholars who point out that by
comparison, the measurements of the Temple in Jerusalem reflect those of
the Tabernacle. For example: the area of the Tabernacle was ten cubits
by thirty; the Temple stood at twenty cubits by sixty. The idea is that
although the Tabernacle's measurements were relatively small - small
enough to enable it to travel conveniently through the desert - still,
along general lines of comparison the two structures follow the same
pattern of design.

But once the Holy Temple was erected in its permanent, pre-designated
location in Jerusalem, the era of the Tabernacle officially came to a
close... and the Tabernacle, for all practice and purpose, became as
ancient history for Israel. New factors came into being, which
irrevocably altered the previous situation: The altar of the Temple was
established on its designated spot, the place on which Isaac had been
bound by his father Abraham. And the Sanctuary itself was erected on
"shoulder" of Mount Moriah, in keeping with the verse "He shall dwell
between his shoulders" (Deut. 33:12) This is the spot which had been
chosen by God since the very beginning of time; it was David and Samuel
who clarified that it was indeed this spot, the "threshing floor of
Aravna the Jebusite" (II Samuel 24:18) that God had chosen to rest His
presence for all time. From the time that the first Holy Temple was
built by King Solomon, there would be no going back to the Tabernacle.

“ You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”
Revelation 5:9-10

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