This past week we fasted and mourned over the destruction of the first and second Temples. More than that we are still mourning over the fact that we have not yet been fully redeemed. While it is true that we have the honor and privilege to be living in the holy land of Israel, we are still far apart in many ways, physically, mentally and spiritually. And we still await the coming of the third Temple, with all its inherent glory.
After the destruction of the first Temple it only took 70 years until the second Temple was rebuilt. After the loss of the second Temple we still have not merited to see the third one rebuilt.
Many books and commentaries have been written on the reasons we have not merited redemption. All agree that the main reason is the lack of love between us. We are all the children of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaacov, and it does not matter if a person is an observant Jew or not, if he is Sephardic or Ashkenazi, whether he is a chassid or a Litvak. What should concern us is how we can love one another. All of these differences in the Jewish nation only shows the strength we possess and not the opposite.
Love and hate are very universal terms. These two words might be the most used all over the world. We all want love but are very busy criticizing others. Why do we have such a hard time loving and accepting our fellow Jew? Can we only love someone who is exactly like us? Can we only wish well to someone we know and respect? Loving and accepting another person means that we open our hearts to someone who is different than we are. When we see others who are rude and obnoxious, poor or intolerable, we must not think that we are better than them. Instead we should think of what this poor Jew must have gone through, to behave in such a manner. Think merciful thoughts about this Jew and pray that good things should come his way.
Loving another person doesn’t mean that we must have great interaction with every person, nor do we have to befriend every person that we meet. It simply means that we should have feelings of kindness toward others and not feelings of hate, or revenge. There is so much that seems wrong and unjust in this world. As Jews, we must never forget that G-d is in charge and sees everything and everyone. He sees all of our deeds, the good ones and the not such good ones. Our job is not to be involved with what G-d does, and who he punishes for the injustices. Our job is to think favorably about all Jews no matter who they are. We are so fast to categorize others, what they should do and where they belong, how they should be punished. Why are we so busy playing G-d? Do we want Him to judge us with such scrutinizing eyes? For ourselves we want mercy and forgiveness. We really do not know how our deeds are measured in the heavenly court and we do not know how everyone is looked upon in heaven. Perhaps some of the people that are greatly respected here on earth, are not looked upon the same way up above. Perhaps the ones who are poor and pushed aside here are held in high regard in heaven. We don’t have the answers to these questions. We do know that G-d is just and merciful and all seeing. He rewards all for the good they do, even if a person only did one good deed and the rest of their deeds were rotten. He doesn’t dismiss anything and anyone.
The third Temple still hasn’t been rebuilt because we are busy evaluating each other and not enough time judging each other favorably. “Don’t judge another until you are in his place,” is a saying that we are all familiar with, but although we know the quote by heart we don’t always abide by it.
The next time you want to say something rude about someone, even if is true, think twice. What if it were you that was being talked about. What would you like them to say? We don’t have to have parlor meetings or fill auditoriums in order to pass on this message of loving one another. It is so much simpler. It starts with one person and one thought. Give G-d a good word about another or one good thought, and this one deed on our part is a great stone in the building of the next Temple. All of these good thoughts and love of one another, is what will bring us from exile to redemption.