The Temple Institute: Temple Talk: Tishrei 26, 5768/October 8, 2007

"G-d regretted that He had made man on earth, and He was pained to His very core." (Genesis 6:6)

We have left our sukkot - our temporary dwellings - and relocated back into our well-furnished, well-insulated houses. For seven days we were palpably aware of the impermanence of the world around us and of the fact that the only fixed aspect of our existence is the Eternal One Himself. All else is of the moment. It is this heightened awareness that we need to bring with us back from the sukkot into the new year that awaits us.

As we start anew the yearly reading of Torah, beginning with Bereshith, the first chapters of the book of Genesis, we immediately see a parallel. Adam - the first man - was also palpably aware of the temporal nature of his own existence and of the eternal nature of G-d. After all, he was shaped and formed and breathed life into by G-d Himself! Seemingly within fleeting moments of his creation, Adam came to understand the transitory nature of his own stay in the Garden of Eden. Yet, within ten short generations, mankind managed to turn this knowledge on its head. Instead of acknowledging the One G-d, Creator of the universe, as the single fixed point in the world from which all truth and all existence originates, man began to fancy himself as being the center of the world, and toward realizing this erroneous notion, degenerated into idolatry, creating with his own hands gods to serve, and in turn, to serve his own egoism. It was but a short road to the licentiousness, violence, and contempt toward others that typified the generation of the flood. Is it any wonder that G-d "regretted" having created man in the first place, and determined to wipe all living things from the face of the earth?

Our sages teach us that G-d, even before embarking on the act of creation, determined the location of the Holy Temple on earth. Being that this location has existed since before time, and before space itself, it is self-evidently a permanent and immovable fixed point. And from this fixed point, G-d has chosen to dwell here on impermanent earth, with His children, the sons and daughters of Adam. For it was from the earth of this point that Adam was created and it was from the stones of this place that Adam first built an altar and made an offering to G-d.

There are people today - world leaders, in fact, who wish to tamper with this eternal verity, to cover up the holiness of this place, as if that were humanly possible, and treat this place as just another lump of clay, unwanted real estate. These believers in the flood generation ethos of self-worship and obeisance to worthless idols wish to drag the entire world into its web of deception. When man comes to recognize this place, the Temple Mount, as being the chosen place of G-d, and nothing less, then the world will once again recognize its own diminished significance. Seeking truth in this place of the Holy Temple, man will come to accept the impermanent nature of this world, while clinging to the Eternal One, the G-d of Israel.

The post-sukkot reality, parashat Bereshith, and the ongoing struggle over the Temple Mount, are all subjects for discussion on this week's TEMPLE TALK, with Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven.

Click to hear:

Part 1
Part 2