On a personal note, yesterday morning I had the opportunity to visit the Temple Mount for the first time. I was part of a group lead by Dr. Melissa Jane Kronfeld of High on the Har. It was an incredibly meaningful experience that I hope to repeat many times more.
On the one hand, I felt intense sadness being on the site of the Holy Temple and seeing the actual ruins of that temple and the holy ground occupied by a foreign nation. At the same time I felt an overwhelming sense of holiness and peacefulness.
The Hebrew word for peace is Shalom, which is also the word for “complete” or “whole” in an existential sense. When a person is totally at peace with himself, his identity…with who he is, he is Shalom. Standing on the Temple Mount I experienced that feeling of wholeness and internal peace that I don’t think I have ever felt before. That feeling has stayed with me, and I hope and pray that it continues to do so.
The Holy Temple was the pride and glory and soul of the Jewish People that gave every Jew a sense of wholeness and peace. Even now that it is no longer standing (hopefully only temporarily), it continues to emanate that holiness and peace for those willing to accept and grasp it. You don’t have to physically ascend the mountain to feel that peace but, at least in my case, being there certainly made all the difference in the world. You might feel the same way.
After visiting the Temple Mount, I have a much greater appreciation of what we lost and what we will, hopefully one day soon, have again. I can now mourn for the Holy Temple with greater sadness, and celebrate the holiness and peace that continues to emanate from the Temple Mount with new excitement and passion.
May we merit to be able to celebrate next Passover in the rebuilt Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
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