14 July 2021

Teshuvah and Atonement Will Rebuild the Beit HaMikdash

5 Av 5781 

Our Sages have a saying:  "If the nations had known what the Holy Temple meant for them, they would have posted guards around it to protect it."  So it stands to reason that if the Jews only understood what the lack of our Holy Temple means for the world today, nobody would be asking why we still need to fast on Tisha b'Av.

But what does fasting really accomplish you may ask.  If it's seen as just a way to make us feel sad over what happened in the past, probably not much.  

The only other 25-hr fast on our calendar is Yom Kippur.  On that day, we already understand that "afflicting" ourselves - suffering - provides an atonement for our sins.  If we look at our fasting, and other forms of abstinence, on Tisha b'Av the same way, then we will see that it is a way of atoning for the sins that not only brought about the destruction of both batei mikdash, but continue to prevent its rebuilding in our days.  

If the Jews, as well as the nations, could just grasp what the rebuilt Holy Temple would mean for the world, we would all be willing to do whatever it takes to ensure its reconstruction.

Imagine that your teshuvah and the atonement you can make via your own self-sacrifice of fasting on Tisha b'Av would create a stone brick which would be dedicated to building the Third Holy Temple.  Imagine that over all these years, all the bricks created by all the Jews fasting every Tisha b'Av have been accumulating and when there are enough in the stockpile to complete it, Hashem will give the order to rebuild.  Now, imagine that this year, your stone brick is going to be the final one - the one that all of creation has been waiting for these past 2000+ years!  Imagine the pure joy that will erupt in Shamayim!  That's how Tisha b'Av becomes a holiday.

Hashem, may all of our suffering be accepted as a kapparah in atonement for the sins which removed Your Presence and Your Holy House from our midst.  And may we merit out of the abundance of Your kindness and Your mercy to see the return of both, speedily in our days.  Amen!


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