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4. Establishing the Virtual Temple


As long as the problems which the construction of the real thing - the temple itself - are likely to pose, it is possible to use the means of "virtual reality" and of the Internet - which is already almost universally accessible - in order to produce a simulation of the temple, with its cells, chambers, courts and shrines. It is obviously possible to produce a simulation of the physical forms and to place various models of the temple - whether upon the Temple Mount (as has already been done in several versions, like the AVIMEDIA (1997) version or above it.

But what we are concerned with here is not a simulation of forms and the placing of various models on the image of the Temple Mount - the real challenge is to perform simulation of the temple processes as sanctification processes - to generate processes of sacrifice-as-nearing and spiritual transformation of the participants, who produce patterns of lights that add up to structures. In this way it is possible to examine simulations of "a temple of fire from heaven" as another option for building the temple. The essential question is how can you build sacred space in Virtual Reality and/or the Internet? This is a conceptual challenge which this industry has hardly contended with yet. The ideas discussed here could thus also pose a general challenge to the future technological development of cyber-space and computer-aided communications.

Many traditional forms of religious ritual are currently disintegrating through the impact of modern media, yet the human need for contact with the sublime remains. This need could find expression and nurturing in the virtual temple. There is a whole generation of people nowadays who would not go to a synagogue or a church, but would not neglect an entry into computer- generated environment to move their virtual images within it. Many people are likely to seek participation in the more exalted Quests of humankind, such as the return to Paradise, The Restoration of Israel, and the Coming (or Return) of the Messiah. The communication and simulation media could support communities and "virtual synagogues" which allow encounters of intensive spiritual rituals, and the virtual temple could constitute their global focus.

The virtual temple will contain, among other things, individual units - "cells"; places for group work - "chambers" or "lodges"; as well as "altars" and their equipment for the analysis (in Hebrew, "surgery"-nitu'ah) of the spirit and its healing. The pattern discussed above (2.1 Proposed Design 'A' - the Cubic Form) - that of the great cube so appropriate for the visions of the three religious - is, primarily, a matrix of cells, which is an excellent pattern for virtual reality applications. "The virtual pilgrim" will get an individual cell for his/her experiences of the Temple Process.


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4.1 An Example of Worship at the Virtual Temple Cells

The actual room of the user will be transformed to a temple-cell, in various degrees of elaboration according to the space the user may appropriate. In different situations of experience, it will become possible to view various aspects of the temple, in accordance with the level which the participant has reached. In addition, the participant may be accompanied by "Cyber-Angels" - who will serve as guides. Even occasional visitors might view the virtual models, but visitors who register as pilgrims, those who are ready to offer their sacrifice and to change, they may experience the processes for true sanctification at the temple.

Let us deal here in some detail with one of many possible processes: the visitor-pilgrim will start the process by a game-like questionnaire, which will help him/her to understand his/her psychological and spiritual make-up, and to understand his/her concepts about the divine/sublime, both in him/her and the universal. This is the first phase of a metamorphosis which - here, as with insect life - has three phases. This is thus the crawler stage, where the larvae of self interest (originally a Hebrew word play between Tola'at - worm, and To'elet - benefit) - the question "what will I gain from it?" is still central.

The pilgrim will "crawl" between the 26 adjacent cells (which virtually surround his cubical cell) - which are the 26 directions of spiritual movement (and 26 is the Gematria, the numerical sum, of the letters of the Holy Name of HaWaYaH). For each such movement, or spiritual turning, will be fitted a special set of exercises that reflects the verbal metaphor that describes this direction (such as "Up-right", "Left-Behind", "Down-Right", "Up-Front", etc) in various languages.

In the course of these exercises the trainee would be able to confront the reflections and shadows of him/herself, as well as the reflections of others. When the participant would be able to break through the screen/shell of his/her cell - (s)he will be able to form relations and encounters - both with other pilgrims and with archetypal-virtual figures.

Twelve out of the twenty-six cells which are available for each user (those in the direction beyond the twelve edges of the initial cell-cube) will indicate the archtypes of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and they will help him/her to find the "tribe" most appropriate for his/her psychological/spiritual constitution, the one (s)he identifies with and wants to belong to.

The passage from the larvae to pupa (Golem) phase entails the ability to resolve difficulties and frustrations in the course of the meetings with others, both virtual and real-human. The entry into the cocoon-cell amounts to a binding (Akedah, likewise crucifixion) to all those meaningful directions.

Reaching the pupa-Golem phase, the participant will face systems of games entailing role- taking (Hebrew Gilum), and the experiencing of the relationship systems that issue from them. The player who will not be able to give up former habits/addictions - will remain stuck. Likewise may happen with one who over-identified with the archetypes (such as the "Messiah Complex" which is fixated by egocentric and immature images). The objective of the games is to find ways (and there will always be some such ways) to leave the cell, the cocoon/Golem phase. In order to become a winged being - the player must seek ways of sacrifice, on one hand (or "wing"), and to learn to form a genuine and constructive relationship with the other - on the other. With these he may learn to "fly", namely transcend, over former limits.

It should be reiterated that this virtual system is not the goal, but a means to enable communications with the Divine. The system provides both the "chambers" for group work and the "altars" for the "sacrifice" of the psyche - its skinning, analysis-surgery, restitution and burning of the refuse. It is feasible to imagine certain altars and chambers as "Operating Theaters" in which a set of figures operate upon each other in turn, including forms of "open- heart surgery" to "remove the heart of stone" to substitute it with "new heart", a "heart of flesh" (Ezk. 11:19, 36:26).


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4.2 About Sacrifices in the Virtual Temple

Virtual deaths and sacrifices (as in most computer games) are not that attractive, and are not likely to engage the player spiritually. In order to gain some novel perspective about sacrifices in the virtual temple, we may examine what people do in Casinos (the meaning of that name is "small house"), whether the casino is real or virtual. The players place (makriv-sacrifice, mekarev-put near) tokens - which represent their material assets - upon the gambling table, which acts as a kind of altar upon which this "sacrificial offerings" are "burnt". In exchange, they expect the blessing of Chance, a process somewhat reminiscent of the people who used to bring their cattle (Mikne, literally "asset") to the temple, expecting a blessing, and the priests accepted these for slaughter and burning. (The corruption usually associated with casinos has to do with not having limits upon the willingness (or addiction) of people to sacrifice, whereas the in temple there were only sacrifices of set and limited tithes and offerings).

The utilization of casino-procedures may thus bring more realism and represent the element of risk associated with the offering of sacrifices. People who come to the temple in order to improve their lot will be able to "gamble" (le'hamer) on the spiritual degree they may attain, namely to convert (le'hamir) their current spiritual state for a level more fulfilling and satisfying.

Each participant may have to gamble on something important and dear. Two possibilities that merit investigation are: 1) personal confessions/annoying secrets which (s)he will be ready to expose in the course of the process, or 2) a real sum of money ("the blood" (Dam) is the soul", but also "Damim means money"). An important condition for the sacrifice of money is - just like it was in the real temple - that the money deposited shall not be more than a tenth from one's capital, and will be distributed to charities through certified organizations. (In such a case, there will be public control on the pledged sums, and the game operators will have no free access to the pledged accounts). It is important to examine well the possibility that the money thus sacrificed will be held for the community that forms in that occasion, and become dedicated for their realization of the Teachings that community received at the temple.

In the usual casino the roulettes have 38 markings. A similar arrangement might be found in the sacred casino ("house"). For example - in the picture of The Joint Quest for the Heavenly Jerusalem - Orientation, which presents a celestial palace in the form of a giant cube which contains many heavenly cubical cells. Around the picture there are 38 square cells, and the picture may double as a game board. The 38 squares on that game board represent the 22 Hebrew letters and the 10 cyphers-Sephirot (together the 32 "paths of Wonder" of Sefer Yetzirah), the "four living beings of the Chariot", and entry and exit-goal points. The players usually go around the perimeter (such as in "Monopoly" and many other board games), but at most squares there can be received Ot (Hebrew for both "sign" and "letter") that invites the player to enter inside, into the enchanted realm). It is possible to see this picture as an example for "a spiritual roulette" in which the letters roll in a circle of lights, and mark each time one of the 38 positions.

Just as the virtual temple is meant to follow the functions of the real temple - there will be functionaries that will accompany its operation: Priests, Levites and the great court - the Sanhedrin at the Temple - or any other court, each according to his/her trust and belief.

Upon entering the new temple, the pilgrim would thus be able to perform his self-sacrifice by handing an authorization to the court. Like the high priest of old, who used to draw up his Will before entering into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement, the pilgrim to the virtual temple (who may eventually merit to fulfill the role of the High Priest on behalf of the Whole- Israel (Klal-Yisra'el) will hand his Will to the Sanhedrin. The very act of writing one's material and spiritual will will constitute an excellent exercise for the person who comes to participate in the severe restoration-processes of the temple to re-form the pilgrim anew - as a recapitulation of the (re)Formation of Adam.

The Virtual Temple will be open to all the peoples, and will invite every human being to re- fashion one's identity and join the body (corporation) of "The New Israel" that may become "the New Adam". With humankind that is forecasted to reach a steady-state of some 10-12 billion people, then if some/all of them may become "Israel", the ancient tribe of Judah/Jews may grow up to one-twelfth of humankind.

The Hebrew book that contained this concluding article opened with an article about the cherubs in the temple. It is therefore appropriate to conclude our discussion of the Virtual Temple with the appropriate usage of the angels of cyber-space, or "Cyber-Angels". (The construction of the Mishkan-Tabernacle and the temple were the epitome of Hebrew art-work (Mlekhet Mahsevet), and the future temple may well be assisted by appropriate "Computer Angels" (Mal'akhe Mahshev) or "Cyber-Angels").

In a comprehensive survey on "angels in Jewish Life and Literature" (Margolies, 1994), there is given reference to the explanation of Rabbi Even-Yisrael (Steinsaltz, 1980) that many angels are produced through the actions of people, be they good or bad. Also in the Bible angels serve for encouraging rapproachment between people. Thus, for example "Jacob sent Mal'akhim (angels, as Rashi insists) to Esau his brother at Mount Se'ir" - in order to appease him and make peace with him. There is therefore no novelty in producing angels by humans or the use of images (even mechanical ones) or angels in the temple. The proposed innovation is in integrating the usage of images of angels in the (virtual) temple, with their individual production in accordance with the actions and condition of the pilgrim. The pilgrimage (Aliyah laregel, in the sense of "ascent") will be also ascent to the degrees of the soul (Nefesh, Ru'ah and Neshamah) evidenced by these "Cyber-Angels".

In other places (Hayut-Ma'n, 1996) I have proposed the use of computer-graphics images of angel-messangers for the support of fruitful inter-personal communications. There were referred graphic images usually based upon the "Tree of the Sefirot" for representing the mental states of the communicators. It is evident that the most appropriate place for "Cyber- Angels" is in the temple. In the processes of the Virtual Temple referred to above, the images of angels could present the necessary exercises - to represent the states of the degrees of the soul and whatever needs rectification. We have already mentioned the allegorization of the processes at the temple cells to the metamorphosis of larva, pupa and winged being on one hand and their characterization in the (Rabbinic) psychic system of Nefesh, Ru'ah, Neshamah, Hayah and Yehidah on the other hand. It is therefore very appropriate that when a person attains a degree of spiritual ascent in the temple, (s)he will produce an angel-messanger in the form of a winged creature who can "hover" through information space, and will send it to find an angel of a person who matches his/her in terms of requisites for closeness and completion.

In a temple dedicated to healing and peace-making (which is, again, the meaning of the temple of "Jerusalem"), there will be need for "Angels of Peace-making" (Mal'akhe hashlamah) to mediate between sides that need restitution and complementing. The first article in the book explained the use of the Cherubs in the temple to represent the unions between souls on behalf of the Whole Israel. Perhaps the main reason for the use of graphic means of "Cyber-Angels" that represent the soul-system of the temple pilgrims is to enable a computerized sorting of these representatives of the pilgrims and their matching, so that each soul could find her perfect mate for a need specific to her own perfection.


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4.3 TheHOPE.org - for the Sake of Jerusalem, the Order of Jerusalem, and the HEJERA

There are many people, both in and outside Israel, who are interested in the Future Temple of Jerusalem. There are various organizations which regard the future temple as their main interest, and there are Internet sites for furthering the interest in the temple, and there are others for the study of religions and worship in/for the future. It is likely that more will be added (especially with the approach of the Millennium), and some are bound to become interested in the ideas we have presented.

The Hayut Foundation, a non-profit educational organization dealing mainly with the renewal of Vision in Zionism, has joined with the High-Or Ltd (which develops a "Technology of Enlightenment") to open "The HOPE Site" in the Internet, in order to serve cultural and social innovations for all Israel. This site also intends to serve the cause of the proposed design of the future temple. It will be able to found through it "The Order of Jerusalem", for people everywhere, that the values relating to Jerusalem and the Temple are dear to their heart. Also ideas for "The HEJERA Project," (The Heavenly Jerusalem Association) - which appears in various forms in my writings - could promote the design of the temple. My article on The HEJERA Games (Hayut-Ma'n 1992) contains many ideas that are appropriate for the proposed temple exhibit, and the games are designed to serve as training for such work. An immediate and practical possibility that follows from the above is to work for the establishment of a Virtual Temple which will be designed for experimentation with the functions of the temple dealt in this paper.

The construction of "TheHOPE.org site" may be a certain simulation of the processes of building the Third Temple - as the coordination and joining of the descent of a temple from heaven and the building of the temple from the ground up by human work (Avinar, 1989). In this site are displayed huge Global Visions, which we do not know how to fully realize them, and various practical projects, mostly quite modest, that received their inspiration from the Global Visions, and are each quite feasible. The hope is that people who get impressed with the Global Visions will be able to find a project in which they will be willing and able to participate and/or invest. The fulfillment of the modest project will also further a bit the realization of the Global Vision.

In this context, the vision of the Building of the Temple could be detailed into scores and hundreds (and perhaps even thousands and myriads) of related tasks, each of which could be worked out by a modest group and by a reasonable investment. The original Tabernacle was built, as the Bible clearly states, through contributions of various kinds collected from all the people "..bring me offering: of every man whose heart prompts him to give you shall take my offering. And this is the offering... " (Exodus 25, Parashat Terumah). Whereas the appeal that seals the Jewish Bible - to build the House of the Lord in Jerusalem which is in Judah. (Chr. II 36:23) was given to volunteers, and this appeal is still (or again) sounding through the world's atmosphere. It will be obviously important to receive monetary donations to continue and perfect this work, but this is the place to emphasize possible contributions of "wisdom of the heart, to do all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the craftsman, and of the embroider.... even of them that do any work, and of those that devise artistic work" (Exodus 35:35), contributions made through programming, design and artistic skills. The many different components of the Virtual Temple could be produced by capable volunteers, first in rough forms, which will become refined through being tested by those interested.


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4.4 The Planned Application of High-Or Inc.

Another partnership of High-Or ltd, with Ye-Who Multimedia, has started the development of a virtual reality model of a set of cells dedicated to "The Inward Journey", in which each cell is dedicated to a particular kind of meditation or another spiritual exercise. The aim was that this system could be purchased as a CD-ROM that assists in personal spiritual development. But when it gets completed, this system could also work as a gate to the future Virtual Temple. When many people will have the CD-ROMs of "The Inward Journey", they will be able to communicate by the enclosed software via the Internet as in a multi-use game, a game where their individual cells join into a giant temple, and their movements between cells may induce the appearance of their matching "Cyber-Angels" also at the cells of other participants.

There are several additional versions in a very preliminary development. For example, in a version for Freemasons, the cells and lodges will be equipped with the accepted Masonic symbols, including the rough ashlar (the soul of the trainee) that must be cut and the three pillars of the Masons, which will be interpreted also as the three pillars of the Tree of the Sefirot. With the appropriate exercises, the trees will be able to grow and rise above the model of the whole Old City of Jerusalem as a grove (Pardes), a Paradise of the Trees of the Sefirot, and the hewn ashlars (Gazit) will become cleared into "the stones of pure marble" (discussed in the first part of the book) of the Temple of Light.

The proposed realization of High-Or Ltd deals with a new model of the Temple of Jerusalem, based upon the principles of the Vision of Ezekiel, which contains 10,000 "Virtual Temple Cells" that will serve people for spiritual exercises of human development and rectification. These people will receive feedback from the virtually-neighboring cells. High-Or will undertake the design and development, will operate, maintain and monitor the operation, and lease the cells, permanently or on a time-sharing basis.

The long range goal is to develop this temple to the degree that it will be able to grant the peak of religious experience to all "The Children of Abraham": to the Jew - participation in the new revelation of the Torah from Zion; to the Christian - participation in the revival of the Messiah; to the Moslem - ascent to heaven and the experience of "The Whole Man" (Al-Insan al- Kamil). The temple cells may also offer their owners a type of immortality, where their image can still continue to appear and interact with living participants and influence their development.


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Bibliography

A: In Hebrew

Avinar, Rabbi Sh. (1989): "leMa'alat Beit haMikdash haShelishi" included in "ShalhevetYaH - Pirke Kodesh uMikdash". Havah Publishing, Beit-El, Mobile Post Mizrah Binyamin 90300.

ADMOR haZaken: "Torah Or" and "Likute Torah". Kehat, Kfar Habad.

ADMOR Tsemah Tsedek: "Yahel Or, perush leSefer Tehilim". Kehat, Kfar Habad.

Bar Yohay, Shim'on: "Sefer haZohar". Many editions.

Luria, R. M. (1993): "Sefer Or haMikdash: Binyan, Hurban uBinyan". Jerusalem, Sha'arei Ziv Institute.

Vilmay, Z. (1981): "Agadot Yerushalayim" (legends of Jerusalem).

Nesiyahu, M. (1997): "Cosmotheism, Israel, Zionism, Judaism and Humanity - towards the 21st Century". Poetica - Tuvi Sopher Publishing. POB 39482, Tel Aviv.

Shefer, Sh. "Encyclopedia le'Inyane haMishkan vehaMikdash". 3rd vol - the 3rd Temple. Yefe Nof Publishing, haRav Zonnenfeld St. 25, Jerusalem.

B: In English

AVIMedia Ltd and N.G. Media Interactive (1996): "The Ultimate Temple CD-Rom".

Berman, J. (1995): "The Temple: Its symbolism and Meaning Then and Now". Jason Aronson.

Gold, E.J., (1984): "The Joy of Sacrifice". IDHHB, Nevada City California.

Hayutman, Y.I. (1991): "Computer Games for Social and Spiritual Development: a Survey of the HEJERA Games," in Glanvill, R. & de Zeeuw, G. (eds.) "Mutual Uses of Cybernetics and Science". Special issue of Systematica (Vol 8, No 1-6), Thesis Publishers, Amsterdam.

Hayut-Ma'n, YO-YO (1995): "A Feasible Pattern for Building the Future Temple of Jerusalem". In Trappl R. (ed): Cybernetics and Systems '94, Proceedings of the Twelfth European Meeting on Cybernetics and Systems Research, Vienna April 94. Singapore, World Scientific.

Hayut-Ma'n, Y.I. (1996): "Display Media for Human Communications", proposed for the infrastructure-research program of the Israeli Ministry of Science and the Arts, bid for scientific creativity, June 1996. (the proposal received no award, but is available on . Hayut-Ma'n, Y.I. (1996): "Realizing the Heavenly Jerusalem". on .

Kirby R. and Brewer, Earl D.C. (1993): "Temples of Tomorrow: World Religions And the Future". London: Grey Seal.

Margolies, M. (1994): "A Gathering of Angels: Angels in Jewish Life and Literature". N.Y. Ballantine Books.

Patai, R. (1947): "Man and Temple in Ancient Jewish Myth and Ritual". Edinburgh, Nelson. Rossman, P. & Kirby, R. (1990): "Christianity and the World of computers". London, SCM Press.

Rucker, R. (1989), "CA Lab: Rudy Rucker's Cellular Automaton Laboratory". Sausalito CA, Autodesk Inc.

Steinsaltz, A. (1980): "The Thirteen-Petaled Rose". NAY. Basic Books, re-issue, Jason Aronson.

Strachan, G. (1985): "Christ and the Cosmos". Edinburgh, Labarum Publications.

Sulley, H. (1887): "The Temple of Ezekiel's Prophecy". Sixth edition, 1984, Logos Publications, 9 West Beach Road, West Beach, South Australia.

Wolfram, S. (1986): "Theory and Applications of Cellular Automata". Singapore, World Scientific.


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