Insights and Patterns
Towards Building the Temple Today
This is a translation of the second essay by Dr. Y.I. Hayut-Ma'N in the Hebrew book "Let the Old be Renewed and the New Sanctified - insights into the Meaning of the Temple" (haYashan Yithadesh vehaHadash yitkadesh - he'arot leMashma'ut haMikdash).
1.1 The Problem
The hope to return to Jerusalem and to rebuild the temple has accompanied the Jews for the last two thousand years. Ostensibly, also millions of evangelic Christians are aspiring for it, as well as "Free Masons" and others. But in practice the Israelis recoil from advancing this cause. Some because it is not relevant for them, some out of worry from a confrontation with the Islamic world, and some from a religious belief that the Third Temple will not be built by human hand but will descend ready-made from heaven. Yet the idea of building the temple has a tremendous appeal, and in fact the interest in it is rising. Therefore mere avoidance of the issue cannot solve the dangers. The possible advantage that might issue from building the temple is missed, even though the temple could have had global significance. Moreover, Jewish existence and identity remains split and unwell, since the expectation of many generations of Jews was to rebuild the temple, and now that it may be possible - the traditional hopes are denied.
Objections and Opposition for the Future Temple
Presently, there is hardly support for the idea of renewing the temple. For the majority of religious Jews - let alone the secular ones - the subject is not a practical one. The feeling is that there is no deficiency. When the question of renting the temple is raised, there immediately rises opposition to it. The main objection is the worry that this intention may bring a war with the Moslem world. Parallel to this raises the claim that the traditional function that the temple is supposed to fulfill - a place for sacrifices - is no longer meaningful for the people. On the contrary: many object vehemently to this. Even among those who pray daily for the rebuilding of the temple, most of them actually object to its building, or claim that the temple will descend ready-made from heaven as a temple of fire. It seems as if Rabbinical Judaism, which has developed after the destruction of the Second Temple, has become accustomed to function without the temple. Moreover: the renewal of the temple may threaten its traditional institutions.
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1.2 The ApproachIn order to solve this inner contradiction, it is necessary to raise a new vision of the temple which will be relevant to the new social needs and which could remove the dangers which are being associated with building the temple. In the following essay we shall present an architectural-cybernetic concept for the future temple, one that can remove most of the objections for the building of the temple, and propose it as an important and necessary vessel for human reconstruction on a world-wide scale. Following is a plan for a "virtual reality version" of this temple which is capable of immediate realization. This virtual temple could reinact the spiritual-social functions of the temple and help to nurture the desire for building the physical third temple.
Future Zionism - the pilgrimage to the Temple and to the Heavenly Jerusalem
Elsewhere (Hayut-Ma'n - "Realizing the Heavenly Jerusalem"), I have claimed that upon reaching its hundredth birthday, Zionism should change and become a movement for the realization of the Heavenly (or "The New-") Jerusalem. This is intended to be a new type of Zionism - a universal Zionism. This movement will be focused upon Jerusalem, and the Jews will indeed be its pioneers, but its building will be made in an international context.
Both Isaiah (2:3) and Mikhah (4:3) have referred to a future "Zionist" vision when they prophesied "for out of Zion will issue a Torah (teaching) and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem". The prophets saw the new temple as the fulfillment of Zion and the Heavenly Jerusalem, and envisioned that the new Torah will be revealed to the pilgrims who participate in the workings of the future temple.
The future temple should be part and parcel of the world of all those who appreciate the Biblical tradition, and who expect the development - even the transformation - of all humankind. Whole humankind - and not just the Jews, as announced by the prophet Isaiah (56:3-7):
"for My House shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations".
In his exegesis to the Book of Genesis, Nahmanides (a 13th century Kabbalist and one of the greatest Torah interpreters), draws a parallel between the wells excavated by Isaac (Gen. 26:18-22) and the three temples. The first two were destroyed because of the envy and hatred of the gentile nations, whereas the third, like the well of Rehovot, will be accepted by the gentiles, and thanks to this will be able to survive and extend the influence of Israel in the world.
The Future Temple as the Focus of Social Transformation
Many contemporary movements (including, but certainly not exclusively, "New Age" circles) have put individual growth, even transformation, as the national goal. In developed societies this goal has replaced the struggle for national liberation. But such personal-spiritual gains may exacerbate the problems of alienation and disintegration of modern societies. At the same time, the most significant contemporary change of humankind is a change in the direction of unification, towards a universal society, a kind of giant human super-organism or a "Global Brain". These changes are the result of the economic and technological ("technotronic") development of organizations, rather than of individuals, and no appropriate socio-spiritual development has yet been matched. The contemporary world needs new means of social and organizational changes in order to insert spiritual values into the emerging social systems.
Traditionally, Judaism was more the religion of communities than of individuals, and the future temple - which would be its hope and its fulfillment - should bring this tendency to fulfillment within the present and future needs of the entire human community. The model proposed in the following chapters is an attempt to sketch such a possibility.
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2. A Possible Pattern for Building the Future Temple
Alternative Forms for Building the Temple
In order to raise the interest and encourage the discussion of the temple among those who worry about the above-mentioned problems, three alternatives were offered, in which it is possible to build and operate the temple of Jerusalem without interfering with the present structures on the Temple Mount. The principle of the first proposed model which is discussed below - is a giant cube, about 200 meters (600 feet) on each side, built upon giant pillars which are based outside of the Temple Mount, and constructed above, without interfering with the existing structures. Above the pillars are supported four steel "space- frames" containing thousands of cubical cells, all looking like a cubical envelope over the Temple Mount. We shall see below that this form fits perfectly with both the Jewish, Christian and Moslem conceptions of the Temple. Its source is a certain legitimate interpretation of the vision of the prophet Ezekiel, according to which the future temple will contain thousands of cells and chambers whose function was not specified in the prophecy. According to our interpretation the cells are intended for individual forms of rectification and (self) sacrifice, and the chambers for the appropriate forms of group work.
The Dimensions of the Future Temple
One aspect that will distinguish the future temple from its predecessors will be the size. The two former temples were much bigger than the Mishkan (tabernacle), even though some of the components were repeated in all three. Also the two past temple buildings differed in size, especially at the final period of the Second Temple, when king Herod extended greatly the Temple Mount and the Temple of Jerusalem. But the future temple will be much bigger. It is apparent from the vision of Ezekiel that the area of the Third Temple will be 36 times that of the First Temple and of the Second Temple in its outset, and the main structure in it will be a giant square of about one mile each side.
The new principle that issues from the prophecy is to build a kind of envelope around the present precincts of the Temple Mount. The majority of Jews believe that, because of the sanctity of the First Temple, no one should enter its precinct. So even those Jews who do go up to the Temple Mount, make an effort to stay as far as possible from the assumed place of the Holy of Holies. The idea of the "envelope" is that the future structure of the temple will be built over the domain and to its sides, and will leave the precinct itself, with its religious and political problems, without interference. The great dimensions mentioned above will allow such an approach.
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2.1 Proposed Design 'A' - the Cubic Form
In this design the future temple is suggested in the form of a giant cube which will act as a vehicle for social communications. The cube, about 200 meters (over 600 feet) on each side is in fact an extension of the cubical form of the Holy of Holies. Strachan (1985) has pointed the functional significance of the cubical space, and in the following we shall point to the symbolic meaning of the cube as seen from the outside. This cube may be very meaningful to Christians, Moslems and Jews alike. For Christians, this is the cubical form of "the New Jerusalem" described in the Book of Revelation (21:16) which seals the Christian Bible. Nowadays we witness the resurgence of many Christians sects which attribute a great significance to this book, within their expectation for the return of the Messiah, and some regard the New Jerusalem (described there as a giant cube) an abode for many thousands of people. For the Moslems, the cube is the cube-Ka'aba of Mecca - the Moslem Holy of Holies - that would be moved/translated to Jerusalem. An ancient Moslem legend (Vilnay, 1981) relates that at the End of Days the Ka'aba will fly from Mecca to Jerusalem. Since the Moslem resistance for the rebuilding of the temple is its main impediment, this proposed design may mitigate the Moslem resistance and it may well be seen as the fulfillment of the Moslem visions as well.
As for the Jews, the cube is the form of the Tefilin (Phylacteries), which every religious Jewish man dons over his forehead and arm during prayer, to bind his soul to God. The legend in the Berakhot tractate in the Talmud claims that God Himself dons Tefilin. The proposed design may then symbolize to the Jews kind of head Tefilin - a most important religious object for the orthodox - put over Jerusalem. There are some who assert that wearing the head phylactery equals "opening the Third Eye" in the head (perhaps to stimulate the pineal gland to form a new integration between the two brain (cortical) hemispheres, which will bring about a intuitive and holy-holist vision). Even "New Age" adherents may see in the temple cube a head phylactery geared to open "the Third Eye" of the "Global Brain".
The functional aim is for a hollow cube, namely just like the space of the Holy of Holies, only on a giant scale. The four walls will contain cells - just as did the walls of the Holy f Holies in the Second Temple - and these cells will serve people in their encounter with the Presence of the Lord (the Shekhinah), and with their own supernal and eternal soul. Assuming that these walls will be built as a closely packed (but squared) "honeycomb" of cells, that on each floor will be 50 such cells and that there will be 50 floors in that giant cube, there will be 2,500 cells on each wall and 10,000, a myriad, cells in the whole future temple. In a larger cube, of about 70 floors and cells in each floor - there will be twice this number of temple cells.
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2.2 Alternative DesignsTwo additional alternative designs which merit consideration are:
B) Conversion of the entire Old City within the walls to a temple. In this design there is no major alteration of the Temple Mount, but the existing structures within the Old City will change their function from residential and commercial facilities to hostels and meditation-cells for the pilgrims. (Instead of the current struggle going on between Jews and Arabs over every property for sale in the Old City, often with threats on the life of the sellers - the owners would be able to sell it for a better price and for a goal common to all - namely the temple.) All the cells will be interconnected by a communications network that enables their coordinated practices (see below). On this communications network will appear a virtual model of the temple, whether in the pattern of the Second Temple, the Temple of Ezekiel's Vision, or perhaps the pattern of the Dome of the Rock as it is, but usable for a renewed, ecumenical, ritual (the selection question capable of rational solution, including selection of pattern by the user). The pilgrims will undergo their real personal experiences in these cells in the Old City of Jerusalem, will send their "Cyber-Angels" and will guide them to share in the ritual in the virtual temple.
C) Building a giant cube "Tabernacle" (Sukkah) or Ka'aba over the Temple Mount (or even the entire Old City - see picture "The Quest for the Heavenly Jerusalem - Realization") as a framework for carrying the equipment required for projecting holographic and other light figures - a kind of "Temple of Fire". The figures will appear in accordance with the integration of the pictures-offerings of the pilgrims (see below) participating in the Temple Process from their cells in the Old City (as proposed in alternative 'B'). The picture "The Quest for the Heavenly Jerusalem - Realization" exhibits such a possibility in which there appears, among other attractions, specifically a gigantic image of the Dome of the Rock, which is seen to hover or roost over that gigantic "Ka'aba". We deem that at least this aspect of the future temple will meet no resistance from the Moslems - but quite the contrary.
In all the three alternative designs, the primary importance is for the individual work which is undertaken within the Temple Cells and which is surveyed below.
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2.3 Cells of the Future Temple
Both the Hebrew word Ta and the Latin word 'Cella', which bred the word for cells in the European languages, are used to describe the basic component of every living being. They both originate from the term for the small, inner, chambers in the Temple, both the Jewish and the Greek-Roman. The Hebrew term appears in Ezekiel chapter 40 in the description of the Future Temple. There are authors who claim that the cells within the ancient temples served for the initiation ceremonies of the priests. The aspirant would undergo a detailed rigorous preparation, and then would be locked in the cell for a system of spiritual exercises, which prepared him for an encounter with the deity, or his/her representatives. Eventually the term 'cell' was copied to the Christian monasteries, as the place for the individual prayer and spiritual exercise. When plant tissues (cork) were first observed in a microscope, the plant cells reminded the observer of monastic cells, and were thus given this name.
In this essay we rely on the prophecy of Ezekiel, which describes cells in the Future Temple, but we can also rely on the possibilities of modern construction and the spirit of our times to multiply their number considerably. Their operation will correspond both to the Biblical- Hebrew Ta and the Roman-Christian 'Cella', and will form a matrix (namely 'womb') of cells for the formation of a new social organism.
In our proposed design, the cells will be smallish rooms (about 3 X 3 X 3 meters), arrayed along the side of a corridor facing the Temple Mount. Each cell will be equipped with the required minimum: water, a little food, a prayer/exercise carpet, "the Temple Manual" and a computerized system for communications and exercise. Each pilgrim will be (initially) isolated from his/her neighbors, to enable him/her to experience spiritual and ecstatic experiences in the most intense manner. But each inmate will be able to examine the patterns appearing on the Temple Wall opposite, perhaps also the walls to the sides, in order to connect with the communications among the myriad cells through the computer screen, and to view the form taking shape within the inner space of the temple, over the Temple Mount.
There is a Jewish exegesis that the original Tablets of the Torah from Sinai were themselves cubes of shining stones. In the hints in the Talmud about the contemplations of Yorde haMerkavah (embarkers of the celestial chariots) are mentioned "stones of clear marble" which are apparently the tessellations of the heavenly temple. In the new Zohar for the Biblical Book of Lamentations, the tessellations of the temple are described as 600,000 such stones which surround the Holy of Holies. also the mysterious description in Psalm 139:4-15, about the formation of Man is connected with the idea of a book that includes all the souls "Thou hast beset me behind and before..... Thy eyes did see my unshaped form (Golem); for in thy book all things are written.... ",
The tessellations of cells create a matrix. The word "matrix" means literally "womb". A cubical matrix of a myriad of cells, or a mosaic of "stones", as tablets of the personal codes - these surround the place of the divine presence (the Shekhinah) and are ready to receive the the seed of the divine revelation, and to join together as an multi-cellular organism or as a book composed of the many tablets.)
Next section: 3. New Insights Towards Building the Temple
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