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The other side of the Wall

Most people know that the "Kotel" or Western Wall in Jerusalem is Judaism's holiest spot. But many have little idea of the true significance of the place.

The massive stone wall with its famous golden hue is the last remaining vestige of the Holy Temple that stood on this spot in ancient times. The Kotel is the western wall of the Temple Mount.

In the Bible the Temple Mount is called Mount Moriah. This was where Abraham came to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22). Later, Jacob came to the same spot and had his dream of a ladder stretching from earth to heaven (Genesis 28).

Over two thousand eight hundred years ago (in 825 B.C.E.) King Solomon built the First Temple on the same spot. It stood for 410 years until its destruction by the Babylonian armies in 422 B.C.E.  Seventy years later the Second Temple was built in the same place. It stood for 420 years until its destruction by the Roman armies in the year 68 C.E.

Isaiah, Ezekiel and other major biblical prophets foretold that eventually a new Temple will rise in the same spot and be the unifying focus of all humanity, "the House of Prayer for all the Nations". Every day Jews everywhere face this spot and pray for the new Temple that will bring genuine peace to the entire world.

Foundation Stone of the world

Why is this place revered by millions of people all over the world?

The Kabbalah teaches that the massive rock on the Temple Mount known as the "Foundation Stone" is the energy point from which the earth expanded at the time of its creation.This point is the interface  between the physical world and the spiritual plane of existence.

This is symbolized in Jacob's dream of the ladder, where angels were "going up" and "coming down". Jacob dreamed this as he lay in the place where the Temple was to be built. The meaning of the dream is that in the Temple, human actions such as prayers and services "go up" to the spiritual plane, causing Godly blessings to "come down" to the physical plane.

This is why it is so important to have a House of Prayer for all the Nations on this spot. It will bring ecological balance and peace to the entire world.

In the words of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto in his book on the Temple: "This is the center point where all the branches of the Tree of Life connect with their roots, channeling a flow of sustenance and blessing to the entire world."

At Barmitzva celebrations and on other happy occasions, it is customary to say "I put Jerusalem above my greatest joy". This is to remind us that as long as the Temple is not rebuilt, we cannot be entirely happy because deep down we know how peaceful and beautiful the world would be if we had the Temple.

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Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto
Kabbalistic genius

Born in Padua, Italy in 1707, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto  was a child genius. By the age of 14 he mastered the wisdom of the Kabbalah. At the age of 22 he wrote a manuscript explaining the secret meaning of Ezekiel's vision of the Future Temple. Because of a furious controversy raised by rabbis who thought he was a false messiah, he hid the manuscript away. It was was discovered in 1956 in a bundle of papers in Oxford University's Bodleian Library.

"I will teach you wondrous wisdom the like of which you have never heard. Then you will know how the King of the kings of kings watches over His creatures and conducts His universe in an ordered manner... You will be able to understand the way the world is run and how God gives each day's portin of food and sustenance to all His creatures, each in its proper time."

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto is the author of the classic guide to spiritual growth, Mesilat Yesharim ("Path of the Just") and many other works. He died in 1747. 

"If a king arises from the House of David who studies the Torah and practices the commandments like David the written and oral Torah and brings all Israel to follow the Torah, it may be presumed that he is the Messiah. If he successfully builds the Temple in its place and gathers in the exiles, he is certainly the Messiah and he will bring the entire world to serve God in unity."

Rambam (Maimonides) Laws of Kings 11:4

The design of the Future Temple is prophesied in detail in the Book of Ezekiel (Chapters 40-43).

 

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