The Temple is not an object of worship. It is a holograph embodied in buildings and services showing all humanity that prayer actually works! It should not be surprising that the system of Holy Names, letters and numbers embodied in the Temple is so elaborate. People don't complain about the complexity of cars, computers and other wonders. They simply expect them to work! It is unnecessary to understand all the details of Mishkney Elyon in order to grasp that the power of the Temple as a channel of Shefa is bound up with the power of the Letters of Creation.
These "Letters of Creation" are the very "angels" that Jacob saw ascending and descending the ladder. The image of angels going up and down the ladder to heaven is a graphic symbol to all humanity, Jews and Gentiles, kabbalists and non-kabbalists alike, expressing how the letters of our prayers and songs "rise up" to God so as to elicit a descending flow of blessing and sustenance.
Letters and words are the building blocks of all human languages. The essential message of the Temple is that language is not only the medium of communication between people; it is our medium of communication with God. Prayer to God in any language creates a ladder of connection. The letters of our prayers channel power from the archetypal "Letters of Creation", the "Word of God" that brought all things into being.
Prayer may be offered at any time in any place. The system of letters that brings the Holy Temple into being is that of the "Holy Tongue", the sacred Hebrew language as revealed in the Bible. But all languages are rooted in the letters of the Aleph Beit, and therefore have the power to ascend the ladder to Heaven. In the words of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov:
"Your tongue and speech are holy when you sanctify them. When people speak to God in their own language it is also called the 'Holy Tongue'. Sanctify your tongue with words of holiness and guard against all forms of evil talk" (Likutey Moharan I, 19).
Only through the power of prayer will the House of Prayer for all the nations descend from heaven to be eternally established on earth. The more we focus our prayers and thoughts on the Temple, the nearer we bring the Temple dream.
In the words of the Midrash:
"Ezekiel said to the Holy One blessed-be-He: 'Master of the World: We are now in exile, and You tell me to go and inform the Jewish People about the plan of the Temple? "Write it before their eyes, and they will guard all its forms and all its laws and do them." How can they "do them"? Leave them until they go out of exile, and then I will go and tell them.' The Holy One blessed-be-He said to Ezekiel: 'Just because My children are in exile, does that mean the building of My House should be halted? Studying the plan of the Temple in the Torah is as great as actually building it. Go and tell them to make it their business to study the form of the Temple as explained in the Torah. As their reward for this study, I will give them credit as if they are actually building the Temple'" (Midrash Tanchuma, Tzav 14).
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by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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