This week's Haftorah, Ezekiel 43:10-27, reveals insights into the destruction of the Second Temple and the secret to building of the Third.
The Second Temple was lost due to our offenses towards one another. The straw that broke the camel's back was the rejection and embarrassment of a Jew named Bar Kamtza. To paraphrase the account:
A Jew during this period had a friend named Kamtza and an enemy named Bar Kamtza. One day he made a feast and told his servant to invite Kamtza. Confusing the names however the servant invited Bar Kamtza by mistake.
Bar Kamtza, who had had some issue with the host in the past, assumed the invitation was intended as a gesture of reconciliation. Desiring shalom, he went to the feast.
But when the host saw Bar Kamtza, he demanded that he leave. Bar Kamtza, wanting to save face, offered to pay if he'd be allowed to stay. Being kicked out would be publicly humiliating. The host rejected his appeals and none of the rabbis at the event spoke up for him. He was thrown out in humiliation.
Bar Kamtza got up, brushed the dust from his clothing, and said to himself: “Since no one, not even the the rabbis who witnessed my humiliation, did anything to stop this outrage, they must have agreed with the host! I'll slander them to the Emperor!”
In revenge he claimed the Jews were plotting a rebellion. Bar Kamtza then created a scheme to support his lie and the result was the Roman destruction of the Holy Temple in 70 CE.
Rabbi Elazar said, “Come and see how great is the punishment for causing embarrassment—for G-d assisted Bar Kamtza [i.e., He allowed Bar Kamtza's plot to succeed because of the embarrassment caused to him] and HaShem destroyed His house and burned His Tabernacle.”
In this week's Haftara Ezekiel warns that we must learn from our mistakes if we hope to enter into the Olam Haba and experience the Third Temple.
Rebbe Nachman reiterates this in Likutey Moharan Book 2: Lesson 67 as follows.
The point:You, I, the United States, Israel, all the nations and all the people groups are in the situations we're in because of our choices. The Temple was destroyed because of our choices. The Temple can be rebuilt by right choices. We can choose to love G-d fully. We can choose to love and honor one another according to our abilities. We can do this. OR we continue in rebellion and accept the consequences.
Bar Kamtza betrayed the Jews because not a single Jew nor rabbi was willing to stand up for what was right. None of them demanded nor demonstrate Ahavat Y'srael. Love for our fellow Jews.
If we truly want Mashiach now, if we really want to experience the rebuilding of the Temple, its up to us. Let there be Shalom and let is begins with us.
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