Rebuilding the Broken Wall

Rema rules that it is prohibited to destroy part of a Bais HaKnesses unless the intent is to build in that spot. The Mishnah Berurah explains that in such an instance it is not considered destroying; rather it is considered building. He then mentions that many authorities permit drilling a hole in the wall of a Bais HaKnesses in order to attach a shtender even though Taz is stringent about this matter.

Mishna Berura Yomi Digest
Halacha Highlight
“Breaking part of the wall of a Bais HaKnesses”
Rema Siman 152 Seif 1 (b)

So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.John 2:18-22 (ESV)

But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.John 19:34 (ESV)

I suppose you could say that today’s “meditation” is an extension of what I wrote yesterday. But when studying this topic, I can’t avoid the connection between the tearing down and building up of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and the “tearing down and building up” of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. We see that, as Rema rules, you are not to destroy any part of the Temple or a synagogue unless you intend to also build on that very spot. How much more do we understand that the Master was “destroyed” with the intention of building up.

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. –Matthew 16:21

On yesterday’s blog, Rabbi Carl Kinbar stated:

Therefore, we must consider the possibility that God permitted the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash (and the death of many) is order to establish Torah.

The Master also said that difficult things had to occur so that all righteousness may be established. This included his own, shameful, agonizing death and surrendering to a sentence he did not deserve. And yet, if he didn’t submit to the will of the Father, even in this, what hope would there have been for the world? We have a parable that, on the surface, seems mysterious, but that I believe can be applied to this point.

Today’s amud discusses when a shul must be torn down. A certain community shul was slated to be destroyed and then rebuilt. As the repairs were in the final stages, the members wondered whether they needed to make a blessing of hatov v’hameitiv. It was really a compound question though: is one required to make such a blessing on the construction of a new shul, and if so, does a rebuilt shul have the same status as one that is new outright?

They posed these questions to the Halachos Ketanos who replied, “A community that has built a new shul definitely needs to make such a blessing on it. The shaliach tzibur should stand up in front of everyone and make the blessing out loud. The same certainly holds true regarding a shul that was destroyed or demolished and then rebuilt from scratch. The proof is from the Ran in Nedarim who writes that if one vowed never to enter a certain house and it subsequently collapsed and was rebuilt he may enter the rebuilt house. This is because it is considered like an entirely new structure.

He continued, “The source for this is the midrash in Koheles Rabbah: This could be compared…to a king whose son had angered him. The king was so infuriated that he drove the boy out and swore that he would never again be allowed entry into the royal palace. What did the king do when he finally calmed down? He ordered the palace demolished and rebuilt. In this manner he was able to have his son rejoin him in the palace without violating his oath!”

Mishna Berura Yomi Digest
Stories to Share
“A Rebuilt Palace”
Rema Siman 152 Seif 1 (b)

Like a King who swore he would never see his son again in the palace, something had to be torn down and rebuilt so that we among the nations could enter into the presence of our Sovereign. In some way, what had to be destroyed and rebuilt was the Son of the King, through whom the veil between a non-covenant people and God could be torn away, so that we could relate to God through the covenant of the Messiah. This also reminds me of the mikvah, where a person and his sins enter into the water and the realm of “death” and when the man emerges, he is clean and his sins are no more. Perhaps this is how we may think of ourselves as having shared in the death and new life of Jesus.

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. –Romans 8:16-17 (ESV)

…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. –Philippians 3:10-11 (ESV)

We only understand all this and have hope due to our faith in the promises. Even when it seems like everything holy is being torn down in the world, and nothing that is righteous is being built up, we must continue to realize that he is coming and we have not been abandoned in a battered and broken world.

On Erev Tisha B’av, the rebbe approached him and asked if he had a siyum prepared for a seudas mitzvah after the fast. This is customary among many chassidim; it is meant to demonstrate a belief that Moshiach will certainly come and redeem us soon despite our lengthy exile.

Mishna Berura Yomi Digest
Stories to Share
“He Has Stretched out a Line”
Shulchan Aruch Siman 152 Seif 1 (a)

PrayingAs I review the state of the world of faith, including some of its representatives who comment in the religious blogosphere, I often despair and think that nothing I say or do really matters. I often wonder if anyone really seeks the Holiness of God or if they instead, choose to worship at the altar of their own self-righteous opinions. I know I have “worshiped” there on occasion, which makes me feel all the more disgusted. But when I read and study and pray and reflect within myself and between me and the heart of God, I am momentarily encouraged. Man is flawed and the world is splintered, but that’s what tikkun olam is all about. Like the Chassidim, we must have “a siyum prepared for a seudas mitzvah”, so to speak, because we too, among the non-Jewish disciples of the Master, also believe the Moshiach will most certainly come, no matter how long we may have to wait.

If only God will strengthen us against the times of doubt, and sorrow, and grief.

You have to begin with the knowledge
that there is nothing perfect in this world.

Our job is not to hunt down perfection and live within it.
It is to take whatever broken pieces we have found
and sew them together as best we can.

—the Rebbe’s response to a girl who wanted to leave her school for what she thought to be a better one.
as related by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman

Perhaps we can do better than just putting together broken pieces of the fallen wall. Perhaps we will see something new and wonderful being raised up.

I believe with a complete faith in the coming of the Messiah, and even though he may delay, nevertheless, every day I will wait for him to come.

-from the Rambam’s thirteen principles of faith

May he come soon and in our days, and may we see the fallen booth of David being rebuilt with our own eyes.

2 thoughts on “Rebuilding the Broken Wall”

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