Who will build the third Beit hamikdash?
Raul Shalom! We have another good question coming from the youth of Mexico! Keep asking! We have a mitzvah at all times and in all generations to build a Beit HaMikdash (Rambam, Hil. Beit HaBchira 1, 1; Smag, 163). This would be even if we didn’t have Y’rushalayim under Jewish rule, so how much more so today with the State of Israel, we are obligated to try. That’s why the Rambam writes (Introduc. to the Mishna) that Masechet Midot is in the mishna, to teach us (!) the details how to build the Third Mikdash. The Sefer Hachinuch (95) holds that the mitzvah is when most of Israel is living in the Land of Israel, which has either happened, or will take place in the very near future (some say by the year 2030, but many of the 5,000,000 so-called Jews in America aren’t halachically Jewish, so it’s hard to figure out exactly). If we would know who to anoint as King of Israel, we would do that before building the Mikdash (Rambam, Hil. M’lachim, 1, 2), but being that we don’t know, we don’t have to wait, just as they built the 2nd Beit HaMikdash without anointing a king from the lineage of David. Nevertheless, as you are well aware, we are presently prevented from doing so because to remove the Arab mosque located there may lead to World War III and would surely cause an international crisis, and I’m sure you know that danger supersedes the mitzvot. There is an opinion that says that the 3rd Beit Hamikdash will come down from heaven miraculously built by God (Rashi, Succa 41a), yet, as always in Judaism, we’re not allowed to rely or wait for miracles, especially when a mitzvah is involved. Accordingly, we must do what we can, for example to prepare the utensils and the special clothing of the kohanim (visit the website of Machon HaMikdash, http://www.templeinstitute.org/main.htm), to prepare lists of l’vi’im and Mikdash guards and teach everyone their role, etc., and try to arrange it politically as well. In the end, maybe God will be the One who builds it first, but that doesn’t exempt us in the meantime from trying our best! So far, the return to Israel, the ingathering of the exiles, the revival of the desert, the Hebrew language, and the sheckel coin, the renewal of the Israeli army and liberating the Land, are all aspects of redemption that have been initiated by us and have succeeded with the help of God. There’s a very good chance that building the Beit HaMikdash will follow the same formula, especially when we already saw that halachically we’re obligated to try building it. May it be speedily in our lifetime! K’tiva vaChatima Tova to you and your family and all of Israel, Rav Ari Shvat