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beit hamikdash & order of redemption

Rabbi Ari ShvatTammuz 6, 5776
142
Question
I have spent much of my life in ill health, and long to see the Temple built, as I know it’s for the healing of the whole world, not just the Jews. How could the Jews build on the Temple Mount without starting World War 3? Another question that I know needs answering is which comes first - Temple or Messiah? I read on the internet that Rav Chaim Kanievsky believes that Messiah is overdue. Maybe that’s because Temple construction hasn’t yet begun? I’m a Christian, by the way, but I don’t go out and convert Jews. All I know is that the coming Messiah isn’t Jesus. A large part of me would like to be a part of the story of Israel. I don’t think I’m Jewish - I had my family tree checked going back several generations - but I’d be interested to know whether I’m from one of the lost northern tribes that were scattered through all the earth. Could the State of Israel make provision for re-gathering by providing an authenticating laboratory for such genetic testing so the lost tribes can come home? Blessings and kind regards, Leigh
Answer
Jewish tradition teaches that the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem and the Messiah are the two final (!) stages of redemption (in that order), and surely not the catalyst nor the main points (Megilla 17a). The essence is to arrive at the national and spiritual level of redemption, which is a long process, and not magic, overnight or supernatural. The fact that we cannot, for political and international reasons, build the Temple is a sign from God that even though we should try our best (like the Temple Institute who are preparing the clothing and paraphernalia), there are more basic previous stages which should preoccupy us more, e.g. to continue developing the Land of Israel, to continue in-gathering the remaining Jews from the diaspora back to Israel, and to improve spiritually and religiously to fulfill our role as a Light unto the Nations. Although there is a difference of opinion on the matter, the more accepted opinion is that the ten tribes are mostly lost (aside from the Ethiopian Jews from the tribe of Dan, and perhaps some others from Menashe), and we should surely first concentrate on the definite Jews (from Judah). Gentiles can and should participate in the redemption by supporting Israel internationally, politically and economically and standing up for us against the anti-Semites and Islamic terror, and there’s no reason to want to be Jewish. Many of the prophecies have already been fulfilled, and if the Jews and gentiles will each do our respective role, the redemption process may very well be completed in the very near future. A century ago, nobody would have believed that within a hundred years, most of the Jews will be back in Israel, the desert will bloom, and that we would have a Jewish State and respected Jewish army (especially following the Holocaust). The most difficult challenges have already come true, and we have no reason not to believe that the easier ones will come that much quicker (the “snowball effect”). Hope this makes you feel better!
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