Maybe It’s Just Me…

Perhaps it’s the Yankee in me, but I believe that “G-d helps those who help themselves.” As I see it, the Torah, to say nothing of the rest of the TaNaKh, is replete with stories of G-d intervening when, and only when, humans are ready to do their end of the work. When we cease to fulfil our end of a bargain, or should I say, covenant, things do not go well with us. G-d’s blessings are removed.

That said, it annoys me to no end when I hear my Jewish brethren, especially in the Rabbinic world, refer to their desire for the reconstruction of the Temple. At the end of the Pesach Seder, everyone hopes to meet the following year “in Jerusalem.” During Tish b’Av, a similar sentiment is expressed that one hopes this to be the last year that mourning should be necessary.

Alexander Dumas wrote in the Three Musketeers that “women mourn the dead, men avenge them.” In other words, “don’t sit around moping–if it’s that important to you, do something about it.” The only reason to refrain from doing more than mourn the loss of the Temple is if one has no intention of rectifying the problem. The fact that the Temple has not been rebuilt over the course of the 19 centuries since its most recent destruction renders the sentiments repeated above hollow, trite, cliche.

If we learn anything from the Torah, it is that we must work for what we want and for G-d’s continued blessing. If we learn anything else from it, it should be that we are to be mindful of our actions and words at all times. We should not slip into the easy trap of mindlessly repeating platitudes, just as we should not be lax in the nourishing of our bodies within the confines of Kashrut. If we truly mourn the loss of the Temple and truly yearn for its reconstruction, we should put energy, time, and effort into furthering that goal. We should demonstrate to G-d our fervent desire for its reestablishment. If we cannot be bothered to make our actions match the “words of our lips and the meditations of our hearts” why should He be bothered to act on our behalf?

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