Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Miracles of the Temple

The Jewish liturgy is filled with reminders of how we should mourn the loss of the Holy Temple, with prayers asking God to return the Holy Temple to us. While it is common knowledge, from written descriptions and recreated models, that the Holy Temples were both magnificent edifices, what is truly being mourned and yearned for is the Temple’s innate holiness. The Temple was built as a place where the Divine Presence could "dwell" – as a focal point for worship of the Divine. In the Talmud (Ethics of the Fathers 5:7), the sages recorded ten miracles that occurred regularly in the Temple:

1) No woman ever miscarried from the pungent odors of the sacrifices.
2) The sacrificial meats never rotted.
3) There were no flies where the meat was butchered.
4) The High Priest never suffered an impurity on Yom Kippur (which would have rendered him ineligible to perform the service).
5) Rain did not extinguish the fire on the altar.
6) The column of smoke rising to heaven from the altar was never swayed by the wind.
7) No defects were ever found in the Barley Offering, the Two Loaves or the Showbread.
8) The people stood crowded together, yet had enough room to prostrate themselves during worship.
9) Neither serpent nor scorpion ever caused harm in Jerusalem.
10) No person ever said, "There isn't enough space for me to stay overnight in Jerusalem."

No comments: