Beis Moshiach/By D. Chaim
Nechemia is a boy from Yerushalayim who is not Lubavitch. Although he is only two months older than me, he knows all the alleyways of the Old City where he lives and he can navigate them with his eyes closed. I live in another city but the distance does not keep us apart. For years now we are good friends.
Nechemia once told me, on one of our rare get-togethers (we usually write one another) that he and his Yerushalmi friends love to play the old children’s game of hide-and-seek in the Old City. There, among the alleyways, every stone emits an ancient historic fragrance of the Holy City.
In the last letter that I received from Nechemia he wrote as follows:
For a long time now I have been feeling a great longing for the Beis HaMikdash in its glory. Since I live close to the Kosel and daven there often, I began to feel that I just cannot go on with this terrible situation. How can we make peace with such an awful churban?
I gave this a lot of thought and made a decision. I must daven a special prayer to Hashem at the Kosel, close to where the Beis HaMikdash stood. I was a little embarrassed so I decided to get up early in the morning and daven at the Kosel when nobody is there.
That was late at night. My family had gone to sleep and I made believe I was sleeping. In my drawer I had a flashlight, walking shoes, and a water bottle ready. I planned on getting up toward morning when it began to turn light and to sneak out of the house quietly and go to the Kosel.
I woke up at exactly the right time and went out silently on my tiptoes. I began walking toward the Kosel. I wore a sweater for the night chill and I held the flashlight and bottle. The truth is that I was a little nervous. It wasn’t pleasant walking alone early in the morning in the alleyways of the Old City, but as you surely know, I know them well and so I dismissed my worries.
I reached the Kosel area and for some reason I decided, without thinking about it all that much, to head toward the Temple Mount, to see from up close what remained there. My heart started pounding from excitement and I soon reached the site of the Mikdash.
I expected to find the ruins of the Beis HaMikdash, the wall, the gates, or something of the special side rooms, but a strange sight met my eyes. To my surprise, I noticed a mizbeiach, yes, the one that stood in the Azara, but its size did not match the measurements of the mizbeiach that I learned about. It was more like the bima where the Torah is read. The structure of the Heichal was very thin and looked like an Aron Kodesh.
What’s going on here? I wondered. The Beis HaMikdash turned into a shul? I wanted to see what else there was but something strange happened.
The area, with everything it contained, including the mizbeiach-bima and the Heichal-Aron Kodesh rose up in the air and flew away! Was I hallucinating? How could this be? Where was it going? I pinched my hand to see whether I was dreaming and the pain woke me up.
The flashlight and bottle waited for me in the drawer and my clock said it was 7:00 in the morning. Wow! What a dream!
But didn’t the alarm clock wake me up? I wondered. A quick check showed that I had forgotten to turn the switch on the alarm. It’s better this way, I thought. Walking in the streets of the Old City at dawn is a dangerous adventure. Better I should just dream about it.
But one minute – what was this strange dream? It is forbidden to go onto the Temple Mount when we are impure, and what about the mizbeiach and Heichal I saw, and where did they fly? I tried to interpret my dream in my free time. After I came home from school I looked in sefarim that describe the Beis HaMikdash but did not find anything about what I had seen. I decided to tell you about it and ask for your help in understanding my dream. Can you help me?
The letter was signed, “Your friend, Nechemia.”
After I finished reading his fascinating letter, I thought a bit and an idea flashed in my mind. I sat down to write Nechemia a response:
I think that your yearning for the Beis HaMikdash in its glory is a good thing. I think that the best way to express your longing, in addition to davening, is to do more good deeds, learning Torah and doing mitzvos, especially giving tz’daka and Ahavas Yisroel with the intention to be ready to greet Moshiach.
As far as your dream, we usually dream about what we thought about during the day. Maybe you learned about what I am about to write to you. I think that the simple, though very significant, understanding of your dream is as follows. The Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach explains in a sicha, based on what Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai says in the Gemara, “Wherever they [the Jewish people] were exiled, the Sh’china is with them,” that during galus, the Nasi Ha’dor, who is the Moshiach of the generation, builds a miniature Mikdash which is called “Beis Rabbeinu in Bavel.” This building is a substitute for the Beis HaMikdash and the Sh’china dwells there. Just as the Sh’china dwelled in the Beis HaMikdash, since all the Jewish people lived there (in Eretz Yisroel), so too in galus, the Sh’china is in the Beis Rabbeinu in Bavel where the Nasi lives, for the Nasi is equal to, or includes, all the Jewish people.
In our generation, I don’t have to tell you, Nechemia, who the Nasi Ha’dor is. So the primary miniature Beis HaMikdash where the Sh’china is in particular, instead of in the Beis HaMikdash in Yerushalayim, is in the shul known as 770. I suppose this is why in your dream you saw a bima for the Torah reading and an Aron Kodesh instead of the mizbeiach and Heichal, and it all rose up and traveled to Brooklyn where the Nasi Ha’dor is because that is where the Sh’china dwells while in galus.
It is very special to realize that in our generation too we have something like the Beis HaMikdash (and it is very special to dream about this) but we are not satisfied with this. We look forward to and yearn for the third Beis HaMikdash to come down to the place where it went while in galus, and as the Rebbe says in the sicha, and from there it will fly – with 770 attached to it – to Yerushalayim.