Friday, December 21, 2012

The Tenth of Tevet is Coming Up

Something unusual happened to me last night. I attended my regular Gemara class. We are at the beginning of the chapter "Kol HaTadir" in the tractate "Zevachim" (Animal Sacrifices). The chapter, so far, deals with the order in which sacrifices are brought in the Temple: which sacrifices precede others, which elements of sacrifices receive precedence, etc.

As can be expected in such a lesson, the participants submerged themselves into the text. Questions were raised, explanations were offered, sometimes accepted and sometimes rejected. The learning was "as happy as it was on Mount Sinai", way back when the Jewish People received the Torah from God. This was not unusual at all. It happens all the time, all over the world. A group of Jews, after a hard day of work, sit down to learn Torah.

The Gemara asks, "Does the blood of the burnt offering or the blood of the guilt offering receive precedence?" I feel like I am in a dream. Here we are, in the Holy Temple. Which blood should be dashed round about against the altar first? As I ponder the question, I "wake up" from the dream. Ribono Shel Olam, the Temple is in ruins! Even if I knew the answer, the Temple does not exist! It's all "theory"! These are laws that I cannot fulfill! A feeling of deep sadness conquers my mind and body, pushing out the previous feeling of exhilaration acquired from the learning.

I gave voice to my thoughts. The rabbi was curious as to what part of the text made me think of that. One of the other participants asked, "We are already on folio 89B, and just now you thought of that?

The Temple is our prayers every day. But only rarely do I really feel the sadness that one should feel for the fact that the Temple still lay in ruins.

May it be God's will that the Temple be speedily rebuilt!

1 comment:

yaak said...

See what the Hafetz Hayim writes about learning Seder Kodashim. (See also Perek 5.)

Also, see my latest post, where Rav Zohn, a Talmid of the Hafetz Hayim, just passed away. He was the Rosh Kollel of Kollel Kodshim V’Taharos for 40 years.

Maybe, on a spiritual level, this is why you suddenly had the feeling you did.

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