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The Differences Between the First and Second Temples (I)

Rav Yitzchak Levy
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            There are many differences between the First and Second Temples: regarding the circumstances in which they were established, their nature, their external form, their size and their times.  In this shiur we shall try to examine these differences and their significance with respect to the essence of the Temple.  We shall open with a discussion of the background to and circumstances of the Second Temple's construction; we shall continue with Chazal's understanding of the differences between the two Temples; and finally we shall try to understand the conceptual significance of these differences according to later thinkers.  We shall also deal with the essential difference between the two Temples as reflected in the roots and circumstances of each one's destruction.[1]




            The most essential difference between the two Temples relates to the resting of the Shekhina, as we discussed at length in the previous shiur.  Here we wish to deal primarily with what Chazal say in tractate Yoma regarding the practical expressions of this difference:


These are the five differences between the First Temple and the Second Temple, namely: the ark, kaporet, and the keruvim [Rashi: these are all one thing, the Shekhina not residing there]; fire; the Shekhina; the holy spirit [Rashi: the holy spirit did not fall upon the prophets from the second year of Daryavesh on], and the urim ve-tumim.  (Yoma 21b)[2]




            The entire contents of the Holy of Holies was hidden away already in the days of Yoshiyahu: the ark (together with the tablets of the law and the broken tablets of the law), the kaporet and the keruvim, and with them "the bottle of manna, the flask of anointing oil, Aharon's rod with its almonds and flowers, and the chest that the Philistines sent as a gift to the God of Israel" (Yoma 52b).  The most sanctified area of the Temple – the place where God, as it were, resides – was totally empty throughout the Second Temple period, and therefore on Yom Kippur the High Priest would rest the shovel and the pan on the even ha-shetiya.  The Second Temple was a grand and impressive structure whose innermost and most important and sanctified part was empty - this emptiness crying out that the Shekhina was absent.  The significance of all this is that of the two supreme functions of the Temple – resting-place of the Shekhina and house of human worship – only one remained in the Second Temple: the people of Israel come there to serve God in His house, but God Himself was not present.




The Gemara in Yoma 21b explains that fire from heaven was present on the altar even in the Second Temple, but it did not assist in consuming that which was on the altar.  Moreover, while in the First Temple fire crouched on the altar like a lion (Rashi: "A coal that fell from heaven during the days of Shelomo and was on the altar until Menasheh came and removed it resembles a crouching lion"), in the Second Temple it crouched there like a dog.  The Meiri explains that by "like a lion" the Gemara refers not to the form of the fire, but to its intensity.  The Maharasha, however, explains:


Because the First Temple was built by King Shelomo from the Tribe of Yehuda who was likened to a lion, as it is written: "Yehuda is a lion's whelp" (Bereishit 49:9).  But the Second Temple was built by the Persian kingdom, and the fire only crouched there like a dog.  We find that [the Persian kingdom] is likened to a dog, as it is stated in the first chapter of Rosh Ha-shana (4a): "The shegal also sitting by him" (Nechemya 2:6) – a dog.


            It is interesting that the evil inclination for idolatry of the First Temple period, which was removed during the days of Ezra and Nechemya, is also likened to a lion emerging from the Holy of Holies (Yoma 69b).  The author of the Arukh le-Ner contrasts – in the manner of the Gemara cited above – between that sight and the sight of the fox that Rabbi Akiva and his colleagues saw emerging from the Holy of Holies of the Second Temple that stood in ruins in that wonderful and famous story found at the end of tractate Makkot (24b):


That which the Holy One, blessed be He, showed the righteous should be understood based on what is said in Yoma (69b): When the members of the Kenesset ha-Gedola prayed that the evil inclination for idolatry which had destroyed the Temple should be handed over to them, it emerged from the Holy of Holies in the form of a lion.  The prophet said to Israel: This is the evil inclination for idol worship; see there.  And Chazal said: The First Temple was destroyed on account of the sin of idol worship, and the Second Temple on account of the sin of unfounded hate.  Therefore in the First Temple [the evil inclination] emerged from the Holy of Holies in the form of a lion, for it was the evil inclination for idolatry, mighty as a lion, which had destroyed the Temple, for it is great in strength, as Menasheh said to Rav Ashi in a dream: Had you been there you would have grabbed the hems of your cloak and run after idolatry, as it is stated in Chelek (Sanhedrin 102b).

But at the time of the destruction of the Second Temple the evil inclination did not have that much strength, for the people occupied themselves in Torah and service.  It was only through plots and schemes that hatred was planted among them.  For this is the way of the evil inclination when it wishes to cause the righteous to stumble; it causes them to err as if they were doing a mitzva by hating and pursuing each man his fellow, and through this there was groundless hate.  This is the matter of the fox which is a metaphor for a scheming man, about which it is stated, "A scheming man will He condemn" (Mishlei 12:2).  Therefore these Tannaim who lived after the destruction of the second Temple saw the evil inclination that destroyed the Temple emerging from the Holy of Holies in the form of a fox, just as the members of the Kenesset ha-Gedola following the destruction of the first Temple, saw it in the form of a lion's whelp (Arukh le-Ner, Makkot 24b).


            According to the Arukh le-Ner's explanation, the lion symbolizes the great strength, like that of a lion, of the evil inclination for idol worship that was present in the First Temple and led to its destruction, whereas the fox symbolizes the schemes and plots that characterized the period of the Second Temple that was so filled with groundless hate and division.  The emergence of the lion and of the fox from the Holy of Holies implies that that these qualities were essential inner qualities of the two Temples.




            Why does the Gemara in Yoma list only five differences.  It stands to reason that the differences mentioned there are the most striking ones - clear revelations of the Shekhina that were missing in the Second Temple, and the absence of which is stated explicitly or at least alluded to in Scripture – and that the third element, the absence of the Shekhina, includes other phenomena that were removed over the course of time and are not mentioned here. 


We learn from other sources that the Shekhina was not entirely absent from the Second Temple:


Ten miracles were performed for our fathers in the Temple: No woman miscarried from the scent of the sacrificial meat; the sacrificial meat never became putrid; no fly was ever seen in the slaughter house of the Temple; no unclean accident ever befell the High Priest on Yom Kippur; the rain never extinguished the fire on the wood pile on the altar; the wind did not prevail over the column of smoke that rose from the altar; no disqualifying defect was ever found in the Omer, in the two Shavuot loaves or in the showbreads; the people stood closely pressed together and yet found ample space to prostrate themselves; no snake or scorpion ever did injury in Jerusalem, and no man ever said to his fellow: There is too little room for me to lodge overnight in Jerusalem.  (Avot 5:5)


It was taught: When the latter prophets, Chaggai, Zekharya and Malachi died, there was a cessation of the holy spirit in Israel; nevertheless they would use heavenly voices… It once happened that Yochanan the High Priest heard a heavenly voice coming out of the Holy of Holies saying: "The boys who went to fight a battle in Antioch won." And they recorded the day and the time, and so it turned out that on that day they were victorious.  It once happened that Shimon the Tzadik heard a heavenly voice coming out of the Holy of Holies… (Shir Ha-shirim Rabba 8:10)


            This also follows from another Baraita in tractate Yoma:


Our Sages taught: Forty years before the destruction of the Temple the lot would not come up in the right hand, and the crimson–colored strap would not turn white, and the western lamp would not burn.[3] (Yoma 39b)


            This passage implies that prior to the last forty years of the Second Temple all these things would occur.  There were then three stages with respect to the resting of the Shekhina.  In the First Temple there was full resting of the Shekhina in all three parts of the Temple: in the Holy of Holies – in the ark, the kaporet and the keruvim; in the Sanctuary – in the western lamp of the menora; and in the Temple courtyard – on the outer altar.[4] In the Second Temple, the Shekhina's resting in Israel still found attestation in the menora, but it disappeared from the Holy of Holies and from the altar (we leave open the question what was special about the menora that of all the Temple vessels, it was only in the menora that a remnant remained of the revelation of the Shekhina).  And beginning forty years prior to the destruction of the Temple, the revelation of the Shekhina in the Temple ceased entirely.




            The cessation of prophecy and decline of the holy spirit are further expressions of the removal of the Shekhina.  We find three prophets during the period of the return to Zion – Chaggai, Zekharya and Malachibut Malachi who prophesied during the days of Ezra marks the end of the era of prophecy and the sealing of Scripture.  During most of the Second Temple period there is no prophecy or holy spirit whatsoever, and no more living revelation of the word of God through His servants the prophets.


            Without a doubt the absence of prophecy is an essential deficiency in the relationship between God and the people of Israel.  With his profound insight, however, Rabbi Kook points to the other side of the coin:


Therefore during the Second Temple period which was primarily a preparation for the long future of exile and dispersion, prophecy ceased, so that the spiritual powers in the nation which had been occupied in the pleasantness of the light of prophecy, would instead become occupied in the profundities of the details of the laws, to fix the Torah's paths in an exceedingly precise manner, so that the nation of God would be able to survive even in far-off places through its excessive excellence in increasing the fine details.  The words of the scribes are more precious to me than are the words of the Torah (Shemot Rabba 1, 18) says the people of Israel.  (Ein Aya, Bikkurim 3:3, p.  412)


            In other words, the cessation of prophecy had an objective: deep and detailed occupation in the particulars of the Torah's laws, which would be a most important preparation for the long exile which would eventually arrive.[5][5]




            The Rambam writes in Hilkhot Kelei ha-Mikdash 10:6:


During the Second Temple they made urim ve-tumim in order to complete the [necessary] eight [priestly] garments, even though they would not inquire of them.  Why did they not inquire of them? Because there was no holy spirit, and any priest who does not speak through the holy spirit and upon whom the Shekhina does not rest – we do not inquire through him.[6]


            It stands to reason that the absence of the ark also prevented inquiry of the urim ve-tumim, for in halakha 11 the Rambam rules that at the time of inquiry the priest would stand facing the ark.




            The absence of all these things certainly left its mark on the entire Temple, and anybody visiting it would have understood that while it was the house of God, God was not at home.[7]


            According to Rabbi Meir of Dvinsk, author of the Meshekh Chokhma, this difference between the two Temples had another most interesting expression regarding the sanctity of the Land of Israel.  In Hilkhot Terumot (1:5), the Rambam rules that the first sanctity – namely, the sanctity of the territory that came into the possession of those who left Egypt – was based on conquest, and therefore its sanctity was valid for its own time, but not for the future, whereas the second sanctity – namely, the sanctity of the territory that came under the control of those who returned from the exile in Babylonia – was based on possession, and therefore its sanctity remained operative for all time.[8] The Meshekh Chokhma connects this to the difference between the two periods regarding the resting of the Shekhina:[9]


The conquest of Eretz Yisrael was by way of the ark, and so similarly the Temple was by way of a revelation of the Shekhina.  Therefore, when Israel sinned, their sanctity was nullified entirely, and it was as if they had not been conquered.  But in the Second Temple where there was no conquest by way of an ark, for there was no ark, and in the Temple there was no Shekhina… Thus, the sanctity was not of the highest degree that it should be nullified by destruction and desolation.  Therefore their sanctity remains operative.  (Meshekh Chokhma, Shemot 15:16)




            The First Temple was built in perfect fashion from the very outset, with all its components, without distinction between the altar and the sanctuary, and without separate emphasis on the altar.[10] The construction of the Second Temple, in contrast, was done in stages.  First, the altar was built, and people began to offer sacrifices on it; at the beginning of the next year the foundations of the sanctuary were laid and construction began; the construction suffered disturbances for fifteen years; and the building was finally finished twenty-two years after the altar had been erected – twenty-two years during the course of which sacrifices were regularly offered on the alter on Mount Moriah.  The Gemara in Zevachim understands the novelty of the situation, and therefore assumes that the returnees from Babylonia acted in accordance with the testimony of the prophets:


Rabba bar Bar Chana said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan: Three prophets came up with them from the exile, one testified about the altar, one testified about the location of the altar, and one testified that sacrifices may be offered even in the absence of the Temple.  (Zevachim 62a)


            As for why the events transpired in this manner, we can go off in one of two directions.  On the one hand, the pressure coming from the enemies of Yehuda and Binyamin together with the hesitation of the people may have forced the leadership to being working on the altar and the sacrificial service: a narrower goal, but one that was far simpler from all perspectives – political, economic, and organizational.  On the other hand, starting the construction of the house of God in this manner – first the altar, and only later the rest of the Temple – well expresses the fact that in the absence of the Shekhina, the Temple functioned first and foremost as a place of worship.


III.  The relationship between the monarchy and the temple




            When Shelomo built the First Temple, craftsmen were brought in from Tzor, and cedars and cypresses were imported from Lebanon.  But the initiative to build the Temple and the construction itself belonged to David and Shelomo, without any foreign patronage.  The Second Temple, on the other hand, was built under the total patronage of the Persian authorities, both with respect to the permission that they granted and with respect to the materials, the nature of the building and the dimensions.  Without a doubt this greatly impacted on the nature and character of the Temple, and according to Rabbi Yochanan this is the reason that the Shekhina did not rest therein (Yoma 9b-10a).




As we saw at length in the chapters devoted to the monarchy of Shelomo, the construction of the First Temple and the construction of the royal palace constituted a single construction project in all senses: the two structures were built in a single continuum of twenty years – seven for the building of the house of God and thirteen for the royal palace; the construction materials were identical and the plans were similar; and according to our understanding, the plain sense of Scripture indicates that the Temple was dedicated only at the end of the twenty years of building, after the construction of the palace had been completed.  Thus Shelomo gave expression to the understanding that the house of God attains its full meaning only when the royal palace stands below it.


When Israel returned from exile in Babylonia, the monarchy was not restored.  The leadership of Zerubavel the son of Shealtiel and Yehoshua the son of Yehotzadak, and later that of Ezra and Nechemya, did not fall into the category of kingship, and thus the Second Temple was built without the connection to the monarchy of Israel, either in its initiative or in its character.




            Regarding the First Temple, the events followed the order established by the Torah (see Sanhedrin 20b): establishment of a permanent monarchy, destruction of the seed of Amalek and rest from the enemies, and only then construction of the Temple.  The Second Temple was built without a monarchy and without rest from Israel's enemies.




            The First Temple was built according to the precise details of a Divine command, as testified by David, "All this, said he, is put in writing by the hand of the Lord who instructed me" (I Divrei Ha-yamim 28:19).  The Second Temple was built with the encouragement of the prophets – and with respect to the altar in according with their testimony as well – but we don't find that the details of the building were based on the words of the prophets.  In this respect as well, the Second Temple was built "from below."




The First Temple was the climax of a process that began with the conquest of the land in the days of Yehoshua, continued with the conquest of Jerusalem and its becoming the capital of the kingdom of Israel under David, and ended with the completion of the building of the Temple in the days of Shelomo.[11]


            During the Second Temple period the order was reversed.  Zerubavel first built the altar and the Temple, with the clear expectation that the Temple would be a source of material blessing (Chaggai 2:19; Zekharya 8:9-13) and lead to the continued revival of Israel in its land.  Almost 80 years pass before Nechemya rebuilds the wall that defines the boundaries of Jerusalem.  When we examine the book of Nechemya it is clear that he sees the building of the city of Jerusalem as the primary aspect of the building of the land during that period.[12] And indeed, the building and resettlement of the city ultimately led to the rebuilding of the entire district of Yehuda.


From a historical perspective, it is easy to explain this difference: During the First Temple period, the building of the Temple was conditioned upon the conquest of the land, the establishment of a capital city and the destruction of Israel's enemies, whereas during the Second Temple period, the whole initiative for the building came from Koresh, who permitted the construction as part of his general policy regarding countries that came under his control, and it was only through the building of the Temple that Jerusalem was rebuilt, followed in the end by all of Yehuda.


Moreover, until the days of David, it was not known where the Temple was to be built, and the building of the Temple was conditioned upon the prior searching for the site.  During the period of the return to Zion, in contrast, the site of the Temple was already known, for the remnants of the First Temple were still evident.  The small number of people who returned from the exile settled quite naturally in close proximity to the Temple and saw the restoration of those ruins as their number one priority.


            Upon deeper consideration, this difference might also be connected to what was stated above regarding the resting of the Shekhina.  The First Temple, in which the Shekhina resided, served first and foremost as the seat of God's kingdom, and therefore it was necessary that all the stages of establishing a state and a capital city precede it, so that a human king would sit on God's throne (I Divrei Ha-yamim 29:23) and represent His kingship in the world.  This priority, then, has spiritual meaning, and it also impacts on the whole nature of God's house, which was built as a single entity together with the house of the king.  The Second Temple, on the other hand, did not house the Shekhina, and it served primarily as a sacred place devoted to the service of God.[13] Thus the return to Zion started with the construction of the Temple, and only later was the capital city built, and then the rest of the country.  Whereas in the First Temple period, the monarchy allowed for the construction of the Temple, in the Second Temple period, the sanctity of the Temple allowed for the restoration of sovereignty.[14]


            In his book, On Repentance, Rabbi Yosef B.  Soloveitchik attaches additional meaning to this difference in order:


The conquest led by Yehoshua began with a battle for the border lands, from Jericho down to the Negev, and then to Galilee and the land of Naftali.  Every area seized was considered sanctified by virtue of the act of conquest.  The sanctification by conquest proceeded from place to place until it got to Jerusalem years later in the time of David.  And only afterward, in the days of Shelomo, was the holy Temple built in Jerusalem.  Thus, the Land of Israel received sanctity by conquest before the Temple existed.  And that same pristine sanctification by Yehoshua was brought about by conquest and it was later annulled by a subsequent conquest of others.  It contained nothing of that element of Divine chosenness which confers unnullifiable sanctity.  The First Temple was built after the Land of Israel had already been sanctified.  There occurred here, so to speak, a process of sanctification going from the perimeter inward, from the outlying areas sanctified by conquest to the central core: the Temple in Jerusalem.

However, the situation was different during the time of Ezra.  When the Rambam speaks of the "possession with which the returnees from Babylon possessed the land," where did this occur? Not in the peripheries but first of all right in the center, in Jerusalem.  Ezra did not go about reclaiming areas of the Land of Israel; he first set about to build the Temple and to restore the walls of Jerusalem.  To achieve that, naturally, Jews had to live in Israel, so that the Temple should not be rebuilt in a country inhabited mainly by gentiles.  Thus it is written (Ezra 1:5-6): "Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Yehuda and Binyamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all of those whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.  And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods and with beasts, and with precious things." And it is also written (Ezra 2:1): "Now these are the children of the province that went up out of the captivity… and came again unto Jerusalem." The center, for the return in the days of Ezra, was Jerusalem.

How was the land sanctified in the days of Ezra? By the right of possession? Possession in itself does not bring any sanctification! When the holy Temple, the chosen dwelling place for the Shekhina, was built, it bestowed sanctity on the whole land of Israel.  This time the sanctification did not gravitate inward from the circumference, from the outer peripheries toward the center.  Quite the contrary, the sanctity was established first in the center itself and from there it spread outward, like a fountain gushing forth, overflowing into the Jerusalem environs and, from thence, to the rest of the Land of Israel, until all of it was completely sanctified.

That which sanctified the Land of Israel in Ezra's day was the Temple, the dwelling-place of the Shekhina.  This is why the Rambam ruled that the sanctification of the Land by Ezra was in the same category as that of the Temple, whose sanctification by Shelomo was not terminated because the Shekhina cannot be withdrawn.

The Talmud in tractate Shavuot (16a) notes that Ezra made two great thanksgiving offerings when he sanctified Jerusalem and asks: According to those who are of the opinion that Shelomo sanctified Jerusalem for his time and for all time, why did Ezra have to make the two great thanksgiving offerings? The Talmud answers: "[He was not obliged to] but did it as a commemoration." The Rambam as well, in chapter 6 of the Laws of the Temple, writes: "And though Ezra made two thanksgiving offerings, it was by nature of a commemoration, and not by his actions that the place was sanctified.

What was the purpose of this act of commemoration?

The explanation of this is that indeed Ezra did not have to consecrate the Temple, for its sanctity invoked in the days of Shelomo, still held true.  Nor was it necessary to endow Jerusalem with sanctity.  But in order to consecrate the whole Land of Israel he had to build the Temple and reconstruct Jerusalem.  Therefore, he placed the two thanksgiving offerings upon the wall of the city to show that the rebuilt walls held it in their power to radiate sanctity upon their surroundings and to bestow the holiness of the Shekhina upon the entire Land of Israel.  And this is what the Talmud means: "[He was not obliged to] but did it as a commemoration." (On Repentance, pp. 314-317)


            Rabbi Soloveitchik explains the difference on the basis of the halakhic concepts of conquest and possession.  During the period of the First Temple, Eretz Yisrael was sanctified through conquest and the Temple was sanctified afterwards.  With the destruction, the sanctity of Eretz Yisrael was nullified, but the sanctify of the Temple and of Jerusalem – the Divine choosing of which was eternal, and not dependent on time or a structure – remained in place ("the first sanctity was for its own time and for the future").  Therefore the return to Zion started with the site of the Temple, which was already sanctified, and from which the sanctity spread by way of possession to all of Eretz Yisrael.  It turns out then that during the First Temple period, the sanctity spread from the perimeter inward – to the Temple, which in this sense constituted the climax – whereas in the Second Temple period, this point of climax, owing to the fact that it had remained in its sanctified state, constituted the starting point, from which sanctity spread throughout Eretz Yisrael.




            In this shiur we began to examine the differences between the First and Second Temples.  There is no getting around the fact that the Second Temple, true to its name, came after the First Temple and was meant to serve as its continuation.  And, indeed, following seventy years of exile, a small number of people return to Eretz Yisrael in order to renew and reestablish the land and the Temple from the point they had reached prior to the destruction.  The model before their eyes was the First Temple, and their hope was to restore the former situation in all aspects.  As we saw in the previous shiur, however, despite the good intentions of the leaders and their followers, as well as the words of encouragement and reinforcement of the prophets, the great dream was buried and harsh reality – the ceaseless provocations of the enemies of Yehuda and Binyamin, the small size and poverty of the community that had returned, and the problematic spiritual state – prevented its realization.  Therefore, the returnees began their project "from below": first they rehabilitated what still existed, the Temple, and first and foremost, the altar (and everything under the patronage of the Persian authorities); later the city and the entire country were gradually rebuilt. 




            In the next shiur, we hope to examine the differences between the First and Second Temples according to Chazal, the Rishonim and the Acharonim.  We shall also relate to the causes of the destruction, which reflect the essence and the meaning of the construction.


(Translated by David Strauss)


[1] The Second Temple period was, of course, an extended period of time, with a varied and changing nature: the days of the return to Zion, the Hellenistic period, the days of Hasmonean rule, the period of Herod and the days of the Roman governors.  Here we shall focus upon the period of the return to Zion, during which time the Second Temple was built. 

[2] We shall not expand here upon the variations found in the parallel sources or on the diverse opinions among the Rishonim about how to count five the five differences.

[3] Regarding the western lamp, see Menachot 86b: "It serves as testimony to all the people of the world that the Shekhina rests upon Israel.  What is its testimony? Rava said: This is the western lamp, in which oil was placed in an amount equal to the others, and which was lit first and cleansed last."

[4] R. Yitzchak Isaac Chaver draws a parallel between these three parts of the Temple and the revelation of the Shekhina in them, on the one hand, and the illumination of the nefesh, ru'ach and neshama in man's body: the neshama – in the brain; the ru'ach in the heart; and the nefesh in the liver.  Thus, the Holy of Holies corresponds to the neshama in the brain, the Sanctuary to the ru'ach in the heart, and the altar to the nefesh in the liver.  This is not the forum in which to discuss this parallelism at greater length.

[5] In the previous shiur, we noted Rabbi Kook's understanding of the Second Temple period as a time of preparation for the long exile that followed it.  In the second part of this shiur, we will bring the words of Rabbi Tzadok Hakohen regarding the cessation of prophecy and connection between it and the nullification of the evil inclination for idolatry during the period of the Second Temple.

[6] Thus write also the Tosafot in Yoma 21b, s.v. ve-urim ve-tumim: "There were urim ve-tumim, for if not the High Priest would be deficient in his garments.  Rather, it would not provide answers to those inquiring of it."

[7] Much has been written about the differences between the two Temples with respect to the resting of the Shekhina from a kabbalistic perspective.  See Rav Kook, Mishpat Kohen, no. 96, pp. 209-10; Ba'al ha-Tanya, Likutei Amarim, chapter 53. 

[8] We shall not expand here upon the difference between sanctity originating in conquest and sanctity originating in possession.  We cite the words of the Rambam only as background for the words of the Meshekh Chokhma. 

[9] I was directed to these words of the Meshekh Chockhma by Rabbi Moshe Oras, Bi-Levavi Mishkan Evne, Jerusalem, 2006, chapter entitled "Bein Bayit Rishon le-Bayit Sheni," p. 376. 

[10] It is true that David had already built an altar in the threshing floor of Aravna in the wake of the plague, but besides the sacrifices that David offered on that altar, there is no indication that it was used again during the days of Shelomo prior to the construction of the Temple.

[11] Also in the prophecies in the book of Yechezkel (see, for example, 34:23-28), the Temple is the climax of the revival of Israel in its land, following the ingathering of the exiles, a renewal of a life of Torah and purity, the reunification of the Jewish people under a Davidic king, and the attainment of military, political and economic strength.  Hopefully this will be the process in our time as well. 

[12] Pay attention to the parallelism between the words of Nechemya about Jerusalem in Nechemya 1:8-9 and the words of Moshe regarding the return to the Land of Israel in Devarim 30:1-5.

[13] This difference is reflected, among other ways, in the fact that Chazal do not refer to the Second Temple by the term "house of God" but rather by the name "Mikdash."

[14] Interestingly, the Hasmonean revolt also began as a reaction to the violation of the Temple and to the decrees barring observance of the Torah and mitzvot, and only later was it suffused with a nationalistic spirit, which led to the establishment of an independent kingdom.  The order of events during the Hasmonean period fits in well with the overall character of the Second Temple period from the very beginning. 

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