kosher bookworm: alan jay gerber

Understanding Ezekiel's Temple prophecy


In his excellent siddur commentary biur tefilla, "Rebuilding Jerusalem,” Rabbi Jay Goldmintz teaches us the following: 

"For thousands of years the Jewish people have mourned the destruction of Jerusalem. Every single day, in our prayers, when we say Birkat HaMazon, at weddings, and on holy days, we have always declared our connection to Yerushalayim — 'Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy' (Psalms 137).

"There are actually three interrelated requests in this blessing [in the daily Amida service]:

a. The return to Jerusalem and the Beit Hamikdash being rebuilt;

b. The dwelling of the Shechina there;

c. That the monarchy be reestablished there.

"The desire is expressed not just for the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash itself but for the residence of the Shechina there. Hence the fact that we have Yerushalayim in our hands today is not a sufficient fulfillment of the request in the blessing [of Velirushalayim irchah]."

With this teaching as prologue, and with the advent of the Nine Days, I shall now introduce you to the writings of a very interesting author and scholar, Chaim Clorfene, and his book, "The Messianic Temple" (Menorah Books, 2005). This work is indeed a non-technical user friendly guide that sets out to teach us the cryptic design and meaning of the Third Temple as revealed in the vision of the Prophet Ezekiel (chapters 40 through 48).

The first 49 pages of this coffee table size book serves as an introduction to all the various facets of the diverse scholarship and commentary of the Biblical text. The remaining 200 pages contains a detailed English translation of the Biblical text and commentary by Clorfene coupled with a plethora of very effective charts, colorful and attractive illustrations and detailed diagrams that serve to give the reader and student a full understanding of the meaning of what previously had been an otherwise hidden source of scholarship concerning the prophet's prophecy. 

Among the main sources cited are the teachings of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, the Ramchal (1707–1746), whose work, "Mishkanay Elyon,'' serves as one of the prime sources of scholarship on the prophet's teachings. The Ramchal's teachings on this, and the history behind the previously little known or understood "Mishkanay Elyon,” which is in and of itself an historical adventure with all so much to be learned about, as you continue learning about the whole parsha concerning the Third Temple.

Clorfene, who after leaving his native Chicago now resides in Safed, where he continues his work on Temple research and studies as presented in his literary work under review here. This research has led him and a team of skilled and learned artisans to build four museum-quality scale models of the future Temple based upon Ezekiel's design. He also has developed Shaar Hamikdash, the Third Temple Center, a private museum dedicated to tours of the Third Temple model where he lectures about its design and meaning.

In addition to the Temple models and the museum, Clorfene created a multimedia presentation entitled, “Blueprint from Heaven,” and established a new website, that is designed to feature further up to date scholarship for visitors to the site to reference and learn from. Given the time of year we are now in, much of the above would prove to be most timely to read, watch and learn from, thus giving all a greater appreciation of the history behind the churban.


Once again I reprise my strong recommendation concerning your reading the latest English-translated work, "Moadei Hashanah: The Three Weeks and Tisha B'Av," by Rav Shimshom Dovid Pincus, zt"l, especially his chapter, "The Beis Hamikdash Within,” chapter 21, which, due to the deep learning of the late and much lamented author teaches us how to better appreciate the importance of the history that we ritually experience during this sacred time of year.

These heartfelt and sacred teachings by Rav Pincus, zt"l, come to remind us of the real spiritual lose that we experience every single day as we come to better appreciate all our daily tefillot for the restoration of our spiritual sovereignty in Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Third Temple.

Both these works deserve an honored place in your homes, shuls and schools.