Destruction and the Fiery Lion
I understand that one of the reasons the Temple was destroyed was the Jews being steeped in idolatry. What I don’t understand is how they could have done that. They were a people who had such a unique relationship with
G-d, from the miraculous redemption from Egypt to all the miracles that occurred in the Temple. How is it that they sought idolatry in the face of G-d?
This is a very probing question, and certainly apropos for this period of collective mourning over the destruction of both Temples, when we are to contemplate not only the reasons that they were destroyed, but also why the future Temple has not yet been rebuilt.
Recall that even after the Jews experienced the miraculous redemption from Egypt and salvation at the crossing of the Reed Sea, and even after they collectively witnessed
And as you point out, despite a long history of a special relationship with
Whereas nowadays none of us has the slightest inclination to serve idols despite the fact that
The Talmud (Sanhedrin 64a) explains that shortly after the building of the Second Temple the Sages gathered together to beseech
They cried out to
In answer to their prayer, a note crystallized and fell from Heaven upon which was written the Hebrew word emet, which means truth, indicating that
It’s clear from the continuation of the story regarding the removal of the drive for immorality that
This explains what the fiery lion was doing in the Holy of Holies, the universal focal point for prayer and service of
The only remnant of the blazing desire for spirituality is the single hair of the fiery mane that dissipated into the world. It’s for this reason that the power and force of idolatry within and without us has become so diminished. However, unfortunately, for the same reason, our connection to
Then the voracious drive to serve will return to the Holy of Holies, unadulterated by the lures of idolatry, but rather leaping and bounding singularly toward