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Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Problematic Poster Puzzle

Couldn't find the picture I wanted for this post... been looking since Succos... but I'll do the writing anyway. So just picture a classic succah-poster of the Bais Hamikdash, ok?

Something always bothered me about those posters. I couldn't figure out what it was or why, but there was something wrong. Even the most beautifully illustrated pictures of the Bais Hamikdash never appealed to me.

Finally, while musing about the geula and the Bais Hamikdash one day, it dawned on me.
All the pictures show a building. A very beautiful building.
The Bais Hamikdash is not a building. And you're not allowed to look at it to enjoy its beauty.
The true beauty of the Bais Hamikdash is when it is filled with our prayers and service of HaShem.
Visualize in your mind the Bais Hamikdash rebuilt. Or in the past, before it was destroyed.
Picture the courtyard filled with Cohanim rushing about in perfect order to perform their duties.
Hear the Levites on the steps playing their music.
Smell the ketores and watch it rise in a straight pillar from the kodesh.
See the throngs of Bnei Yisrael coming towards the grand gates, leading animals for sacrifices, bearing gifts and tithes for the Cohanim. Hear them on the roads, trading wares, greeting friends they haven't seen since the last holiday, exchanging news, tending children.
Feel the excitement of coming close to HaShem, of doing the mitzvot of the Bais Hamikdash the way they are meant to be done.
Now where is all that in the posters?
I want to draw the Bais Hamikdash in all its glory -- the glory of its fullness, of the population filling it, of the activity all about it. Of Life.
The problem is, I'm not going to do it wrong. And I lack the knowledge to do it quite right.
Never mind the time!
So for now, I'll just continue to be disappointed until someone prints a livelier picture.
May we all merit to participate in the life of the Bais Hamikdash ASAP!



What is the beis hamikdash without the shechinah? What is a body without a nashama? what is a vessel that is never filled?
It is up to us to be the fillers.
A beautiful post!

corner point said...

Great point.

It's also interesting to remember that the 3rd Beis Hamikdash will not even look like the first or second...

ProfK said...

Perhaps an example of where a word picture can do more justice to the subject then a drawing or a photo could do.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post. I had a really special discussion with my students about the beis hamikdash. I asked them what golus means. They explained: persecution, antisemitism, etc etc. So I asked: Does that mean we're not in golus now? We are free to live as Jews? So some of them said that indeed, we don't live in golus and besides, there is a Jewish state. I then told them that this was the biggest proof we live in golus: we don't even realise how much we've lost. At a different occassion, we talked about the beis hamikdash and I saw some of my students imagine it and see it very vividly in front of them. That was a strong learning experience for ME!

Bas~Melech said...

ProfK -- You have a point, but as a visual person, I think a picture can do a lot for this image. I have a beautiful picture in mind. It's just that no one's created it yet and I don't have time at this point (don't know about others, but to me this would be a major project)

Frumteacher -- OY.
How old are your students?
Maybe have them brainstorm mitzvos that we can't do today, in golus, also pointing out the mitzvos that we do just to keep them going without an actual commandment.
Maybe that would help them understand that there is more to geulah than a Jewish "state." I might also point out that the very existence of the "Jewish state" is in constant jeopardy.

Gut Gezogt said...

You have very admirably succeeded in explaining what all of these pictures are missing.

Also, I'm not voting in the poll about your website's heading because the final decision should be yours alone, but I will share my perspective:
I thought that the previous heading was extremely well-done, and this heading is even more so - and quite refined, too.
(Am I being excessively shallow if I add that I miss the blue?)

Bas~Melech said...

Gezogt -- I also miss the blue :( I like blue a lot, and it seemed to go well with any picture... Maybe I'll work on getting it back next time I have vacation (that'd June?)

Anonymous said...

That's why I like hte Machon Hamikdash pictures. It's more about the pepople and their relationship to the building than just hte building.

Staying Afloat said...

I just found this post. It has really inspired me. Maybe you should move it up temporarily?