A persistent divergence plagued the nation, so King David preemptively wrote into psalm 127:
“If the Lord does not build a house, its builders labor in vain”
For the uninitiated, “Lord” rose through the collective behavior of the unified nation of Israel whose builders accomplished God’s work and constructed the nation’s temple in Jerusalem.
The accomplishment of such a task first requires our common understanding of this critical line from psalm 127. Because the sentence commences ‘if’, I have interpreted it to mean that man must begin, but the build will be in vain “if the Lord does not build”. What then is required to ensure building the third and final temple is not in vain?
Belief in collective purpose, national identity, indigenous past, the task ahead and confidence to achieve it. A big ask for a presently disparate nation, but one that has a prescribed, mature set of guidelines for building it and believing in God that builds it. According to Jewish teachings there is no conflict between the two ideas, nor does there have to be.
I understand many people are unaware of the detailed legal and spiritual construct defining the process, so they may be overwhelmed. Therefore, I will attempt to write this with deference to the defined process and bridge it to the present state of Israel’s reality.
The emotive desire to build a temple is often expressed to satisfy individuals who yearn for it. Sometimes the exuberance so strong that law, process and the journey to its realization is momentarily set aside. The national disciplines required to open the window of real opportunity is enormous, but divergent views, among Jews constantly make the task appear impossible.
How could it be that a body of 71 holy men can establish the global authority they require in order to appoint a Jewish king in modern Israel and build a temple? This is prerequisite, it cannot be changed. It’s made more complicated because a prophet must emerge and identify the physical location of the altar on which Isaac was once bound by his father Abraham. No other location will suffice for the third and final temple, the altar must be at the precise spot.
Shifting demographics in Israel indicate it is fast becoming a more religions society, any Israeli, will acknowledge this fact. Logically more people in Israel are becoming tolerant of traditional Jewish law on which these precepts are established. Israel’s communities have three forms of representation in their electoral system; a) City b) National and c) Religious. The first two are obvious to anyone who lives in a system by representation, but most are unaware of the religious representation afforded to them by Israel’s electoral process.
Religious representation is afforded from a strange blend of socialism and democracy. Rabbis nominated by communities of a city are selected by Mayors of the City and the Religious Minister. The electoral process is a messy, competitive confluence, but for the most part it works. If a city is liberal or conservative they nominate a slate of representative nominees from which the Mayoral and Religious ministry selections takes place.
The Rabbi’s are elected for life, they retire at 70 and are replaced if they misbehave, resign, retire or pass-on. Every four years there are always a few cities who vie for electoral renewal and the battle for representation is fierce. These Rabbi’s are distinct from the Chief Rabbi’s of Israel who endure a separate election process, but the City or Town Rabbi’s as they are known, constitute a powerful body and among them many individuals stand out.
These representative Rabbi’s hold with them the capacity to demand improving representations on behalf of the communities that elected them. I am a proponent of this existing electoral college and encourage its Rabbis to demand improved representation rights in the national government. The blend of socialism and democracy is well suited to Israel and balanced when well integrated with religious representation. It is from this group I hope Israel’s House of Lords will be formed.
Progression toward this objective will only take place by improving the quality of Rabbi’s and by the entire body being emboldened by the communities that elected them. Once empowered at the national level, they will form a sovereign religious body that is capable of being authoritative on a global scale. As a properly constituted Sanhedrin they will proceed to unify the bodied of religious and secular law and unify national identity.
This modern, indigenous, representative body can then proceed to empower the nation, appoint a King consent to the prophet and finally complete the house that Jacob promised to build.