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    The Arizal (Rav Yishak

    Luria of Safed,

    1534-1572) taught that all

    the troubles we experience

    are due to the destruction

    of the Bet Ha’mikdash and our exile. That

    catastrophic event is the source of all our

    problems. The Mikdash served as a

    protective force that shielded us from

    harm, and thus its loss is the cause of all our

    problems. This itself would be sufficient

    reason for us to cry over and mourn the

    Temple’s destruction. All the suffering and

    anguish which Jews are experiencing are a

    direct result of this tragedy, and we

    continue to feel its effects each and every

    day. But there is also another reason for us

    to cry and mourn. The Midrash relates that

    when the Romans came to destroy the

    Temple, they wanted to first loot the

    building. Before entering, they decided to

    send in a Jewish traitor named Yosef

    Meshita to take something from the Bet

    Ha’mikdash, promising him that he could

    keep whatever he took. Yosef went inside

    the Temple and emerged carrying the

    beautiful Menorah. The Romans were

    impressed, but they said that such an

    elaborate article is not suitable for a private

    individual. They told him to go choose

    something else. “Is it not enough that I

    angered my Creator once,” Yosef said,

    “that you ask me to go again?” The

    Romans pressured him to go, but he

    refused. They threatened to kill him, but he

    still refused, adamant in his insistence not

    to anger G-d. Finally, the Romans tortured

    him to death. Yosef Meshita, as mentioned,

    had been a traitor, who turned his back on

    his nation and joined the Romans. What

    suddenly changed? Why was he now wary

    about angering the Almighty? The

    commentators explain that he experienced

    the sanctity of the Bet Ha’mikdash. Once

    he just walked into the building and sensed

    G-d’s presence, he was changed, he was

    inspired, and he could no longer bring

    himself to betray his Maker. The Mikdash

    was a place of unmistakable spiritual

    power. Just being at the site filled one with

    awe and drew him closer to G-d. It was the

    Almighty’s residence, and His residence

    among us brings blessing. This is another

    reason why we cry on Tisha B’Ab,

    lamenting the loss of this spiritual life

    source. The Vilna Gaon commented that

    he longed to meet even a simple person

    who lived at the time of the Mikdash. The

    simpletons in that age were on a higher

    level than the Vilna Gaon. They had access

    to the spiritual power of the Temple, which

    has since been taken away from us,

    denying us this precious opportunity for

    elevation and closeness to G-d. But the

    most important reason why we must

    mourn the Temple’s destruction is because

    of the “pain,” as it were, that G-d Himself

    experiences. The Gemara teaches in

    Masechet Berachot that several times each

    night, G-d “roars like a lion” and expresses

    His anguish over the Temple’s destruction.

    We are not the only ones in exile; G-d in in

    exile, as well, and in a sense, His exile is

    worse than ours. Even in exile, we have

    homes to live in, whereas G-d does not

    have His home, so-to-speak. We might say

    that He’s been “homeless” for nearly two

    millennia. The story is told of a man who

    came to pray at the Kotel. A certain Sadik

    saw him praying, and asked him what he

    was praying for. He explained that he was

    praying because he needed a new house

    and did not have the money for it. “Before

    praying for your home,” the Sadik told

    him, “pray that G-d should have a home.”

    The great Sadikim truly empathize with the

    anguish of the Shechina which has no

    home. They pray Tikun Hasot each night,

    weeping bitterly over G-d’s exile. They do

    not worry about their own troubles because

    they are too pained by G-d’s troubles, as it

    were. We, of course, are not on this level,

    and there is certainly nothing wrong with

    praying for our needs and praying for

    Mashiah so our problems will be solved.

    But it cannot end there. We must not think

    only about ourselves. We must pray for the

    redemption for G-d’s sake, with the

    realization that G-d’s honor is

    compromised as long as the Temple is in

    ruins and we are in exile. This exile is not

    only about us and our troubles; it is also,

    and primarily, about G-d and His

    “troubles.” We long and pray for the day

    when the Temple will be restored, when

    this long period of “homelessness” will

    end, and all inhabitants of the earth will

    recognize and give praise to the one, true

    G-d of the universe.