If we appreciate the force of powerful emotions aroused by the Temple cult, we may understand how grand a revolution was effected in the simple declaration, so long in coming, that with the destruction of the Temple the realm of the sacred had finally overspread the world. We must now see in ourselves, in our selfish motives to be immolated, the noblest sacrifice of all. So Rabban Gamaliel son of Rabbi Judah the Patriarch said, "Do His will as if it was your will, so that He may do your will as if it ws His will. Make your will of no effect before His will, that He may make the will of others of no effect before your will." His will is that we love our neighbors as ourselves. Just was willingly as we would contribute bricks and mortar for the building of a sanctuary, so willingly we ought to contribute love, renunciation, self-sacrifice, for the building of a sacred community. If one wants to do something for God in a time when the Temple is no more, the offering must be the gift of selfless compassion. The holy altar must be the streets and marketplaces of the world.- Jacob Neuser, Judaism in the Beginning of Christianity (Fortress Press: 1984), pgs. 98-99.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Quote #72: "the sacred had finally overspread the world."
A great Jewish scholar meditates on what the destruction of the Second Temple meant for Jewish practice in the world: