The Temple of our Soul

July 29, 2011 by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
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In the Jewish calendar we are in the midst of the “three Weeks”, the time when we mourn the destruction of the first and second Temples. These great buildings were the centre of Jewish worship and stood gloriously in Jerusalem between the years 833 BCE and 69 CE.

Rabbi Michol Gourarie photo: Henry Benjamin

The Temples were not just physical edifices that stood with all their beauty on the Temple Mount. These buildings were a model of spirituality and self-improvement that continues to shine within every soul.

An example of this idea can be understood from the Temples layout and structure that was divided into three main components:

1) A small room called the “Holy of Holies”. This was the holiest part of the Temple which housed the Ark and the Ten Commandments.

2) A larger area called the “Holy Room”, containing three sacred objects -the candelabra, the table for the showbread and a small altar for incense.

3) The courtyard where most of the Temple activity took place. Here sacrifices were offered, the Levites sang and the Jews prayed and studied.

The mystics teach that the three primary organs of the human body are the brain, the heart and the liver. They represent the governing forces of human function – intellect, emotion and behaviour. The purpose of the mind is to provide maturity, balance and direction for our emotions. In turn healthy emotions add passion, excitement and enthusiasm to our behaviour. Activity without feelings leads to apathy, and emotion without intellectual guidance can be destructive and out of control.

The model for these three forces are reflected in the Temple structure –

– The Tablets that lay in the “Holy of Holies” represent the Divine teachings of the Torah that build a strong mind with healthy perspectives and strong values

– The three objects in the “Holy Room” represent guided and focused emotions that are divided into three columns (as explained in the teachings of Kabbalah).

– The busy activity in the courtyard connects to our daily behaviour, fuelled by the feelings of the heart and directed by the guidance of the mind.

When our behaviour is fueled by healthy emotions, guided by strong and moral values taught by the mind then we have successfully built the holy temple within our own soul.

 

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