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In Judaism we pray about the restauration of the temple and the temple service every day in the Amida (the central prayer of every service). At least for me this is sort of automatic and I mostly don’t think about it, but with Tisha BeAv around I couldn’t help it.

I am a modern person. I live in the city with no contact to animals. My food comes from the supermarket and I’m a vegetarian. I don’t want to see animals die. My religion is about prayer, books, morality. Not rituals with blood. When I read about the temple parts in the Torah it seems archaic, disgusting and just totally irrelevant to my life. When I look at how I am feeling when I just read the descriptions, there is no way seeing the temple sacrifices would bring me closer to G-d.

So why am I praying for the rebuilding of the temple? Wouldn’t it be more consistent not to pray for it? This is what Reform Judaism did, they removed all parts about sacrifices and the temple from the prayers (and more, but that’s a different topic). But that puts you out of tradition. And it is actually pretty difficult to define exactly what to remove. What about "rebuild Jerusalem"? Or the messiah (who is supposed to rebuild the temple)? But if I don’t remove it, can I pray things I don’t believe in? Or maybe, do I have to adjust my attitude about the temple?

I am still looking for an answer. Some parts (like in the Mussaf Amida with the description of the Shabat sacrifice) I simply cannot pray and I skip over them. Other parts (like in the workday Amida) I pray without really thinking about them. And sometimes when I pray parts that refer to the messianic age, I pray for peace, a good life for everybody, this sort of things. Not necessarily the temple. And I will wait for the Messiah to sort it out when he comes.

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