There are towers and there are towers. When one hears the words “twin towers,” the immediate picture that comes to mind is of the catastrophic event that occurred in N.Y.C. on September 11, 2001. Fourteen years ago, the magnificent twin towers of the World Trade Center, standing twenty seven years side by side, reaching towards the heavens, were completely destroyed by a terror attack. One of those towers was rebuilt, but the pain of the loss is reawakened every time we visit the site.There is another place on earth that also was glorified with twin towers but it was of a totally different nature. The site was in the city ofYerushalayim and the two towers were called theBais HaMikdash. These towers, the Bais HaMikdash Shel Mattah and the Bais HaMikdashShel Maalah, did not stand side by side but, rather, one high above the other. Yet, although they were thousands of miles apart, they nevertheless connected together in a very deep way. During a period of 830 years of Jewish History, in which the Bais HaMikdash below was in existence twice, the people of Israel basked in their special, intimate relationship with Hashem. Both Temples were destroyed on the exact date of the 9th of Av. Yet, in each occurrence, only the lower tower was destroyed and lay in ruins, while the upper tower remained intact. For over two thousand years the Nation of Am Yisraeldemonstrates, every Tisha B’av, its pain and mourning over their losses as they yearn for theirMikdash Shel Matah to be rebuilt. When that will happen, once again Hashem’s world glory will be revealed via His twin towers.

Let us delve a little into this concept of the Bais HaMikdash being coined the spiritual twin towers, where heaven truly meets earth.  The first difference between the towers of N.Y. andYerushalayim is in the word “twin” itself. The factor that makes the outer resemblance of twins to appear alike is the oneness that is shared by identical chromosomes. In other words, the innerness of their essential existence creates the outer form of duplication. Twin buildings do not share such a parallel. Rather, the word twin has been merely borrowed to present an external similarity like in the usage of twin beds, twin outfits, “Twin Oaks” bungalows, the “twin cities,” etc.  In those instances, there is absolutely no connection to an inner life force.

However, Hashem calls His nation His twin,יונתי תמתי ( Shir Hashirim 5:2, Rabba), which means, incredibly, that our essences are identical. We possess a neshamah which is a portion of Hashem’s inner, higher light, which dwells within us. Likewise, the Bais HaMikdash on earth radiated with the higher light since it was connected to the Bais HaMikdash in the heavens. As the passuk says ( Tehillim 122:3) כעיר שחוברה לה יחדיו   ירושלים הבנויהYerushalayim is likened to a city where the two Batei Mikdashos are connected together. This closeness manifested itself with the temple courtyard’s miraculous expansiveness.  No matter how many people stood there, even like sardines in a can, each person was availed the space of four cubits to bow down.

The only explanation to this supernatural occurrence is that the spirit of the Bais HaMikdashin the heavens descended upon the Bais HaMikdash on earth, releasing all physical and natural boundaries.

The Chasam Sofer ( Ki Savo 15:26) writes that this is exactly the explanation of the passukהשקיפה ממעון קדשך מן השמים וברך את עמך את ישראל, “Look down from Your mikdash, from shamayim, and bless Your nation, Yisrael. Looking down from the mikdash above, in essence, means to radiate the Bais HaMikdash in Yerushalayim with the upper light, whose character is beyond any earthly limitations. In this way, Hashem bestows beracha, an expansion of all sorts upon His people.

In order to receive this shefah from the upperBais HaMikdash, the lower Bais HaMikdash must be an appropriate vessel to contain this light. This depends on the avodah of Am Yisrael whodeposit daily spiritual energy into the Bais HaMikdash on earth in order to draw from its connection above. However, chas veshalom, the contrary can also be true. Am Yisrael makeswithdrawals from it of its spiritual vitality by not fulfilling the Torah and Mitzvos as they are supposed to.

The Navi, Yirmiyah, laments upon the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash, איכה ישבה בדד, “Woe to the city of Yerushalayim which dwells alone,” i.e., without its inhabitants. “Alone” in this phrase can also refer to being without the shefafrom the Bais HaMikdash in Shamayim. The wordאיכה is interpreted by chazal to be 36 ingematriah, which corresponds to the 36 relationships punished by כרת, being cut off from the source. So too, says the Sfas Emes ( Devarimתרנ”ט), the word איכה conveys that the Bais HaMikdash of below was cut off from the flow of the upper one. We can add to this that the wordבדד is 10 in gematriah, corresponding to the ten miracles that occurred in the Bais HaMikdash (Pirkei Avos 5:5). These constant supernatural events originated in the heavenly Bais HaMikdashand its connection to the Bais HaMikdash on earth. The twin relationship of these two bateihamikdash, the upper and lower, paralleled AmYisrael’s twin relationship with Hashem through the light of our neshamos.

     Lehavdil, the Bais HaMikdash can be compared in modern day technological terms to a gigantic radio antenna that picks up electronic messages and communicative impulses from its satellite station,  high in Shamayim. Upon receiving the upper data, it then interprets and concretizes them here on earth in the beis hamikdash in a “show, tell and feel” fashion. This being said, let us fast forward to an unbelievable story of an entire county that enforces the prohibition of cellphone, wi-fi, and internet usage in their midst.

After decades of nonstop technological innovations and breakthroughs, that have resulted in a world of unstoppable connectivity, people are finally stepping back and asking — is this connectivity necessary? Is it good? Pocahontas County in West Virginia is a 942 square mile plot of earth with nearly 9,000 residents.  It is completely void of all cellular signals and wireless internet. Though the Internet’s absence isn’t by choice in Pocahontas County, the residents aren’t complaining.  Pocahontas County lies inside what is known as the United States National Radio Quiet Zone (N.R.Q.Z.)—a 13,000 square mile area that has strict laws banning the use of wireless Internet and cell phones. The N.R.Q.Z. is home to home to the world’s largest steerable radio telescope, the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, used by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (N.R.A.O.).  It also contains large radio antennas that facilitate the U.S. Navy’s communication, and which the N.R.A.O. to scan the cosmos.  Any stray radio signals could interfere with the Navy and N.R.A.O.’s antennae’s.

Now, with trepidation, let us expand this thought for a moment. The neshamos that dwell in our bodies are likened to humongous sensitive antennae that receive signals from our primaryneshamos in shamayim. Would it not make sense that the committing of transgressions, even if they seem insignificant, will nevertheless distort the clarity of signals that our upper neshamos are transmitting to us every second of the day? Would it not be logical that any negative action or speech coming from us that the neshamah finds undesirable would interfere and cause static with its communication to us? Consequently, any daily inspiration to encourage and enlighten us to come closer to Hashem would be deflected and go straight to spam. If one cell phone can disrupt the reception of the world’s largest radio telescope, one aveirah can surely do the same in our twin relationship of neshamah.

The same applies to the Bais HaMikdash. Hashem says ושכנתי בתוכם, “I will dwell in the hearts of klal yisrael.” This conveys that the outerBais HaMikdash on earth depends upon the spiritual fueling it receives from the hearts of every Yid. If our hearts allow entrance of  foreignhashkafas and lifestyles, from the single-minded pleasure seeking cultures, it will be incapable of pumping spiritual life into the Bais HaMikdash in order to sustain it. When our hearts are so clogged to the point where it cannot receive or deposit ruchniyus, the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash is imminent.

The halacha is that when a child loses a parent, the time period of mourning is twelve months. This is the period that it takes for the departed to be forgotten enough from the mourner in order to bring back his daily life to normal. The question then arises: why do we continue to mourn every day for the Bais HaMikdash by reciting tikkunchatzos, leaving part of our plastered wall unfinished, breaking a glass at a chasunah, etc? It has been over two thousand years from when it was destroyed!

The answer given is found in Rashi on thepassuk ( Bereishis 37:35) וימאן להתנחם , “[Yaakov Avinu] was unable to be comforted [over Yosef’s death]. Rashi explains the reason for this was אין מקבלים תנחומים על החי, one cannot receive comfort on someone thought to be dead but truthfully still alive. Likewise, even though ourBais HaMikdash lay in ruins, nevertheless there is a part of it that is still “alive”. We know that thekedusha of the Bais HaMikdash even today prohibits us to enter upon on its site since we are impure. Where does this holiness come from? We can answer by saying that it comes from its twin in shamayim which still remains intact and which constantly leaves its holy impression on the grounds of its other half.

This is the time for Bais HaMikdash awareness of the incredible, unimaginable loss and the hope and aspiration of future renewal. We have to do our part and that is to ensure that the heavenlyneshamah and Bais HaMikdash strongly connects to the lower neshama and Bais HaMikdash. Our mission, as a nation, is to bring heaven to earth through our daily living. To accomplish this goal, we must at least safeguard at that our personal technology should not interfere with our reception.

Gut Shabbos
Rav Brazil