What questions do you have about Judaism? Submit them online, or fill out the form below.
Do modern religious Jews desire, plan, or look for a rebuilt temple?
Marcie Lenk’s essay “Rebuild the Temple? Not in our time” would seem to reflect most modern Jews’ perspectives on this issue. She indicates that, among religious Jews, the Orthodox are generally the ones praying for a rebuilt temple. Organizations like the Temple Institute in Jerusalem are good examples of the preparation of some Orthodox Jews for the rebuilding of the temple and “the restoration of the sacrificial service” (My previous “Ask a Jew” answer describes a modern alternative for sacrificial rites in Judaism). Lenk adds that most Jews see the Third Temple as something that could be built only “in a future messianic age.”
Lenk also mentions a current controversy related to the idea of a rebuilt Temple: “Muslim fears about Jewish access to the Temple Mount reflect their feeling that just permitting prayer there would be the first step toward building a new Temple.” Indeed, groups like Aish have editorialized that the Third Temple will occupy the Temple Mount, just as its predecessor did. According to at least some Jewish publications, the “Muslim fears” Lenk talks about are justified. Still, general-interest sources such as Wikipedia confirm that most Jews view a Third Temple as a strictly messianic undertaking.