The Lost Light
by Shulamit Dembs
What exactly are we mourning over during these 3 weeks? Think about this. In the times of the first Beit Hamikdash, people had a constant awareness of the Divine Presence. They were filled with enlightenment. When a Jew did a mitzva then, for example tefillin, he would see the spiritual light generated, the tefillin would literally glow. But what would happen if chas veshalom he did a sin? The light would disappear; he would feel himself enveloped in darkness. The pain of separation was so severe that he couldn’t wait to bring a korban to the Beit Hamikdash. Don’t think that the procedure was so very easy. It was quite traumatic.
Think about this: the korban, lets say in this case a sheep, lived with the person for some period of time and was under his care. Anytime that a person cares for something, he develops an attachment to it. So here, he takes his sheep to the Cohain in the Beit Hamikdash and does smicha on it and says vidui in front of the Cohain. In the meantime, the Leviim are singing just the right type of music to arouse his soul to true repentance. The experience was so powerful that people would actually faint! The Cohainim would revive him and he would continue with the vidui. Some people would faint several times and then they would schect his korban in which case he would faint again. But at the end of the whole procedure, the animalistic part of his soul caused by the sin, would go up to Shamayim through the korban and his pure soul would be returned to him with the Light that he was missing. Once again he would walk in the Light of Love of Hashem. That is what we are missing by the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash.
I will share with you something very personal. You know that at the end of tefillat shmoneh esrei there is that very last paragraph “yehi ratson” that many people have a tendency of saying speedily with little thought. I stand there and cry; I see myself in the Beit Hamikdash bringing a korban and all the barriers between me and my Father-in-Heaven falling. May we merit to see the building of Yerushalyim and Beit Hamikdash speedily in our days.