Many Jews subscribe to the belief and harbor the hope that the Beit Hamikdash will one day be rebuilt. One might wonder, from a practical standpoint, exactly how design and construction would be accomplished.
Would the new temple be an exact replica of the last one or would it feature some improvements and advantages of modernity? Would it be environmentally friendly? Would it be publicly or privately funded? Would it be considered new construction or simply a renovation, especially for tax purposes? Or, would none of those norms apply?
In the ideal scenario, the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash will take place without any input from the Jewish people. Just think about the epic debates and never-ending disputes that sometimes occur when merely a new synagogue is built. Arguments, which are part of human nature, often ensue over any conceivable topic such as carpet colors, stained glass window designs, bimah placement, natural light angles, congregational sight lines and acoustic adjustments. And those are some of the more sane topics for debate.
Less sane topics might include battles over picayune naming rights like which family’s name should appear on the plaque in the basement boiler room; prickly parking lot issues, like whether the chazzan’s second cousin should be allowed to use the hazzan’s reserved parking space; and annoying annual dinner issues like figuring out how to arrange the seating so that no congregant is sitting at a table with anyone they dislike.
If the Jewish people do become involved in the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, who exactly will be enlisted? Will it be everyday schlubs and schlemiels who have absolutely no business operating heavy machinery or trained professionals who are the masters of their craft? If the latter, will new construction companies be formed for this very special purpose, with names like: Kohen Construction, LLC; Bubbies’s Bricks, LLC; Israel’s Insulation, Inc.; Judah’s Jackhammer Company; Boychick’s Bulldozers; Esther’s Excavators; Bubameiseh Backhoes; Sarah & Sons Cement; Dovid’s Dump Truck Depot; and Feivel’s Forklifts?
As an aside, if there is any piece of construction equipment that is perfect for a Jew, it is the forklift, which essentially involves lifting a fork. One could argue that every self-respecting Jew and even every non-self-respecting Jew, would welcome the opportunity to lift a fork or a knife or spoon for that matter . . . as long as a meal or snack is impending.
Obviously, the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash will be no ordinary construction project. For example, the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash certainly will not include: a sensitive fire alarm and suppression system; amenities like a gym, spa or pool; a penthouse or presidential suite for the Kohen HaGadolen’s; a restaurant and bar (but a bar mitzvah is a different story); and a door person (and every time someone enters, the door person would sing, “LeDoor va Door.”)
Final thought: Generally speaking, Jews do not lack opinions, and so a project of such magnitude would engender comments. Let’s imagine a theoretical discussion regarding a temple rebuild:
Jew No. 1: I think we should install wall-to-wall carpet.
Jew No. 2: That probably is not a good idea because sacrifices can get kind of messy, especially with all of the blood.
Jew No. 1: Good point. I’ll order red carpet.
Yonatan Levi writes humor columns for the Cleveland Jewish News.