When is the mitzvah of building the Beit HaMikdash (Temple) in effect?

In Parshat Trumah we find the commandment to build the Sanctuary (Shmot 25:8) “They shall make for Me a Sanctuary that I may dwell among them.”

Sefer HaChinuch (95) points out that this mitzvah is in force when the majority of Israelites (Jewry) are settled in their homeland. It is not a mitzvah that is imposed on any individual but rather on the entire community. When the Beit HaMikdash will be rebuilt speedily in our days a positive mitzvah will be fulfilled.

The Kuzari (5:27) writes: "Yerushalayim can only be rebuilt when Israel yearns for it to such an extent that they embrace her stones and dust."

Tehillim (102:14) states: "You shall arise and have mercy upon Zion, for the time to favor her, the set time has come. For your servants take pleasure in her stones and embrace the dust thereof."

We pray three times a day for the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash but how many people have kavana (intent) when they say those words and really want it to happen?

The first step in rebuilding the Beit HaMikdash will be the return of the majority of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel.

Last Sunday, Nefesh B’Nefesh held a mega event in New York which attracted over 1500 people who are considering making aliya (resettling in Israel). This year’s fair had the largest turnout ever. This gives us an indication that aliya is on the rise and on the radar screen of American Jewry.

I have been living in Israel for 12 ˝ years and Israelis still ask me why I would leave New York to move to Israel. My answer is that Israel is the place that the Jews have yearned to return to for 2000 years and it was an opportunity that we could not pass up.

In order to hold on to Israel we need more Jews to come on aliya which will eventually bring us closer to fulfilling the mitzvah of rebuilding the Beit HaMikdash.