The other night I woke up in middle of the night and could not fall back asleep. There was something on my mind. That day I received the sad news that Zelig Terebelo, a high school friend, passed away suddenly. He was the most kind, happy and chilled person. Mind you, I hadn’t seen him in 35 years, yet, I watched his funeral and that is exactly what his family said about him. His goodness and kindness only grew exponentially over the years while he raised a large family.

Sometime, during my sleeplessness, my thoughts drifted off to the time we currently find ourselves – the nine days of Av. These are sad days which lead up to the 9th day of Av, the anniversary of the day that both our Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed.

I began to wonder why the loss of our Temples does not disturb my sleep. After all, it is G-d’s Home on earth that we are lacking…

During this time we follow the laws and guidelines of mourning restrictions. This sets the tone so that we feel differently and reflect on the loss of the Temples. We do not eat meat or chicken nor do we drink wine during these days. Enjoying these delicacies brings us a certain satisfaction and joy and by refraining from them, we remind ourselves that we are missing the Temple. Meat and wine are distinctive because they were offered upon the Altar in the Temple, and with the destruction of the Temple these services were discontinued. Refraining from these items serves to instill within us a feeling of loss of the Temple services.

Most of us have visited Israel and prayed at the Kotel – the western wall – a remnant of our second Temple. We have also seen the Temple Mount, where the Temple once stood. However, we have never seen the Temple in its glory, therefore mourning over it is very difficult.

The other mourning restrictions during these days, such as pleasurable bathing and donning freshly laundered clothing, are similar to how mourners over loved ones conduct themselves. This is a way to get us into the meaningful mood over the loss of the Temple.

In truth, for a Jew, even though he did not see the Temple, the Temple and its observances play a significant part in our three daily prayers.

In the Amidah, we pray for the Jerusalem of old to be restored to its G-dly glory. We pray for the monarchy of the Davidic dynasty to be once again reinstated.

We ask G-d to restore the Temple and its offerings and services and beseech Him that we witness seeing G-d return with all His glory to Zion.

After we conclude our private encounter with the Almighty during the Amidah prayer and then take three steps back, we beseech G-d and ask Him to rebuild the third and everlasting Temple where we can once again serve Him in the highest form.

The times which we pray the Shacharis/morning and Mincha/afternoon services are regulated by the times of the twice daily Tamid ― communal sheep offering ― that was offered in the Temple.

Finally, on Shabbos, Holidays, and Rosh Chodesh, we add an additional prayer called Musaf where we describe the Temple sacrificial service.

Thus, although we have never experienced the Temple and its services, the Temple and its functions are very much alive within us in our daily lives. Prayers and the study of the Mishna, Talmud and laws associated with the Temple rituals bring the Temple alive, and therefore we can relate to feeling the loss of something that we lost thousands of years ago. It gives us the feeling to anticipate its restoration – with the arrival of the Moshiach!

King Solomon in Song of Songs describes G-d as looking out from the windows and peeking through the cracks.

Rabbi Avrohom Pam o.b.m. explains:  There are times in history when G-d’s presence is compared to Him looking out from the window, such as during King Solomon’s era when the first Temple was built. The Jews were able to recognize that G-d was there looking lovingly upon them just as a father who is happy the way his children are treating him and others.

Then there are times in history when G-d’s presence is not revealed, rather that it is veiled. These are the times when a father is not happy with the way his children are treating him or each other. He expels them. Although he is not seen, we are guaranteed that He is there peeking through the cracks, watching over us.

In our current situation we are still expelled from G-d’s Home – the Temple. King Solomon tells us that it is not a total banishment and G-d has not forsaken us, Heaven forbid. Rather, His existence is hidden and is peeking through the cracks eagerly waiting for us to take a step forward and come closer to Him. As a loving Father He is yearning and wishing for his children to live in harmony with each other.

With this power invested in each of us – G-d’s guarantee of rebuilding the Temple will become a reality!