Murder in the Mikdash

“Establish peace, goodness, blessing.”

Breaking news: “Kohen Stabbed to Death in the Temple.”

You immediately read the article. Your mind is racing. Where was the terrorist attack? Who was the perpetrator? Nauseous, confused, and upset you find out the details.

“Temple police are investigating a stabbing that occurred right before the afternoon tamid offering. When medics arrived on the scene the victim had already perished.”

A witness told Mikdash News that a race toward the altar took place.

“They were sprinting and pushing,” Yosef Cohen told Mikdash News.

Yosef said he saw the other Kohen pull out a knife and stab the victim. “What went through my mind was, ‘Wow, this is crazy,’” said Yosef. “This just happened in the Azarah. This shouldn’t have happened anywhere, let alone the Beis Hamikdash.”

Investigators confirmed the person accused of the stabbing is in custody.

Police have not released the names of the victim nor the man whom they have in custody for the attack. (Based on Yoma 23a.)

Each year on Tishah B’Av, we sit and mourn the destruction of our Holy Beis Hamikdash. At whatever level that we can connect to the sadness, it reminds us of our incompleteness. We are aroused to work toward rebuilding the Temple, brick by brick. Imagine what it was like living through the last era of the Beis Hamikdash.

Rav Tzadok lived through the bitter end of the Beis Hamikdash. It was no surprise when Yerushalayim was pillaged and the buildings destroyed, the leaders of the Jewish people had been warning them to repent for years before it’s destruction. Many people ignored the warnings over and over. The Talmud describes how Rav Tzadok was deeply concerned over the state of the Jewish people for forty years prior to the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash. (Gittin 56a.) He tried to do something about it, so much so, that he fasted daily for forty years. It is possible that his greatness pushed off the catastrophic ending, but it could not fully prevent it.

The above news story happened while Rav Tzadok, himself a Kohen, was in the Beis Hamikdash. When he saw the stabbing, he got up and gave a powerful speech that brought the nation to tears. He showed the nation how the lack of unity was destroying them.

In this final berachah, we ask Hashem to please bring peace to the world. Our successes depend on shalom, peace between us. We ask Hashem to remove anger and assist us to increase love, brotherhood, and peace among us. When there is peace amongst people, life is more comfortable, it is easier to be around people. Peace promotes a healthy ability to be open and vulnerable with people.

The last time the entire Jewish nation unified, we merited the revelation of Hashem at Sinai. That revelation has been the singular national revelation to take place on earth. The Almighty reassures us that when we finally reunite and band together, that will be the time when we will return to the Beis Hamikdash. May it be speedily in our lifetime.

Excerpted with permission from Rabbi Tenenbaum's new book, Three Steps Forward, from Mosaica Press.