143. Rabbi Aba said: I have remembered a certain matter I heard from the Holy Luminary, RABBI SHIMON, who heard it said in the name of Rabbi Eliezer. One day a clever gentile came and said to him: Old man, old man, I have three questions that I want to put to you. The first is: You say that another Temple will be built for you, but the Temple is not to be built more than twice. The First Temple and the Second Temple ARE MENTIONED, but you will not find a Third Temple in the Torah, and that which you had to build has already been built, and there will never be another one, for Scripture has referred to the two Temples of Yisrael, AND ABOUT THE SECOND TEMPLE it is written: "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former" (Chagai 2:9).
144. Also, you say that you are closer to the supernal King than all other peoples. Whoever is close to the King is forever rejoicing, without pain, without fear, without troubles. But you are perpetually in pain, trouble and agony, more than anyone else. Look at us - no pain, trouble nor agony approaches us at all, from whence it follows that we are close to the supernal King and you are far from Him, and this is why you have pain and trouble and sorrow and agony, which we do not have.
145. Further: You do not eat of an animal found dead or an animal not ritually slaughtered so that you will be healthy and your body healthy. We eat anything we want and we are physically strong and healthy and all our limbs are fit. You do not eat and all are sick with bad illnesses and broken more than all other peoples. You are a people whom Hashem hates above all. Old man, old man, do not say anything to me because I shall not listen to you, nor accept it from you. Rabbi Eliezer lifted up his eyes, looked at him, and turned him into a heap of bones.
146. When his anger had subsided, he looked back, cried, and said: "Hashem, our Master, how majestic is Your name in all the earth" (Tehilim 8:2). How strong is the power of the Holy Name that is strong in all the earth, and how beloved are the words of the Torah, for nothing is so minor that it will not be found in the Torah, and even the smallest thing in the Torah issued from the mouth of the Holy One, blessed be He. Those matters that that wicked one asked, I too, once asked of Elijah, and he replied that in the Yeshivah of the firmament THESE VERY MATTERS were laid out before the Holy One, blessed be He, as follows:
147. When Yisrael came out of Egypt, the Holy One, blessed be He, wanted to establish them in the country as are the holy angels on high, and He wanted to build a Temple for them, bring it down from the upper heavens, and plant Yisrael in the land as a holy planting, after the pattern of the heavenly form, as it is written: "You shall bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance" (Shemot 15:17). And where would that be? "in the place, Hashem, which You have made for You to dwell in" (Ibid.). In that PLACE which You, Hashem, have made, and in no other. "The place, Hashem, which You have made for You to dwell in" refers to the First Temple, and the continuation of the verse, "in the sanctuary, Hashem, which Your hands have established," refers to the Second Temple. Both of them are the work of the Holy One, blessed be He.
148. But when they angered Him in the wilderness, they died, and the Holy one. blessed be He, brought their children into the land, and the Temple was constructed by man, which is why it did not last. FOR THE BUILDING HAS TO BE THE WORK OF THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE. King Solomon knew that the Temple that he built was built by man and would not therefore last, which is why it is written: "Unless Hashem builds the house, they who build it labor in vain" (Tehilim 127:1) And indeed it no longer exists. In the days of Ezra, because of the sin, they had to rebuild THE TEMPLE, which is why it had no lasting existence. And up until now the first building of the Holy One, blessed be He, has not been placed in the world, but concerning the future it is written: "Hashem builds Jerusalem" (Tehilim 147:2). He WILL BUILD and no other. It is for this building that we are waiting, and not for a man made structure which has no permanence.
149. The Holy One, blessed be He, will bring down the First Temple and the Second Temple from on high simultaneously. The First Temple, WHICH IS EQUIVALENT TO BINAH, will be concealed, and the Second Temple, WHICH IS PARALLEL TO MALCHUT, will be in the open. That house that is called 'the Second Temple' will be in the open so that the art of the Holy One, blessed be He, will be visible to the whole world. AND THEN THERE WILL BE perfect rejoicing, and goodwill in all its existence.
150. The First Temple THAT WILL BE concealed ascends on high over THE SECOND TEMPLE that is revealed, and the whole world will see the clouds of glory that surround the Temple that is revealed, and within those clouds will be the First Temple in a hidden action, rising to the height of the glory of the heavens, WHICH IS BINAH, and this is the building for which we are waiting.
151. So far this has not happened in the world, for even the city of Jerusalem will not be the result of man's skills, for it is written: "for I, says Hashem, will be to her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her..." (Zecharyah 2:9). If this is what is written about the city, how much more so will this be the case for the Temple, which is His dwelling place. And this action OF THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, should have been seen at the beginning, when Yisrael came out of Egypt, but it was delayed for the End of Days, for the final Redemption.