How the Rebbe’s Beis Hamikdash Initiative Came to Be

At a surprise Farbrengen on the night of 24 Tammuz 5736, the Rebbe launched yet another initiative: the need to learn and study Hilchos Beis Habechira during the three weeks. From then on the Rebbe spoke with passion and urgency calling upon all the Chassidim to strengthen their learning of these Halochos. 

By A Chassidisher Derher

The Takona

“Ribono shel olam,” cried Yechezkel Hanovi, “The Yidden are now in Golus, dispersed among the lands of their enemies and you want me to tell them the description and structure of the Beis Hamikdosh?! Are they even capable of carrying this out now?”

Hashem replied to the passionate words of His Novi, “Should the building of my house be abandoned simply because my children are in Golus? Learning about its construction is equivalent to its building. Go tell them to learn about it and I will consider it as though they are involved in actually building it.”

At an unexpected Farbrengen on Thursday night 24 Tammuz 5736, the Rebbe quoted this Midrash and with it launched yet another initiative: the need to learn and study Hilchos Beis Habechira during the three weeks.

Throughout the years, the Rebbe referred to this Midrash many times and pointed out the meaning of Hashem’s response to Yechezkel. When we learn about the Beis Hamikdosh, we ensure that there is not even a single moment that a possibility arises for the “Beis Hamikdosh to be abandoned.”

The Rebbe didn’t stop with the adults. In the next Sicha of the above-mentioned Farbrengen, the Rebbe explained the need to include children into this new takonah. When a child is shown pictures, along with a detailed description of the second Beis Hamikdosh he will get excited and this will create a desire to be even more involved. “There is an added benefit,” continued the Rebbe, “In addition to the actual learning, this will also arouse within him a yearning and desire for Moshiach to come.”

On a different occasion the women were also urged to take part in the learning of these Halachos. “They will also be required to take part in the construction of the Beis Hamikdosh and therefore need to know this,” the Rebbe explained.

Some people had questioned the need for the women’s involvement and ignorantly stated that they won’t be involved in the construction. The Rebbe strongly refuted this and made it clear that before issuing a statement one should check the sources, as the Rambam clearly writes that they are obligated in this and it is also apparent from the Pesukim talking about the Mishkan!


At first glance, the idea of learning the measurements of the different areas and keilim of the Beis Hamikdosh is somewhat puzzling. Presently we are still in Golus; wouldn’t it be better to first focus on bringing Moshiach and then, once he comes, start planning the building of the Beis Hamikdosh? Surely the current approach is ignoring the bitter reality we are living in!

The Rebbe clarified this by drawing a comparison from the days of Mordechai. When the terrible threat of annihilation hung over their heads, Mordechai gathered 22,000 children and learned Torah with them. During their studies, Haman came to get Mordechai. Seeing them deeply engrossed in learning, he asked them what topic they were discussing. “The Omer,” they replied, “we are learning the details of how this Korban should be brought.”

Those innocent children were not constrained by the situation around them. To them there already was a Beis Hamikdosh, they had a Kohen and they even had barley, the only concern they had was the need to know how the Korban is brought.

Similarly in our situation, we need to step beyond the boundaries of Golus and live on a higher plane. Our concerns should be “Moshiach’dikke”. The need to grasp the intricate details of the Beis Hamikdosh should be what occupies our minds, so much so that were a Goy to ask “Why are you so deep in thought?” we could reply “I am struggling with the size of the Beis Hamikdosh…”

Learning Hilchos Beis Habechira gives us the ability not to reckon with the present situation, and on the contrary, it enables us to live with Moshiach even now. We can live with the perspective that Moshiach has already come, we even have the Beis Hamikdosh; Golus ceases to bother us.

Carrying out the Directive

From 5736 and on, during the Farbrengens in the three weeks the Rebbe would explain concepts from Hilchos Beis Habechira. Additionally, the Rebbe spoke with passion and urgency calling upon all the Chassidim to strengthen their resolve in learning these important Halochos. 

When this was lacking its necessary zest and devotion, the Rebbe made it quite clear that he was dissatisfied, and demanded that every person seek to improve in this.

This point is illustrated with the following incident that took place on Erev Tisha B’Av 5742. The Rebbe entered 770, where a group of Chassidim had gathered to await his arrival. Walking through the hallway the Rebbe turned his attention to them and said, “The time spent waiting here could have been used [better] to learn Hilchos Beis Habechira and [thereby] help in the building of the third Beis Hamikdosh.”

The Rebbe seemed to have a very serious expression as he went towards his room. Before entering he commented in an undertone, “Why are they waiting here?!”

On a more positive note, in 5746 Rabbi Avraham Boruch Pewzner sent the Rebbe a Sefer he had prepared containing all the Sichos the Rebbe had said on Hilchos Beis Habechira. Upon receiving it, the Rebbe remarked, “This is a sheiner (nice) Sefer.”

The Rebbe himself edited the Pesach dovor and suggested that the Sefer be sold for the minimal fee of only five dollars so that it would be accessible for all. The Rebbe also instructed the publisher to add the Perokim of Yechezkel as well as the Mishanyos and Rambam. After tending to the new additions, the Sefer was printed and published by Kehos. On one occasion the Rebbe was seen looking into this Sefer before delivering a Sicha on Hilchos Beis Habechira!


In Shevat of 5736 the Rebbe sent a group of 22 Shluchim to Eretz Yisroel with a number of different tasks including spreading Chassidus.

When word of the new Takona reached them in Tammuz of that year, they took it upon themselves to make a major event in Yerushalayim and invite Rabbonim and Roshei Yeshivos from all around to participate.

After much preparation, the Kinus was a great success and hundreds of people attended. Among the many speakers, Rabbi Piekarski, the Rosh Yeshiva of 770 and Harav Zulty, the Rov of Yerusholayim addressed the crowd.

On Yud Gimmel Elul, upon his return from Eretz Yisroel, Rabbi Piekarski spoke to the Rebbe for a half hour, giving a detailed report of the Kinus. The Rebbe instructed him to publish the speech he gave at the Kinus in a kovetz that the Kollel would be putting out before Rosh Hashona.

This was not a one-time Peula and in the years following effort was put in to make the Kinus again. The Rebbe showed special interest in every aspect, down to the smallest details and Rabbi Piekarski would give a detailed report and sometimes would even chazzer something that had been said.

Rabbi Pewzner relates: “Before and after each Kinus a detailed Duch would be given to the Rebbe. One year a rally for children was scheduled to take place at the same time of the Kinus. Seeing this, the Rebbe instructed that the rally be pushed off until a later time.”

After the Kinus of 5742, Rabbi Hadokav called, and asked very specific questions. “Who spoke? How many people participated? Did it sound like the speakers had prepared their talks…?”

It was very clear that the Rebbe was listening in on the call taking note of everything being said. 

The special attention and the many hours devoted to this Takona serves as proof of how important it is.

From the Tammuz 5774 Derher magazine.

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