“The glory of this latter House, the Holy Temple, will be greater than the former.”
(Tractate Chaggai 2:9)
There are two explanations to this verse. The simple meaning is that “this latter House” refers to the Second Beit HaMikdash [Holy Temple], which surpassed the First BeisHaMikdash both in terms of size [it was larger] and time, [i.e., it lasted for a longer period].
The Zohar, however, states that “this latter House” refers to the Third Beit HaMikdash which will be built, speedily in our days - Amen. This Beis HaMikdash will be greater than the First and Second Batei HaMikdash, both of which are included in the term “the former.” For they both were temporary, and the Third Beis HaMikdash will endure forever.
We find a statement in Likkutei Torah [by the Alter Rebbe]:
“There are three Redemptions, the First Redemption of the Jewish people from exile in Egypt came in the merit of Abraham, the Second Redemption [of the Jewish people from exile in Babylon] came in the merit of Yitzchak, and the future Third Redemption of the Jewish people from their present diaspora will come in the merit of Yaakov. ”
There it is explained that the Third Redemption is associated with Yaakov - who is the expression of the Divine attribute of truth, which will be therefore eternal (as Truth is Eternal).
The simple explanation [why Likutei Torah refers to the Redemption rather than the Beit HaMikdash (the Holy Temple in Jerusalem)] is that building the Beit HaMikdash is one of the primary factors/expressions of the Redemption. Thus, each qualitative elevation in the Beit HaMikdash brings about a higher level of Redemption. This is why the unique dimension of the future Third Redemption is associated with the unique dimension of the Eternal Third Beis HaMikdash.
According to the Zohar’s description4 of the course of events in the Time to Come, the Resurrection of the Dead is the final occurrence of all. We may thus say, that the revelation of the unique dimension of the Third Beis HaMikdash, which is its eternal truth, will be primarily in the final epoch of the Resurrection of the Dead, at which time we will be endowed with eternal life.
This is also related to the verse (Hoshea 6:2): “He has sustained us through the two days. On the third day, He will raise us up, that we may live in His presence.” There are two interpretations of “the third day”:
a) it refers to the Third Beis HaMikdash;
b) it refers to the Resurrection of the Dead. The connection between these two explanations is that at the time of the Resurrection of the Dead, the unique dimensions of the Third Beis HaMikdash will be revealed.
As its known, the world is structured according to the dimensions of time and space because its creation comes about through the medium of the Divine Name Elokim (which refers to God’s power of concealing Himself in the world). Were creation to have come into being solely from the Divine name Havayah, it would not have the limitations of space and time. “Havayah” is the unpronounceable Name of God ( refereeing to the Tetragrammaton ) , which indicates the transcendent unification of past, present and future.
This is why with regard to the place of the Beit HaMikdash the verse (Genesis 28:16) states, “ Havayah is truly found in this place,” for in the Beit HaMikdash, space was not subject to ordinary limitations, as reflected in the miracle, “the space of the Ark was not subject to measurement.” Rather, the revelation that illuminated the Beit HaMikdash was the revelation of the Divine Name Havayah as it shines through the name Elokim.
For the Divine Name Havayah as it exists independently transcends space entirely. Within the Beit HaMikdash, by contrast, space was significant. Thus the Holy of Holies was of a clearly delineated size (twenty cubits by twenty cubits) and the Ark as well had a specific size (two and a half cubits in length and one and a half cubits in breadth), Nevertheless the “space of the Ark was not subject to measurement” in that it did not take up any space in the room. This represents the unification of the Name's Havayah and Elokim, which will be expressed by the fact that within space there will be a revelation of a Godly light which transcends space itself.
The implication that the name Havayah is above the concept of space, however, requires explanation.
Even the act of a new creation through the Name Havayah is incomparable to its source which brings it into being. The revelation of Havayah within the framework of existence brings into being merely though a process of progressive concealments. Created beings do not feel that their entire existence is only that of the Divine light being expressed in a particular form.
The explanation is as follows:
Since Havayah includes the past, the present and the future as one, and time is a continuum including the past, the present and the future, it is clear that the concept of time would apply even if the world was created directly from the name Havayah without the concealment provided by the name Elokim. It is merely that in such a world, the past, the present and the future would be all as one.
A similar process is behind the creation of space. The concept of space would apply even if the world was created directly from the name Havayah. On that level, however the six directions of space would be as one.
In the same way, the reason why there would be neither limitation nor divisions within time or space in the world as created directly by the name Havayah is because, on that level the world would be in a state of absolute nullification. At that level within the past, the present and the future (and similarly, within each of the six directions) is felt not as a separated creation, but as the Divine Name Havayah -their Source; therefore, at that level they do not conflict with each other and are indeed, one.
Based on the above, it is necessary to clarify the following point:
In several texts, it is explained that the dimension of space within the Holy of Holies stems from the name Elokim, although this space was not subject to limitations. In contrast to the explanation given above, which even directly created by the Name Havayah, there would be a possibility for the existence of space as we know it.
This, then, is what is meant by the statement: “the Ark is not subject to measurement” which reflects the unification of the power of the Divine Names: Havayah and Elokim: The limitation and division of the space of the Ark derives from the name Elokim, while the fact that its space was not subject to measurement came as a result of the revelation of the light of the Name Havayah within the space brought into being by the Divine power expressed through the Name Elokim.
The main revelation of the unification of Names Havayah and Elokim will take place at the time of the Resurrection of the Dead which will follow the ingathering of the Jewish exiles to their promised Land - Israel. For the revelations which will be manifest in the world previously are limited when compared to the revelations that will take place in the Time to Come.
This, then, is the meaning of the verse, “The glory of this latter House will be greater than the former.” Although the Future Redemption will include many wondrous dimensions, including its apex, the Resurrection of the Dead, still, the fundamental emphasis is placed on the “glory of this latter House.” For the source for all the revelations in the Era of Redemption will be the Beit HaMikdash. For it is the source from which all the different revelations will be drawn down into the world.
This is also one of the reasons why Mashiach’s first act after he has attained the state of b’chezkat Mashiach, will be the building of the Beit HaMikdash. For this is the source of all things in Messianic Era which will follow.
And the most important, may All Noahides together with Jews increase in the study of Torah and the fulfillment of God's Commandments with sincerity of heart, joy and hasten all which was said above, with God's Help and infinite mercy upon His creatures!
Translation of a Hassidic discourse by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneersonspoken on Parshat Matos-Masei, 5722 . Presented with permission from the publisher, Sichos in English.