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Help! The Temple Is On Fire

By Rabbi Moishe Kievman - Chabad Chayil

July 26, 2023

Legend has it that Napoleon, the great French leader, was once passing through a small town in Europe, when he heard weeping. Wanting to know what was going on, he followed the sound inside a building, where he found men, women and children sitting on low chairs & benches, crying. The building was a Synagogue and the room which had a magnificent candelabra chandelier at its center, had only a few candles lit.

Bothered by the scene and wanting an explanation, Napoleon inquired about the reason for their sadness. They explained that they were mourning for the destruction of the temple. At that point Napoleon became very angered that people would have the audacity to harm the Temple of such good people, and inquired further to where the damage was, as whatever parts he saw still looked intact. No no, they explained. "We're mourning for the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, the Beit Hamikdash, that was destroyed by Rome over 1700 years ago. Once a year on Tisha B'Av - the 9th day on the Jewish month of Av, we get together to read the Book of Lamentations and mourn the Temple's destruction while praying that we very soon merit its rebuilding."

To this Napoleon responded, "WOW! A people that remembers the destruction of their land and temple after so many hundreds of years, will surely witness its rebuilding."

Tisha B'Av was actually the day that both Temples were destroyed. The First Temple built by King Solomon was destroyed by the Babylonians (modern day Iraq) in 3338 (423 bce). After completing the building of the Second Temple in 3412 (349 bce), it too was destroyed on the 9th of Av, this time by the Romans in 3829 (69 ce). That was also the day on which the Jews were expelled from Spain in 5252 (1492 ce), the start of World War I in 5674 (1914 ce) and the Gush Katif Expulsion in 5765 (2005 ce).

If you were to witness any such atrocity, how would you respond? What would you say? What would you do?

The Talmud tells us that although the Babylonians & Romans did the dirty work, it was actually the will of G-d, due to the people not behaving in a loving way one to another. Furthermore the Talmud tells us that as long as the Temple is not rebuilt in our time, it's as if it was destroyed in our time!

In other words, since we still don't have the Temple rebuilt, it's as if it's being destroyed in front of our very eyes! We are witnesses to those atrocities! Help! The Temple is on fire!!

The good news is that we know what to do. By acting in kind ways to one another, by loving thy neighbor, by simply being good people, we will surely see the Third Temple built in a peaceful Jerusalem. Ah! If we would only merit to enjoy it, this year in Jerusalem!

To learn more about Tisha B'Av, see:

This year Tisha B'Av begins Wednesday, July 26th at sundown and ends Thursday, July 27th at nightfall. I encourage you to participate in services at your local Chabad or Synagogue. You can also join me at The Family Shul, 2601 Northeast 211th Terrace, Miami, Florida 33180.

Since COVID-19, we have been making our services available each day during the week virtually. Our services are broadcasted live each weekday morning and evening on YouTube at: - On Facebook at: And when requested, via zoom. The full schedule is available at: - Or call: (305) 770-1919.

Wednesday, July 26th
6:00 p.m. - Mincha
8:10 p.m. - Fast Begins
8:15 p.m. - Maariv followed by Aicha (Lamentations)
9:00 p.m. - 3D Tour of the Beit Hamikdash

Thursday, July 27th
9:00 a.m. - Shacharit followed by Kinus until midday (1:26pm)
6:00 p.m. - Film TBA
7:00 p.m. - Services with Tallit & Tefillin followed by Break Fast at 8:40 p.m.

For exact Halachik times calculated for South Florida for any day of the year, see:

About The Author
Rabbi Kievman together with his wife are the ambassadors of The Rebbe to Highland Lakes, FL. They are the founders of Gan Chabad Preschool, your local CTeen & CKids chapters, CHAP - an afterschool program for Jewish children in Public Schools and direct Chabad Chayil. He’s the Rabbi at The Family Shul and can be reached at: (305) 770-1919. Or:

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