I'm a BT of just over 5 yrs now, struggling but studying hard (50 yrs of 'catch-up'!). I think of myself as a Chassidic Jew. I'm still intrigued, yet in a quandary about the validity of the 2nd Temple. It didn't survive very long, and, there was no Aron HaKodesh. Also, the Temple was designed/built by an evil ruler (Herod). Seeing as it was destroyed by HaKodesh Baruch Hu because of our sinas chinam, and the "3rd" Beis HaMikdash won't be rebuilt until Moshiach comes, what are we to make of the existence of the 2nd Temple?
It seems it was regarded by Chazal as valid. How could this be?
Its design tends to be used as a model for what the Beis HaMikdash is supposed to look like. If it was built by an evil ruler, why is this so?
Why do we refer to the next Beis HaMikdash as a 3rd, when the 2nd was only temporary? Shouldn't it be seen as the true 2nd, and Herod's Temple as just an anomaly?