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?

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    Rachel, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for bringing your question here! I'm having some trouble understanding exactly what this question is asking. What do you mean by "a halachic opinion"? Do you want a general explanation of how the second temple differed in Jewish Law from the first? Please feel free to answer in comments here, and we can help you sharpen your question, or, even better, edit the question yourself. Please edit your profile to give yourself a name! Finally, please check out Purim - Mi Yodeya! – Isaac Moses Mar 10 '14 at 15:52
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    Another comment to help you reword your question. Herod did not design/build the second temple. He renovated and enlarged it, but the initial construction of the second temple was accomplished long before he appeared on the scene, during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. – Dennis Mar 10 '14 at 16:10
  • re lacking the ark judaism.stackexchange.com/a/30680/759 – Double AA Mar 10 '14 at 16:27
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    "Didn't survive very long"?? It survived 10 years longer than the 1st temple. – Danny Schoemann Mar 11 '14 at 8:59