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I've heard that the Third Beit Hamikdash will be made when the Mashiach arrives. And that it will be built by G-d himself, unlike the previous Temples. This seems to be the most common opinion in Orthodox Judaism, but I recently found out that the Rambam says that it should be built by jews, and that it's an obligation to attempt to build it if possible.

What are the bases for both opinions? Should we wait for the Mashiach or should we start building?

Update: I found a link with very detailed explanations of each side of the argument. It's really good and it's what I was looking for. However, thank you all for your answers and contributions. http://rchaimqoton.blogspot.com/2007/07/building-third-holy-temple.html?m=1

  • Rashi is famously of the common opinion that it will be built in heaven. Even if Rambam is right, caution must be exercised before building the Temple, as that is liable to cause some serious anti-Semitic sentiment on the part of the Muslims. – mevaqesh Nov 5 '15 at 0:26
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    I really don't want to get into politics and what would happen if we build it. I just want to know the sources in the Torah for each argument, and a comparison of both opinions – Gabriel12 Nov 5 '15 at 1:00
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    I've heard that people will build the Earthly Third Temple, and then God will make the eternal Heavenly Third Temple descend from the sky. – Scimonster Nov 5 '15 at 8:28
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    @Scimonster What's a "eternal Heavenly Third Temple"? Were there a first and second "eternal Heavenly Temple"? I've never heard of them. – Double AA Nov 5 '15 at 13:46
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    The Lubavitcher Rebbe spoke about this. Here is a brief article which also lists some sources at the bottom... chabad.org/therebbe/article_cdo/aid/148182/jewish/… – Dude Nov 9 '15 at 4:19
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You asked: Should we wait for the Mashiach or should we start building?

Looking inside the Rambam - in הלכות בית הבחירה - פרק ראשון I see that he does start with the commandment to build the Bet HaMikdash so as to bring the Korbanot.

א: מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לַעֲשׂוֹת בַּיִת לַה' מוּכָן לִהְיוֹת מַקְרִיבִים בּוֹ הַקָּרְבָּנוֹת.‏

However he then goes on to say that we don't know how to build the 3rd Bet HaMikdash, as the prophecy in Yehezkel describing it is insufficient to actually build it:

ד: בִּנְיָן שֶׁבָּנָה שְׁלֹמֹה כְּבָר מְפֹרָשׁ בִּמְלָכִים. וְכֵן בִּנְיָן הֶעָתִיד לְהִבָּנוֹת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא כָּתוּב בִּיחֶזְקֵאל אֵינוֹ מְפֹרָשׁ וּמְבֹאָר.‏

My conclusion is that the answer to your question is that either way we have to wait for Mashiach, since only he can give us enough information to build it.

Your claim I recently found out that the Rambam says that it should be built by jews, and that it's an obligation to attempt to build it if possible, is incompatible with the Rambam's text!

What are the bases for both opinions?

The Rambam states it's a verse: `שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כ"ה-ח') 'וְעָשׂוּ לִי מִקְדָּשׁ' - Make for Me a Mikdash

Rashi (Sukka 41a) says that it will come down from heaven ready-made, as it says שנא' (שמות ט"ו-י"ז) מִקְּדָשׁ ה' כּוֹנְנוּ יָדֶיךָ - The Mikdash - Hashem - will be built erected by Your Hands.

אי נמי. דאיבני בחמיסר סמוך לשקיעת החמה והיא היא ואי קשיא דבלילה אינו נבנה דקי''ל בשבועות (דף טו:) דאין בנין בית המקדש בלילה דכתיב וביום הקים ולא בחמיסר שהוא י''ט דקי''ל בשבועות (שם) דאין בנין ב''ה דוחה י''ט ה''מ בנין הבנוי בידי אדם אבל מקדש העתיד שאנו מצפין בנוי ומשוכלל הוא יגלה ויבא משמים שנא' (שמות טו) מקדש ה' כוננו ידיך:‏

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    It's not incompatible. The Rambam would agree that any building that meets certain minimum requirements is Kosher whether it matches the Nevuot or not. Hence, until we get more info, that's what we should be aiming to build. – Double AA Nov 5 '15 at 13:47
  • @DoubleAA - where do you see that in the Rambam? Inferred or explicit? (IOW I suspect we disagree why he added the part about בִּנְיָן הֶעָתִיד?) – Danny Schoemann Nov 5 '15 at 15:14
  • @DannySchoemann , how do you explain this Rambam (Hilchos Melachim 11:1, and 4) המלך המשיח עתיד לעמוד ולהחזיר מלכות דוד ליושנה לממשלה הראשונה. ובונה המקדש ומקבץ נדחי ישראל and אם עשה והצליח ובנה מקדש במקומו וקבץ נדחי ישראל הרי זה משיח בודאי ,it seems according to the Rambam it will be made by man(Masiach) and Mashiach will know who he is and he will be inspired to start building it – sam Nov 5 '15 at 15:55
  • @sam - I fail to see what you're asking. Both your quotes say that Mashiach will build the 3rd BhM - which was my conclusion. To self-quote: "My conclusion is that the answer to your question is that either way we have to wait for Mashiach, since only he can give us enough information to build it." – Danny Schoemann Nov 8 '15 at 8:13
  • You are right,I did not see that one line where you explain that,my apologies – sam Nov 8 '15 at 16:23
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Two additional points:

  1. Sefer Zerubavel, an apocalyptic work of unclear provenance, says: "Then the Lord will lower the celestial Temple which had been previously built to earth, and a column of fire and a cloud of smoke will rise to heaven. The Messiah and all of Israel will follow them to the gates of Jerusalem."

  2. The Aruch ha-Shulchan supported the view that the third Temple was initially to be built my man (before the re-establishment of the Davidic dynasty), and subsequently, a Temple of heavenly fire would be revealed. See this article, by R. Eitam Henkin הי"ד, p. 3.

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protected by msh210 Nov 5 '15 at 0:59

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