Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl, a prominent Israeli theologist who, until recently, served as the chief rabbi of the Old City of Jerusalem, has brought forth a rather sensitive religious matter as he called for the building of the Third Temple on the Temple Mount - one of the holiest sites in the world for Muslims, Christians and Jews, Breaking Israel News reports.
According to the media outlet, Nebenzahl stated that "we must do everything in our power to build the Temple," insisting that there’s never been any sort of religious ruling that would tell the Jews to wait for the Temple to "fall from the sky."
"When the Roman Empire gave the Jews permission to build the Temple, they built it. They didn’t wait for it to fall from Heaven," says an excerpt from "Midrash Rabah of Parshat Toldot," which the rabbi used as evidence to back up his claim.
He also pointed out that there’s already a commandment (mitzvah) to build the Temple, and that concerns about possible renewal of the Temple sacrifices should not get in the way of the construction effort.
"Indeed, regarding the sacrifices, there are some Halachic doubts and the sages of this generation should determine a plan of action," the rabbi noted.
Most Jewish-Orthodox scholars, however, believe that the Third Temple will be rebuilt by the Jewish Messiah, though some religious organisations call for the Temple’s immediate construction; some also believe that rebuilding the Temple may herald the end of the world.
The situation is further exacerbated by concerns that the construction process may affect other religious sites on the Temple Mount, such as the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque.