In this week’s Torah portion we read about G-d’s instruction to build a Temple. The Torah tells us in detail how this Temple should be constructed and the various vessels that were placed in the Temple, such as: the candelabra, the ark, the alter etc. This Temple was first built in the desert in a temporary fashion and in the Times of King Solomon it was built in a permanent fashion in Jerusalem.
The Temple was a place where G-d’s presence was revealed as the verse states, “They must make me a sanctuary that I may dwell in their midst.” The commentaries explain that the verse states, “I will dwell in their midst in the plural sense since in a spiritual sense each Jew has an obligation to create his own Temple ie. that his being should be a place where G-d rests.
One of the primary functions of the Temple was to bring animal sacrifices on the alter. Chassidic philosophy teaches that the reason for this commandment was that the person bringing the sacrifice should also elevate his own animal tendencies. In this sense the commandment of sacrifices continue on even when the Temple is destroyed. Our Sages teach that prayer was instituted in the place of sacrifices. The reason for this is that when a person prays, he connects to G-d and this connection elevates his being and tendencies to a higher realm.