Q. When will the Temple be rebuilt in Jerusalem?A. Apart from the question of access to the Temple mount, which is both a halachic and a political question, rebuilding the Temple requires the fulfuilment of at least seven pre-conditions:
1. The majority of the Jewish people must be living in Israel.
2. There must be conditions of peace.
3. The wish for a Temple must arise out of Jewish spiritual reawakening.
4. There must be a supernatural act of God’s approval.
5. A true prophet must give the command to rebuild.
6. The site must be resanctified (though Maimonides’ view is that the original sanctity persists).
7. The Biblically ordained measurements, proportions and specifications of the Temple must be scrupulously followed.
It is hardly likely that all seven would be feasible in pre-messianic times. But a British scholar, Rabbi SM Lehrman, once advanced an interim proposal, that elsewhere in Jerusalem there should be “a Temple of peace and worship in which a believing humanity could commune with the Heavenly Father”.
But even this might also require messianic conditions of human (and Jewish) unity, peace and tolerance, when discord, jealousy and lack of respect for others would have disappeared for ever.