The Temple and the Synagogue

Question

In a technical sense, before its destruction in 70 CE, was the Jerusalem Temple the only proper place to “worship” the LORD? (From what I understand, it was the only acceptable place to offer a sacrifice.)

When Jewish people today gather at synagogue, do they gather to “worship,” or would it be better to say that it is a time for study and community?

Thank you.

6 months

Answers

  1. From the time of the First Temple the only place that sacrifices could be offered was in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. People who wanted or needed to offer up a sacrifice would make the journey to Jerusalem and do it in the Temple. After the destruction of the Second Temple the ability to offer up sacrifices was no longer an option. However, prayer has always been regarded as the acceptable substitute for sacrifices when it is not possible to offer them up. So, in a sense, the Synagogue became the substitute for the Temple and the prayers substituted the sacrifices, themselves.

    That means that nowadays the Synagogue is a place of worship. But, to confuse matters, it is also a place of Torah study and it is also the place that the community life revolves around!

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team