The Babylonian exile lasted exactly 70 years. 70 years corresponds to the full cycle of spiritual development that is required to become aware of the exile. The end of the exile is always revealed as a condition: either this will be the place of your burial, or you unite just like at Mount Sinai.
Only at Mount Sinai, it was at the request of the Creator to celebrate the Egyptian exile and escape from Pharaoh, and in Babylon it was thanks to Haman and Mordecai. Mordecai was a prophet and knew that without Haman he would not be able to do anything with the Jews. Haman played the role of the guard dog that assembled the Jews from all 127 countries of the Babylonian kingdom into one crowd.
So they were able to reach unity, return to the land of Israel, and start building the Second Temple. But this unity wasn’t as strong as during the times of the First Temple. It wasn’t their fault; they simply couldn’t do more since they brought additional egoism from the exile.
Besides, this had to happen this way according to the program of the upper system, because the destructions of the First and Second Temples correspond to two stages of shattering of desires in the world of Nekudim. The material development of our world is a direct mechanical consequence of the processes in the spiritual world.
Therefore, the Second Temple didn’t have many attributes of the First Temple. The Second Temple was on the level of Mochin de Neshama, much lower than the First Temple that reached the level of Mochin de Haya. This is a huge difference.
Mochin de Haya is the revelation of the Creator, and Mochin de Neshama is revelation of the relationship of the Creator to the creatures. It is like knowing a person himself, or receive parcels with presents from him sometimes.
Nevertheless, the Second Temple was a very big achievement. Actually, everything has its positive side. They received an opportunity to spread their spiritual knowledge and to write books about it precisely because they didn’t reach the level of Mochin de Haya. This wasn’t the case in the days of the First Temple.
There were many more Kabbalists engaged in spiritual attainment in the days of the Second Temple. The First Temple was like an academy that had only few dozen academics, and the Second Temple was like a normal university, with lower levels, but with thousands of students studying in it.
These thousands of “ordinary” Kabbalists have actually been more helpful to us because they could explain everything in the Mishnah and Talmud, and they wrote many commentaries and books. They allowed themselves to write about it because the attainment came down from the height of the deepest spiritual mysteries and approached the material world.
From the moment the Second Temple was built, it immediately began to crumble because it wasn’t the ultimate goal of development. The clock continued to tick, counting the seconds on the axis of time and leading us to the final point of the path. After all, the ultimate purpose of creation was incorporated in the initial plan and everything was predetermined.
It was clear that the Second Temple is also destined to collapse. However, Kabbalists fought to prevent this destruction, as they did in the days of the First Temple. They fought against people’s fall from the spiritual level and against all of those who welcomed Greek and Roman dignitaries in Israel. Inside the people of Israel there were terrible wars between the Jews.
Kabbalists were appealing to people, urging them to unite. Why did they fight for unity if they knew in advance that the Temple would collapse? The fact is that our work is to go by faith above reason. I don’t want to know what will be in the end in order to fold my hands and wait till the Temple falls. I must work and fight every moment to preserve the sanctity, and whatever will be, will be.
Even if I should die, I must keep sanctity as long as possible. Therefore, there were big wars to protect the Temple. After all, if the Kabbalists resigned to the fact that it will inevitably be destroyed, it would be a great crime since our work must be in faith above reason.
It’s like a sick person’s duty is to go to the doctor, take life-saving medicine from him and drink it, and then thank the Creator for his recovery. This is not clear to an ordinary person.
Today as well, people don’t understand that we need to build our life in sanctity without waiting for when it will happen by itself. This work is above reason and in our time, even inside it.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/12/16, Writings of Rabash