The Sikh Golden Temple and the Beit HaMikdash’- Rabbi Yakov Nagan of Othniel

We offer our deepest condolences for the members of the Sikh gurdwara of Oak Creek, Wisconsin in the wake of the senseless shooting on Sunday. For those looking for a way to relate to Sikhism in Jewish terms, I offer a lecture by Rabbi Yakov Nagan of Othniel who is a R”M at Yeshivat Othniel. Rabbi Nagan has been to India and came away with deep respect for the Sikh faith. For, Nagan, Sikhism is not just monotheistic, but the closest to the vision that Judaism has for a world religion for humanity as spelled out by the Talmud. Below is a video of the lecture; there is more in the video than in the accompanying blurb under it.

Life is a Blessing: Spirituality in the Parsha – “Parashat Tzav” – Rabbi Yakov Nagen, Otniel
Sunday, March 29, 2012

‘ The Golden Temple and the Beit HaMikdash’ A monotheistic Temple sounds almost an oxymoron as the Temples existing today are by and large adorned with statues and idols. A notable exception is the Golden Temple in Amritsar of the Sikh religion, a temple which has neither pictures nor statues. Of world religions, Sikhism is closest to the vision that Judaism has for a world religion for humanity as spelled out by the Talmud. Comparing and contrasting the Golden Temple to the Beit HaMikdash, gives insight both in to the meaning of a concrete physical temple for an infinite Gd as well as highlighting the uniqueness of the Beit HaMikdash. The heart of the Golden Temple is a book, the original copy of the central book of the Sikh religion, as is in the Beit HaMikdash whose heart is the Torah and Tablets give to Moshe by Gd and contained in the Ark in the inner sanctuary. On the other hand the Beit HaMikdash reflects Judaism’s belief of sanctity of space which is absent from the Sikh religion. Judaism belief that together with the belief that Gd is omnipresent and infinite there are places that this presence is more manifested and this is what leads to the unique status and significance of the land of Israel, Jerusalem and the Beit HaMikdash.

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