“ Rabbi Aba said: I have remembered a certain matter I heard from the Holy Lamp [Rabbi Shim'on bar Yohai] who heard it in the name of Rabbi Eliezer. One day a clever gentile came and said to him: Old man, old man, I have three questions that I want to put to you. The first is: You say that another Temple will be built for you, but the Temple is not to be built more than twice. The First Temple and the Second Temple [are mentioned] but you will not find a Third Temple in the Torah, and that which you had to build has already been built, and there will never be another one, for Scripture has referred to the two houses of Israel: The glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former [Haggai 2:9].
Also, you say that you are closer to the supernal King than all other peoples. Whoever is close to the King is forever rejoicing, without pain, without fear, without troubles. But you are perpetually in pain, trouble and agony, more than anyone else [Cf. Proverbs 3:12: For whom YHWH loves He rebukes, and Isaiah 53:10: YHWH delights in crushing him by disease, see also BT Berakhot 5a]. Look at us – no pain, trouble nor agony approaches us at all, from whence it follows that we are close to the supernal King and you are far from Him, and this is why you have pain and trouble and sorrow and agony, which we do not have.
Furthermore you do not eat of an animal found dead or an animal not ritually slaughtered so that you will be healthy and your body healthy. We eat anything we want and we are physically strong and healthy and all our limbs are fit. You do not partake and all are sick with bad illnesses and broken more than all other peoples. You are a people whom God hates above all. Old man, old man, do not say anything to me because I shall not listen to you [Cf. Proverbs 18:2: The fool does not desire understanding, but only to air his thoughts, and Proverbs 26:4-5: Do not answer a dolt by his folly, lest you, too, be like him. Answer the dolt by his folly, lest he seem wise in his own eyes], nor accept it from you. Rabbi Eliezer lifted up his eyes, looked at him, and turned him into a heap of bones.
When his anger had subsided, he looked back, cried, and said: YHWH, our Master, how majestic is Your name in all the earth [Psalms 8:2]. How strong is the power of the Holy Name that is strong in all the earth, and how beloved are the words of Torah, for nothing is so minor that it will not be found in the Torah, and even the smallest thing in the Torah issued from the mouth of the blessed Holy One. Those matters that that wicked one asked, I too, once asked of Elijah, and he replied that in the academy on high [these very matters] were laid out before the blessed Holy One as follows:
When Israel came out of Egypt the blessed Holy One wanted to establish them in the land as are the holy angels on high, and He wanted to build a temple for them, bring it down from the upper heavens, and plant Israel in the land as a holy planting, after the pattern of the supernal form, as is written: You shall bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance [Exodus 15:17]. And where would that be? In the place, YHWH, which You have made, for You to dwell in [ibid.]. In that which which You, YHWH, have made, and in no other. In the place, YHWH, which You have made, for You to dwell in – the First Temple. And in the sanctuary, YHWH, which Your hands have established – the Second Temple. Both of them are the work of the blessed Holy One.
But when they angered Him in the wilderness, they died, and the blessed Holy One brought their children into the land, and the Temple was constructed by man, which is why it did not last. King Solomon knew that the Temple he built was the work of man and would not therefore last, which is why it is written: Unless YHWH builds the house, they who build it labor in vain [Psalms 127:1]. And indeed it no longer exists. In the days of Ezra, because of the sin, they had to rebuild which is why it did not endure. And up until now the first structure of the blessed Holy One has not been placed in the world, but concerning the future it is written: YHWH builds Jerusalem [Psalms 147:2]. He and no other. It is for this that we are waiting, and not for the work of man which has no permanence.’
The blessed Holy One will bring down the First Temple and the Second Temple from on high simultaneously. The First [Binah] will be concealed, and the second [Malkhut] will reveal the art of the blessed Holy One to all the world; perfect rejoicing and goodwill in all its existence. The First Temple, concealed ascending on high over the revealed, and all the world seeing the clouds of glory which will be the First Temple hidden in action, rising to the height of the glory of the heavens [Binah] and this is the building for which we are waiting.
So far this has not happened in the world, for even the city of Jerusalem will not be the result of man’s skill, for it is written: for I, says YHWH…. will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her [Zechariah 2:9]. If this is what is written about the city, how much more so will this be the case for the Temple, which is His dwelling place. And this action of the blessed Holy One should have been seen at the beginning, when Israel came out of Egypt, but it was delayed for the End of Days, for the final Redemption” (Ra’aya Meheimna).
“Come and see: Four hundred years, the minister of the children of Ishmael stood and begged before the blessed Holy One: ‘Whoever is circumcised has a portion in Your name.’ He said to him, ‘it is so.’ ‘Behold Ishmael who is circumcised. Why does he not have a portion in You like Isaac?’ He said to him, ‘It is not so, the one was circumcised properly and according to the full requirements, while the other was not so [as Ishmael do not fulfill פריעה ‘uncovering’]. Moreover, they cleave to Me as is specified, on the eighth day, while the others are distanced from me for many days [being circumcised only at age thirteen].’ ‘But still in all, since he is circumcised, would he not have a good reward for this?’ [Rabbi Hiyya said:] Woe is to the time that Ishmael was born into the world and was circumcised. What did the blessed Holy One do? He distanced the children of Ishmael from supernal cleaving and gave them a portion below in the Holy Land, because of their circumcision. And in the future, the children of Ishmael are destined to rule over the Holy Land for a long time when it is empty, like their circumcision, empty and imperfect. And they will prevent the children of Israel from returning to their place until the reward for the merit of the children of Ishmael reaches completion.
The children of Ishmael will cause great wars in the world and the children of Edom will gather against them, and wage war against them, one on the sea, one on the dry land, and one near Jerusalem. And they will rule over each other, but the Holy Land will not be given over to the children of Edom [Cf. Numbers 24:19]. At that time, a nation from the end of the earth will be roused against evil Rome and wage war against it for three months. Nations will gather there, and will fall into their hands until all the children of Edom will gather against it from all the corners of the world. Then the blessed Holy One will be roused against them. This is the meaning of For YHWH has a sacrifice in Botzrah [Isaiah 34:6]. And afterwards, it is written That it might take hold of the ends of the earth [Job 38:13]. He will destroy the descendants of Ishmael from the land, and break all [its] powers above. There will not remain any power of any people on earth, except the power of Israel alone. This is the meaning of YHWH is your shade upon your right hand [Psalms 121:5]. For the Holy Name is on the right, and the Torah is on the right. Therefore, everything stems from the right. We have learned that one should raise the right over the left, as it is written In His right hand a fiery law [Deuteronomy 33:2]. In the time to come: Save with Your right hand and answer me [Psalms 60:7]. And of that time, it is written: For then I will purify the language of the peoples, that all of them may call upon the name of YHWH and serve Him shoulder to shoulder [Zephaniah 3:9], and On that day YHWH will be one, and His name will be One (Zechariah 14:9)” (Zohar 2:32a).