The History of mankind can be split into 2 periods:
1) the period before the destruction of the first Beit Hamikdash
2) the period after the destruction of the first Beit Hamikdash
The former was a period of Hashem's constant miracles that could be seen every day. The latter was and is a period of Hashem's face hidden, where we long for the days of old. Even the second Beit Hamikdash was no consolation for those who saw the first
. Life was changed forever, until Mashiah will restore that former glory.
The first Beit Hamikdash was destroyed in the year 3338. That was 2434 years ago. We therefore have 2 periods of history - the first being 3338 years and the second being 2434 years.
There are 2 verses in Tanach that seem to bring out this dichotomy Both are talking about the year of the destruction, but at very different angles.
אַל תִּשְׂמְחִי אֹיַבְתִּי לִי, כִּי נָפַלְתִּי קָמְתִּי: כִּי אֵשֵׁב בַּחֹשֶׁךְ, יְהוָה אוֹר לִי
Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy; though I am fallen, I shall arise; though I sit in darkness, the LORD is a light unto me.
The gematria of this verse is 3338. This verse tells of the Galut from the Babylonians and others (see Rashi
) that started at the destruction of the first Beit Hamikdash. It is telling the Jews' enemies not to rejoice because although we are in Galut, Hashem will be our light and we long for Mashiah. This verse is therefore "standing" in the first period of history (hence, the gematria of 3338), but looking forward toward the second period of history (hence, the reference to Galut).
לַמִּצְעָר, יָרְשׁוּ עַם-קָדְשֶׁךָ; צָרֵינוּ, בּוֹסְסוּ מִקְדָּשֶׁךָ
Thy holy people they have well nigh driven out, our adversaries have trodden down Thy sanctuary.
The gematria of this verse is 2434. This verse tells of the too short of a period (see Rashi and Metzudot
) that we had the Beit Hamikdash, but that now, it has been trampled upon by our enemies. This verse is therefore "standing" in the second period of history (hence, the gematria of 2434), and looking back at the first part of history (hence, bemoaning how short we had the Beit Hamikdash).
May we merit to reach the new period when we are no longer sitting in the darkness and Hashem will return His Shechina to its place and the Mikdash to its former glory. Amen.