Difference Between Temple and Synagogue

Temple vs Synagogue
 

The difference between temple and synagogue has its roots in the Jewish beliefs. Temple and Synagogue are two words that are often considered as words that denote the same meaning by the general population. Actually, in a Jewish perspective, they are not so. They convey two different senses when used separately. The word synagogue is derived from the Greek word ‘Sinagogos.’ This word refers to a place where people assemble. It often refers to the House of Assembly. A temple, in a very general sense, is the sacred place where followers of any religion go to worship. Synagogue is associated with Jewish culture. When looked from a Jewish perspective temple carries a special meaning. All this will be discussed in the article while we are discussing the difference between the two words temple and synagogue.

What is a Temple?

A temple, in a very general sense, is the sacred place where followers of any religion go to worship. Every religion usually has a temple, a place of worship that is known by this name. Temple, for them, is the house of God. All these religions use the word temple to refer to any place of worship the followers of those religions have built. However, this belief of calling any place of worship a temple changes when it comes to Judaism.

For Jews, the word Temple refers primarily to the shrine that is seen in Jerusalem. If a Jew is using the word temple, he or she is referring to the Holy Temple that was in Jerusalem. Solomon constructed the first ever temple in 10th century BCE. The Jewish refer to such constructions as temples. After the Romans destroyed the Second Temple, they no longer have a physical construction that they can refer to as the temple. The orthodox Jews believe that only the Messiah can build a new Temple.

Difference Between Temple and Synagogue

Holy Temple of Jews

When the Temple was there, Jews were carrying out more traditions such as sacrifices. Also, during the prayer in the Temple, music was used.

What is a Synagogue?

Now, since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, a synagogue is the house of worship for the Jews. On the other hand, a synagogue was nothing but a Town Hall in the olden days. At that time, it did not have a great connection with worship.

The purpose of constructing a synagogue also was different when compared to the purpose for which a temple was constructed. The primary purpose behind the construction of synagogue was to carry on discussions related to business. In fact, community business was conducted by the Jewish community in a synagogue. This was the situation as long as the Temple was there. However, now the synagogue is built for the primary purpose of worshipping.

As a way of honoring the memory of the Temple, the worship style in synagogues has also gone through some changes. For example, instrumental music is not used in synagogues for worship.

 Temple vs  Synagogue

What is the difference between Temple and Synagogue?

• Definition of Temple and Synagogue:

• Temple, in the general sense, means the place of worship in any religion.

• Temple in Judaism refers to the Holy Temple that was in Jerusalem.

• Synagogue is the Jewish house of worship.

This is the main difference between the two words.

• Place of Building:

• A normal temple can be built anywhere.

• The Temple can only be built on the ground where the former temples stood.

• Synagogues can also be built anywhere.

• Worshipping:

• A normal temple follows the method of worship according to the religion to which the temple belongs to.

• The Temple has special traditions such as sacrifices and using music for prayers.

• Synagogues do not do sacrifices. As a way of putting the Temple memory in a special place, they do not use music during prayer.

• Beliefs:

• The Orthodox Jews follow all these customs believing another Temple can only be built by the Messiah and only builds synagogues.

• The Reform Movement of Judaism goes against the traditional beliefs. They build worshipping places and name them temple without a problem.

As you can see, the difference between temple and synagogue can only be seen in the religion of Judaism.

 

Images Courtesy:

  1. Holy Temple via Wikicommons (Public Domain)
  2. Great Synagogue of Florence by Toksave (CC BY-SA 3.0)