web analytics
March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Hashem’s House As An Address For Prayer


Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

This is the first article of a new weekly column: transcriptions and adaptations of shiurim by Rav Joseph Ber Soloveitchik, zt”l. The Rav’s unique perspective on Chumash permeated many of the shiurim and lectures he presented at various venues over a 40-plus year period. His words add an important perspective that makes Chumash in particular, and our tradition in general, vibrant and relevant to our generation.

“And you shall build a Mikdash for Me and I will dwell in them” (Shemos 25:8).

The commandment to build the Beis HaMikdash was one of three mitzvot we were commanded upon entry to Eretz Yisrael: to build a Beis HaBechirah, to appoint a king, and to eradicate Amalek. The Mikdash had a two-fold purpose, as noted by the Rambam (Hilchos Beis HaBechirah 1:1): a) as the place where sacrifices were to be brought; b) as the destination for the triennial pilgrimages at each of the three festivals. Both these roles are part of the identity of the Mikdash. These attributes applied to each Mikdash regardless if it was a temporary one (e.g. the Mishkan in the desert, Nov, Shilo, Givon) or a permanent one (Yerushalayim).

Another aspect of the obligation to build a Mikdash was to erect a Beis HaBechirah, a permanent house which can never be substituted for and whose place can never be changed. Based on the verse “L’shichno sidrishu u’vasa shama” (Devarim 12:5), once Jerusalem was selected, it became the sole place where the Temple could be erected (see Rambam, ibid).

On the other hand, the Mishkan, by definition, was a temporary, transient dwelling. The Torah did not specify when the transition from Mishkan to Mikdash (Beis HaBechirah), from temporary to permanent status, was to take place. No prophet ever spoke about this changeover.

The notion of a Temple, as either a temporary dwelling or as a permanent building at a specific site, is inherently difficult to understand. How can Hashem, the paradigm of perfect sanctity, coexist with our mundane, flawed universe? Infinity with the finite? Yet Hashem commanded us to build Him a Mikdash.

The Midrash notes that Moshe raised the same question when commanded to build the tabernacle in the desert. Moshe was frightened by the request! How can Hashem, infinity, coexist with man, especially in the small confines of the Holy of Holies where the Shechinah rested within a square cubit, so to speak? The heavens cannot contain the infinite glory of Hashem, how will the limited space of the Mikdash contain Him? The Midrash says that Hashem answered that just as Hashem carries the world, not the reverse, Hashem is capable of contraction, tzimtzum, and can rest quite comfortably even in the small space above the Kapores.

Moshe requested that Hashem teach him how can infinity exist in a finite space (“Haraini na es kevodecha” [Shemos 33:18]). Hashem told Moshe that while He will grant him great wisdom and show him things that no other human will ever see or know, Moshe must understand that there can be no answer to that question. Likewise, Moshe had to realize that when Hashem commands “build a Mikdash for Me,” he must accept the will of Hashem, even though he will always have the question of infinity within finite.

Shlomo Hamelech raised the same question and incorporated it into his prayer of dedication at the consecration of the first Temple. Is it possible to build a house for Hashem in this finite world (Kings I, chapter 8)? Shlomo did not seek an answer to his question, nor did he offer one. After raising the question, he changes the topic, asking Hashem to accept prayers offered through the Temple. He enumerates various circumstances that precipitate a need for prayer. He includes war, famine, disease, and affliction among the instigators of prayer.

About the Author: Rabbi Joshua Rapps attended the Rav's shiur at RIETS from 1977 through 1981 and is a musmach of Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan. He and his wife Tzipporah live in Edison, N.J. Rabbi Rapps can be contacted at ravtorah1@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Hashem’s House As An Address For Prayer”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., the United States, calling for rejection of a bad nuclear deal with Iran, on March 03, 2015.
Post-Bibi Bipartisanship May Result in Congressional Ability to Review Iran Deal
Latest Judaism Stories
Lessons-in-Emunah-new

“But you have all our credit card details from when we paid for the car.”

Niehaus-030615

Even though it sometimes seems as if we have been abandoned, nothing could be further from the truth.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

The moment Moshe Rabbeinu was deemed by the mixed multitude to be an inept leader, it was Yosef who filled the void in people’s hearts.

Business-Halacha-logo

“This sounds like a question for Rabbi Dayan,” said Mr. Cohen. He took out his cell phone and called Rabbi Dayan.

To the glee of all Israel haters it was Netanyahu who was accused of endangering US-Israel relations

Over and over, the text tells us about “keeping” Shabbat, about holiness, and a covenant – but why?

Aharon’s guilt with the golden calf is not clear-cut. What if Moshe were in his brother’s place?

The Sabbath is a full dress rehearsal for an ideal society that has not yet come to pass-but will

When Hashem told Moshe of the option to destroy the people and make him and his descendants into a great nation, Hashem was telling Moshe that it is up to him.

Just like Moses and Aaron, Mordechai decides to ruin the party…

An Auto Accident
‘All Agree That They Are Exempt’
(Kesubbos 35a)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Why would the exemption of women from donating the half shekel exempt them from davening Musaf?

This concept should be very relevant to us as we, too, should be happy beyond description.

More Articles from Rabbi Joshua Rapps

When Hashem told Moshe of the option to destroy the people and make him and his descendants into a great nation, Hashem was telling Moshe that it is up to him.

Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo-NEW

This was a spontaneous act of rest after the miracle of vanquishing their respective foes. The following year they celebrated on the same days as a minhag.

Man feels vulnerable, exposed, even when he considers himself a great being.

Perhaps Hillel based his opinion on the original conversion that took place at Mount Sinai and described in Mishpatim.

Halachah is not bound to one geographical location. It is obligatory all over the world.

When a miracle occurs that transcends nature, Hashem has broken the laws of nature to create the miracle.

Property ownership is an extremely important and fundamental right and principle according to the Torah.

The American Jew has forgotten his history. Not the simple stories of life in Europe. Rather, he lost the ability to relive time as part of his own I-awareness, that the past is a relevant part of me.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/hashems-house-as-an-address-for-prayer/2014/01/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: