web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Hashem’s House As An Address For Prayer


Rabbi Rabbi Joshua logo

Share Button

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.

Share Button

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.

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

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ukraine Shul Firebombed
Ukrainian Synagogue Firebombed (Video)
Latest Judaism Stories
Reiss-041814-King

Amazingly, each and every blade was green and moist as if it was just freshly cut.

PTI-041814

All the commentaries ask why Hashem focuses on the Exodus as opposed to saying, “I am Hashem who created the entire world.”

Leff-041814

Someone who focuses only on the bones of the Torah makes his bones dry and passionless.

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014). As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House. Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. On Tuesday, just as we […]

The tendency to rely on human beings rather than G-d has been our curse throughout the centuries.

“Who is wise? One who learns from each person” (Pirkei Avot 4:1)

In Judaism, to be without questions is a sign not of faith, but of lack of depth.

“I’ll try to help as we can,” said Mr. Goodman, “but we already made a special appeal this year. Let me see what other funds we have. I’ll be in touch with you in a day or two.”

Rashi is bothered by the expression Hashem used: “the Jews need only travel.”

Reckoning Time
‘Three Festivals, Even Out Of Order’
(Beizah 19b)

Two husbands were there to instruct us in Texas hold ‘em – and we needed them.

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

A few background principles regarding the prohibitions of chametz mixtures on Pesach may provide some shopping guidance.

According to the Rambam, the k’nas applies to any chametz on Pesach with which one could, in theory, transgress the aveirah – even if no transgression actually occurred.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

More Articles from Rabbi Joshua Rapps
Rabbi Rabbi Joshua logo

Chazal recognized the importance of recording events for subsequent generations to identify with, understand and appreciate what moved the author so many years before.

Rabbi Rabbi Joshua logo

Man has two possible extremes. If he is worthy, he transcends the rest of creation. However, if he is not worthy he is lower than the mosquito that was created before him.

That second verse in Vayikra (9:23) tells us that Moshe and Aharon entered the Ohel Moed, and upon exiting they jointly blessed the people.

Chazal tell us that Moshe functioned in many different capacities. For example, at various times he was considered a king and the equivalent of the Sanhedrin. He was also a kohen gadol, as evidenced by his role during this seven day period.

Besides the lack of appreciation and understanding on the part of knesset Yisrael, Sefer Vayikra has been derided and held in contempt by the nations of the world and other religions.

The Torah says (Exodus, chapter 28) several times v’nasa Aharon, Aharon was commanded to carry the responsibility of bnei Yisrael, represented by his wearing these garments. This was his masa, the koved, the heavy responsibility of being the intermediary between Hashem and the people. It is a difficult task indeed.

The difference between the intellectual and emotional approach to performing a mitzvah is most noticeable when analyzing the different approaches to giving charity. A person can readily comprehend and accept the intellectual rationale behind giving charity to the poor.

The Gemara says that Moshe lost his ability to pray and protest when he was ordered to descend. The Gemara uses the parable of the friend of the king to indicate that Moshe realized that Hashem provided him, despite his diminished status, with an opening and an opportunity to pray on their behalf to prevent their annihilation.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: