web analytics
February 2, 2015 / 13 Shevat, 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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Handout photo of texted message sent by a fearful Christopher Cramer from Saudi Arabia before his death.
Saudis Hold Body of U.S. Elbit Subcontractor After Mysterious Death in Tabuk
Latest Judaism Stories
Staum-013015

People often think that all they are missing is “just a little more” and then they can be truly happy.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

The Midrash is teaching a fundamental message of what it means to be a religious person.

Rabbi Sacks

Torah opposes slavery; G-d desires the free worship of free human beings, yet slavery’s permitted-?!

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

Approximately 18 years ago, my uncle called me into his office saying he had an urgent matter to discuss. I didn’t know what he had in mind.

“Where is God?” asked the Kotzker Rebbe “God is not everywhere but only where you let Him enter”

An Explosion In The Trench
‘With A Glowing Hot Knife’
(Yevamos 120b)

Her first tactic was tefillah; she immediately began to recite one perek after another of Tehillim.

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

“How could you have expected my glasses to be there?” argued Mr. Weiss. “You shouldn’t have to pay.”

Rather than submit to this fate and suffer torture and humiliation, Shaul decided to fall on his sword.

How can the Da’as Zekeinim say this was Hashem’s plan to allow them to become the Torah Nation? We know it was actually a punishment.

A strange midrash of fruit trees surrounding the Nation of Israel as they walked to freedom

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

More Articles from Rabbi Joshua Rapps
Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

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

Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

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.

You are up to the task of being the emissary of Hashem, if you choose to. However, the choice is yours.

Each individual has a unique set of qualities and skills. Some have more abilities and some less.

The first requirement is a king must admit when he is wrong.

If Chanukah was simply a commemoration of the miracle of the oil and Menorah, we would be hard pressed to see the connection between the reading from Parshas Nesiim and Chanukah.

Jacob was well aware that the brothers hated Joseph, yet he sent him to them anyway.

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: