web analytics
May 7, 2015 / 18 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Jerusalem’s Unique Character and Holiness

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Rabbi Avi Weiss

This week’s portion talks about the first synagogue ever – the mishkan. Because the chasm between the finite human being and the infinite God is great, the mishkan was established so that there would be a tangible place where people could feel more intensely, more powerfully, the presence of God. Synagogues have followed the model of the mishkan with this goal of spiritual connection in mind. The holiness of these places is contingent upon human input.

There is one exception to this rule. The Holy Temple, and for that matter all of Jerusalem, is endowed with a unique holiness called kedushat shechinah – the holiness of the indwelling, the holiness of God. While the holiness of most places emerges from human energy, the holiness of Jerusalem does not emerge from us, it comes from God Himself.

Maimonides concludes that just as God is above any boundary of time, so too the holiness that emerges from God is equally eternal. It follows, therefore, that Jerusalem’s holiness is endless and infinite. It is a holiness that lasts forever (Rambam, Laws of the Temple 6:16).

Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik points out that when we first entered Israel in the time of Joshua, Jerusalem was conquered last. The movement of liberating the land was from the periphery to the center. Hundreds of years passed between the conquest of Jericho by Joshua and the building of the Temple by Solomon. Precisely because Israel was conquered prior to Jerusalem, Israel remained holy for only as long as we were in control of the land. Once the land was conquered by the Babylonians, the holiness departed.

But, when we re-entered the land in the time of Ezra, said Rabbi Soloveitchik, Jerusalem was settled first. It follows, therefore, that whatever lands were liberated afterward were imbued with the spirit of Jerusalem. Just as the holiness of Jerusalem is eternal, so too is the holiness of the whole land of Israel. No wonder Maimonides believes that even after the Roman conquest of Israel the land retained its holiness.

The Temple Mount and Jerusalem are the soul of the Jewish people and the soul of the Jewish land. It is above and beyond any boundary of time, and reminds us of our proud past and of our hope and faith in a promising future.

About the Author: Rabbi Avi Weiss is founder and president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and senior rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale.


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 “Jerusalem’s Unique Character and Holiness”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Naftali Bennett and Prime Minister Netanyahu.
There is a Coalition!
Latest Judaism Stories
Napping Yehuda Barkan and Daniel Dayan from the movie, "Stories of Rebbe Nachman"

Many think they’re serving G-d but they’re really asleep-Rebbe Nachman taught stories to wake people

Social Media pic

With ubiquitous texting, social media, & email, society is mislead to think that words are ephemeral

Safar-050115-Califlower

Cauliflower is one of my favorite ingredients to cook with – it blends so easily into whatever dish I am preparing.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

It’s an interesting idea, that love is illustrated by understanding another’s needs.

“Keeping” Shabbos means to guard it and make sure to keep every aspect and detail of it.

Pesach is a time when we can grow in this perspective. But merely spending a week working on something will not leave any lasting impression on us.

“There is a diamond necklace that I wear on special occasions,” Mrs. Miller told her husband. “It was recently appraised at $6,000. If need be, we can give that as collateral.”

Morah for a parent is connected to shemiras Shabbos because the Shechina shines on, and through, the Sabbath.

“You shall not hate your brother in your heart; you shall reprove your fellow and do not bear a sin because of him.” – Vayikra 19:17   When the Torah mentions the obligation to rebuke a fellow Jew, it ends with the words “and do not carry a sin because of him.” The Targum translates […]

The Bais Halevi answers that we must properly define what is considered to be “in the middle of a mitzvah.”

They had realized they would be far from civilization and kosher food and had packed plenty of fresh and canned food as well as making sure there was a microwave in their room which they knew how to kasher.

He was deeply saddened by the thought of her going to her final resting place alone and that it appeared as if she knew no one and had no family who cared about her.

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)

The Debt Lives On
‘The Orphans’ Mitzvah To Repay Their Father’s Debts’
(Ketubot 91b)

Rabbi Fohrman asks what’s the connection between animal sacrifices and leaving crops for the poor?

More Articles from Rabbi Avi Weiss
Rabbi Avi Weiss

Myth that niddah=dirty stopped many women from accepting laws of family purity and must be shattered

Rabbi Moshe Weiss

Poland’s great Jewish cities where Jewish life had once flourished and thrived, were now desolate

Kashrut reminds us that in the end, God is the arbiter of right and wrong.

Unless ritual is introduced, the Shoah will be remembered as a footnote in history in 100 years

Dayenu is not a song of complaint; it is rather a song of thanksgiving to God.

Often people in important positions separate from everyday people & tasks-NOT the Kohen Gadol

“Adam” speaks to the universal dimension of the Temple. He is the parent of all humankind.

Perhaps the greatest manifestation of human creativity in the Torah is the building of the Mishkan

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/jerusalems-unique-character-and-holiness/2014/01/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: