web analytics
July 25, 2014 / 27 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
cease fire!
Ceasefire Talks Again
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

When taking any major step in life it is a good idea to carefully re-evaluate one’s past.

Rabbi Sacks

Ours is a small and intensely vulnerable people. Inspired, we rise to greatness. Uninspired, we fall

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

The enormity of Hiram’s accomplishments crazed him and deluded him into self-deification.

The-Shmuz

When Hashem first thought (if it could be) about creating the world, the middah of din was in operation.

Hallel On Purim?
“Its Reading Is Its Praise”
(Megillah 14a)

If the only person available to perform the milah on the eighth day is a person who is not an observant Jew, the milah should be postponed until a devout mohel is available.

It is apparent from the Maharsha that he does not see galus as atoning for killing accidentally; otherwise, this Gemara would not bother him.

It was found to be a giant deer tick living in her head – with its claws in her scalp.

While daydreaming about finding the perfect job, I never expected to be rewarded in spades for my aforementioned experience.

We are all entrusted with the mission of protecting our fellow Jews

Today, we remain Hashem’s nachal.

Will Your brothers go to war, while you sit (in peace) here? (Bamidbar 32:6)

Perhaps, just perhaps, we can relate to this: whenever we feel distant from Hashem, that is the Churban.

Over the next 2 weeks covering portion Matot and Maasei, Rabbi Fohrman will bring order to confusion.

Our home is in the center of the Holy Land, surrounded by (what else?) green hills and valleys.

More Articles from Rabbi Avi Weiss
Rabbi Avi Weiss

When taking any major step in life it is a good idea to carefully re-evaluate one’s past.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Important message for Jews in the Diaspora: In times of need run to Israel rather than from Israel.

With a loud and strong voice we must say “no” to individuals who take the law into their own hands.

An opinion recorded in the Talmud states that prayers correspond to the daily sacrifices offered in the Temple that are mentioned in this week’s portion (Berachot 26b, Numbers 28:4). It’s been argued that this opinion may be the conceptual base for our standardized prayer. Since sacrifices had detailed structure, our prayers also have a set text. […]

Hate and Love; Opposite sides of the coin of motivation.

Leaders must be careful to subdue their ego. The cause is larger than the personal concerns of one person.

The story of the spies, in this week’s Torah portion, is viewed as an episode revealing the Jews’ basic lack of faith in God.

Ultimately the Torah is a book that reflects a system of ethics that comes from God.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: