Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz in Sichos Mussar (5733 Parshat Yitro) offers a very deep psychological insight regarding the Torah’s discussion of the Sanhedrin’s responsibilities, immediately after describing the mizbayach. The mizbayach was accessed by a ramp as opposed to steps. This required the Kohanim to ascend in a more deliberate and modest manner since a person cannot leap up a ramp in the way he can leap up steps. By discussing the laws which are the purview of the Sanhedrin right after the description of the mizbayach’s ramp, the Torah is instructing the judges of the Sanhedrin on the importance of and the necessity to be deliberate in judgment.
From all of these explanations we see clearly that location matters. The Sanhedrin’s presence in the Beit Hamikdash was not random, but rather designed for a series of purposes. By being situated on the Temple grounds the Sanhedrin was not only better able to execute its responsibilities, but able to be constantly reminded and inspired of the awesome responsibility its members had to Bnei Yisrael and G-d.
Leaders should heed this lesson. When setting up offices, headquarters or conference rooms it is well advised to choose a location that will enable the leaders to perform their jobs better and to be constantly reminded of whom they serve and why they serve. Among the reasons why the Pentagon, home of the United States military leadership, was built in its location is its proximity to Arlington National Cemetery. This way, the military leadership is constantly reminded of the high price of their decisions.
Rabbi Dr. David Hertzberg is the principal of the Yeshivah of Flatbush Middle Division. Comments can be emailed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.