Vol 18.45 - Masei-Bein HaMetzarim      Spanish French Audio  Video

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(5737) One who studies the laws of the Temple is as if he occupied himself with its construction (Tanchuma 96:14)  


1. Parshat Masei is the Parsha of the week in which the connection between the Parsha and the time of the year, in which we read it in the Torah, is recognizable, visible and obvious. It is always read in proximity to Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av (either on Rosh Chodesh itself, the day after Rosh Chodesh, or on the Shabbat Mevarchim of Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av). In the Parsha, it tells and innovates that the death of Aharon was – “in the fifth month, on the first day of the month”. The death of Aharon, at length, is told previously in Parsha Chukat. However, the time of his death (and the years that he lived) – is told specifically in our Parsha.

The connection is not just in the proximity to the time of Aharon‘s death, as aforementioned, but also in the subject matter of the aspects. In the month of Menachem Av there occurred the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash, the burning of the House of our G-d. And the Sages state that the “death of the Tzaddikim is equal to the burning of the House of our G-d” and they also state that “the departing of the Tzaddikim, is difficult to G-d, more than . . the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash”.

Just as with the passing of the Tzaddikim, one finds that one’s conduct is in two extremes:

  • On one side, there must be, at that time, the conduct of “crying and mourning” for his passing.
  • Yet on the other side, it is the time to learn from “all of his actions, his Torah, and the divine service in which he engaged all the days of his life”, in order to continue and follow in his ways that he taught. For then the saying of the Sages that if “his descendants are alive” then “he also is alive” is applicable. And as the wording of the Mishnah, in our case that “one should be like the students of Aharon”.

Similarly, this applies to the time of the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash:

  • On one side, the obligation according to Torah is to “mourn over Yerushalayim”.
  • Yet on the other side, specifically the Bein HaMetzarim, is a time where it requires (פארלאנגט) a special strength, not to fall into hopelessness over Galut, G-d forbid, knowing that, like the conclusion and end of the Haftarah of Parshat Masei that “Will you not from this time call me, "My Father, You the Master of my youth”, and even better - to encourage (מעודד) oneself and Yidden, in general, in the redoubled darkness of the heels of Moshiach (ikvot Moshiach) and especially in the Bein HaMetzarim – through the strengthening of “I await his arrival with every day” and studying and occupying oneself in the “form of the House and its scheme, its exits and its entrances, and all its forms, and all its laws and all its teachings”.

For then, it will be as the Sages state that:

“G-d said (to Yechezkel), its reading in the Torah is as great as its building. Go and say to them and they should occupy themselves to read the form of the House, in the Torah, and for the reward of their reading it, that they are occupying themselves to read it, I consider it for them as if they are dealing with the building of the House”.

And just as this concerns the Beit HaMikdash – similarly it is connected to the death of the Tzaddikim:

For, through that which one follows in his ways etc., it is as aforementioned that “even he is alive” – meaning that the true life of a Tzaddik

which, as it states: “the life of a Tzaddik is not a fleshly life but a spiritual life, consisting of faith, awe, and love“

are drawn down and become “alive and everlasting” in his “descendants” – his students and the students of his students.

With this there comes a special emphasis in the connection between the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash (in the month of Av) and the death of Aharon (on Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av):

The reason for the destruction of the (second) Beit HaMikdash was because of the sin of baseless hatred (Sinat Chinam). Therefore the rectification of this is the aspect: “Be among the disciples (who are called his children – his descendants (zar’o)) of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving people and bringing them close to Torah” - baseless love.

2. Seemingly one could ask:

By the passing of the Tzaddikim the wording is “as his seed is alive even he is alive” (“af hu” and not “it is as if (“k’ilu”) he is alive) – for through that which “his seed” follow in “his ways” etc. it effects that “he is alive”. This is because the life of a Tzaddik is not “is not a fleshly life but a spiritual life“. Therefore “he is alive

(His true life – meaning his “spiritual life” which are really drawn down (even) later).

However, regarding the dealing with the Temple structure (“tzurat haBayit”), it is related to the physical Beit HaMikdash

(to offer physical Korbanot there – not like when the Beit HaMikdash was destroyed that ‘prayers were enacted in the place of the Korbanot’) –

Yet the aforementioned speaking (dibur) and learning (of the Beit HaMikdash) where “I consider it for them as if (“k’ilu”) they are dealing with the building of the House” - is seemingly like the speech of the prayers?

However it is not so:

When the Torah of truth (Torat Emet) compares two things,

(Like in our case, that through the study of the Temple structure etc. it is “I consider it for them as if they are dealing with the building of the House”),

It is because that truthfully, they are one thing.

But, since the physical outcome of actually occupying (oneself with the Beit HaMikdash) comes down later, it is stated with the wording “as if” (“k’ilu”).

However even before this comes down into actuality (like in our case – before one may and can build the Beit HaMikdash, down here, physically) - it is not in a manner that:

  • The study of the Temple structure etc. is just a remembrance (and so forth) to the building of the Beit HaMikdash,
  • Or (and also) that G-d gives the same reward that he gives for the construction of the Beit HaMikdash –

but rather that through the occupation of studying – one is dealing with the construction of the Temple.

3. The explanation in this is understood from that which the Sages state regarding the Korbanot, that

“Whoever occupies himself with the laws of the Chatas (Sin-offering) is as if he offered a Sin-offering, and whoever occupies himself with the laws of the Asham (Guilt-offering) is as if he offered a Guilt-offering” ,

and so forth,

For the expression “as if he offered” regarding the Korbanot is not just as a reward, or that through the study, G-d gives atonement for the sins (which accomplishes the same aspect) just like the Korban itself. But rather (according to many opinions, at least) that it is a boundary (גדר) of the offering of the Korban (הקרבת הקרבן). So much so that it states in Halacha regarding “Parshat HaKorbanot” – that “it should only be recited during the day because we do not offer a Korban at night “. And this is similar to many laws and Halachot in the laws of the Korbanot, which must resemble its offering.

Similarly (and more than this) is the dealing with the Temple structure etc.

(which is compared there, in the Midrash, to dealing with the Halachot of the Korbanot)

which is understood from the words of the Midrash.

For on the claim of Yechezkel that:

“Until now, we are given into exile, in the land of our enemies, and You say to me to go and proclaim to Yisroel the Temple structure etc.? Are they, indeed, able to make it? Leave them be until they are risen up from exile etc.”

G-d answered him:

“and (just) because My sons are given into exile, should the building of My House, be nullified?”

and that they should therefore occupy themselves with the studying of the “Temple structure etc.” (“tzurat haBayit”).

This means that through the study - the “building of My House” is not nullified.

And one could say that the explanation of this is:

The Mitzvah of “And you shall make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst” is a Positive Biblical Mitzvah for generations. It is an obligation that is incumbent upon Yidden to build a Beit HaMikdash. Therefore, when the Yidden cannot actually, and in deed, build the Beit HaMikdash, because of causes that are not dependent upon them, nevertheless, an obligation and Mitzvah still rests upon them to deal with “its reading”, for though this it is “as if they are building it”.

This means that it is not just that, since we cannot actually build the Beit HaMikdash that we, therefore, at least study the form etc. as a remembrance and spiritual connection to the building of the Mikdash. But rather that in the occupation of studying it – one fulfills a boundary of the Mitzvah of the building of the Beit HaMikdash.

4. And if you want - Rambam alludes to this in Hilchot Beit HaBechirah, in the beginning of Seder Avodah, where he cites the verse “seek out the welfare of Jerusalem may those who love you enjoy tranquility”:

The reason that he prefaces Hilchot Beit HaBechirah with that verse is to allude and reveal that there is an obligation and command of “seek out the welfare“ (in speech etc.) which means studying the laws of the Temple (Beit HaBechirah), and sefer Avodah.

If the Rambam meant to say, that one must study the laws (just) as a “remembrance for the Mikdash”, he should have cited the verse which the Talmud learns it from – as the Talmud states:

“From where do we know that we do things in remembrance of the Temple? — Because the Scripture says etc. ‘she is Zion, there is none that inquireth after her’ From this we gather that she ought to be inquired after.”

However, by citing the verse “seek out the welfare of Jerusalem“, Ramban is emphasizing that there is a separate obligation of studying and occupying oneself with the particulars and the minute details (in a manner of “seek out“ in “peace’) of the laws of the Hilchot Beit HaBechirah – not just as a “remembrance of the Mikdash” in the past and in order to know how to build it in the future. But rather that there is an obligation and command in the building of the Beit HaMikdash, in the present, in this time.

However, from the verse (and wording) “she is Zion, there is none that inquireth after her“, one only learns that there is an obligation of “asking” (derisha), similar to a remembrance.

According to this, it comes out that, that the reason that one studies Hilchot Beit HaBechirah is not just in order to know how to build it in the future, but that is also concerns the obligation to build it now, through studying the Halachot, through “seek out the welfare of Jerusalem“.

5. One finds, an example to the aforementioned aspect in actual Halacha – in the Mitzvot of Teshuva and conversion:

The completeness of Teshuva and atonement for an (inadvertent/Shogeig) sin is through words of confession (vidui devarim) with a Korban. Nevertheless one sees, that during Galut, when it is not possible to offer a Korban, that Teshuva (and words of confession, alone) accomplish the completeness of the atonement. One fulfills with it the completeness the Mitzvah of Teshuva.

And as is known, the difference in actual Halacha between “do not place your hand with a wicked person to be a false witness” (Note: In the Tur, regarding the forms of Teshuva for various offenses).

And moreover, with regard to our case – the aspect of conversion:

Even though, in order to enter into the covenant - to become a convert - “one must undergo circumcision, immersion, and the offering of a sacrifice“, nevertheless “In the present age, when there are no sacrifices, (a convert) must undergo circumcision and immersion” and with this the conversion is complete. And although “When the Temple is rebuilt, he must bring a sacrifice”, this, however, does not affect the finishing and completion and of his conversion, in our time.

6. According to the aforementioned (Par. 3) one could explain that which Rambam states in Pirush HaMishnayot in the preface regarding the tractate Middot:

“It does not have any other aspect than the recounting which is the remembrance of the dimensions of the (second) Mikdash, and its form and construction. And its entire aspect and the benefit that is in that building, is that when it will be built, speedily in our days, we will keep and make those designs. And the designs and the forms and the comparison since they were revealed by Divine Inspiration as it states: ‘All was in writing, from the hand of the L-rd, which He gave me to understand’”.

The Tosafot Yom tov clarifies that even though the building of the Future Beit HaMikdash is not similar to the building of the second Temple, as Rambam himself states in Hilchot Beit HaBechirah that:

“The design of Future Temple to be built, even though it is written of in (the Book of) Yechezkel, is not explicit or explained. Thus, the people of the Second Temple, when they built it in the time of Ezra, built it like the structure of Shlomo, and approximated aspects which are explicitly stated in Yechezkel”.

Therefore – what, at the end, is the purpose of that which one knows the measures (Middot) of the second Beit HaMikdash?

The Tosafot Yom Tov explains that nevertheless, the studying of tractate Middot has a benefit for the Future Temple, because of the particulars where the Future Temple is similar to those of the Second Temple and the First Temple. And indeed, in the building of the Future Temple, there will be differences to that of the Second Temple, since:

“G-d will reveal it to our eyes . . and to understand the hidden in the words of Yechezkel and we will comprehend it. But nevertheless one requires the recounting of the Second Temple for most of, and the primary aspects of the building are based on G-d’s design that he revealed to David, and it will not change. “

And this is the intent of Rambam in his proof from the verse (that David said to Shlomo) that “All was in writing, from the hand of the L-rd, which He gave me to understand”.

It is however not completely straightforward:

Since there will be in the Future Temple many changes, and that one must rely on: “G-d will reveal it to our eyes . . and to understand the hidden in the words of Yechezkel“ – what is the necessity of to “remember the dimensions of the Mikdash, and its form and construction. And all its aspects“ - of tractate Middot?

According to the aforementioned it is understood:

Since the Positive Mitzvah of ‘Make for Me a Mikdash’ is constant, one could say that there is always a Mitzvah of dealing in the building of the Mikdash. This means that the Mitzvah resides not just in the actual studying and knowledge of the laws of the Temple, but also in doing all that is dependent upon the Jewish people that it be prepared, and that one be able to build it immediately, so much so that this accomplishes that “the building of My House is not nullified”, as aforementioned.

And although in the future, one must actually rely on “G-d will reveal it to our eyes . . and to understand the hidden in the words of Yechezkel” or that which in many opinions: “When it will be built Moshe and Aharon will be with us” and they will reveal how it should be – this is not a deficiency in the Mitzvah of occupying oneself with the study which is in the realm of building the Beit HaMikdash, but it is a virtue, which will arise in the Future.

7. Just as this concerns the studying and dealing and knowledge of the Temple structure etc. similarly one could say that this also concerns the building of the Temple, literally.

It is known that in the manner of how the Future Beit HaMikdash will be built that there are two opinions:

1. “it will be revealed” and come from Heaven as it states: “the sanctuary, O L-rd, (which) Your hands founded”.

2. The building will be by the hands of man - Moshiach will build the Beit HaMikdash.

One can say that one of the ways that one can reconcile the two opinions is:

· The portion and category of the building which is explained and understood from the “recounting” (sippur) in tractate Middot,

(And in the words of the Rambam “and approximate to the aspects which are explicitly stated in Yechezkel”)

are built “through man”.

· And the details which are in the category of “are not explained and clear” will be revealed from Heaven by G-d.

(Or in another manner:

The building of the Temple below will be through the hands of man – through Moshiach

(To whom - that which “is not explained and clear” - will be revealed)

and in the Mikdash below, will be “enclothed” the Supernal Mikdash.

This is analogous and similar to supernal fire that has enclothed itself in the physical fire – for (although the fire comes down from Heaven) it is a Mitzvah to bring to bring ordinary fire too”.This will imbue the eternality in the Future building).

With this, the reason for the change and difference between the two aforementioned views is explained:

· The view of Rambam is that Moshiach will build the Mikdash, and that which the Zohar and the Midrashim etc. say that it will be built through the hands of Heaven (is because):

Rambam, is a sefer of Halachot, and according to Halacha, the building of the Mikdash is an obligatory Mitzvah on Yidden. Therefore he emphasizes the part of the building of the Mikdash which will be built through Yidden (and through this, they will fulfill the Mitzvah completely).

However, the aspects of the Future Mikdash which will be revealed through the hands of Heavendo not belong (געהערן) to the obligation and Mitzvah of building the Beit HaMikdash, which falls on the Yidden.

· However in the Midrash and Zohar (Pnimiyut HaTorah), it speaks of the completeness and epitome of the intent of the Future Mikdash. This will be accomplished through the virtue (ilui) of the Beit HaMikdash which will be accomplished from Above, “the building of G-d“– Therefore they stress the building which will be done through the hands of Heaven.

According to this, the aspect of how it will be in the Future, is understood:

That which, a part of the Mikdash will be revealed through Heaven, is not because of a deficiency, G-d forbid, in the building through man, through Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

For with the act of building, one fulfills the Mitzvah of the building of the Beit HaMikdash with completeness, and after this, will come that which will be revealed and come from Heaven.

8. According to this, it fits nicely (sweet) that which the current occupation of studying and reading the form of the House is:

  • “I consider it for them as if they are dealing with the building of the House”.
  • Or like the second expression “Since, you are dealing with it, it is as if they are building it” House”.

(and in both perspectives):

Since according to all opinions, the epitome of the completeness of the Beit HaMikdash is attained through that which “it will be revealed and come from Heaven” –

and specifically that part which

(will not actually be built through man)

causes the eternality in the Beit HaMikdash, as the verse states: “If the L-rd will not build a House, its builders have toiled at it in vain”, that

(For the First and Second Temples are the “Buildings of man, that do not have any endurance at all“, however)

the third Temple, since it is “the building of G-d“ will exist forever –

It must therefore come out, that the fulfillment of the Mitzvah of the building of the Beit HaMikdash, in today’s time, through dealing with the laws and the form of the Mikdash must also be a glimmer of, and similar to the actual building through Bnei Yisroel in the Future – the obligation and Mitzvah of the studying and dealing in the measurements and forms etc., which people know, in the part of the building which will be accomplished through man.

On the other hand, just as the completeness of the Future Mikdash, will be attained specifically through that which it will be revealed and come from Heaven, as aforementioned - similarly – it is also in the Mitzvah of studying and dealing in each part and portion of the deed of the building, that also in that area, one must rely on the “I consider it for them “. For specifically through this, it accomplishes the completeness (of now) in the Mitzvah of the building, through the dealing in the laws of the Temple.

9. From all of the aforementioned, there is a specific lesson for each Yid:

Firstly, however it is possible, and especially in the days of Bein HaMetzarim, (one must) occupy oneself with the laws and the form of the Temple, its entrances and exits etc. For through this one fulfills, in the time of Galut, the Mitzvah of building of the Beit HaMikdash. Therefore this itself weakens the aspect of the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash (and Galut, in general), and weakens the days of the Bein HaMetzarim etc.

And this itself effects - that from the “as if you are building it” will come the actual building of the Beit HaMikdash, literally and physically, through Moshiach Tzidkeinu, and in this it will be immediately revealed, the Supernal Beit HaMikdash, and speedily and in out days, mamosh.

Msichas Motzai Shabbat Parshat Matot-Masei 5739

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