Vol 36.21 - Terumah 1                     Spanish French Audio  Video

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The innovation in the explanation of the Tzemach Tzadek (Or HaTorah Terumah pg. 1442) that the concept of "the holiness does not change (move) forever" regarding the Temple (Vayikra Rab.2:2) - is because it states: "for the small Temple . .these are the synogogues" (Tal. Megillah 29a) -

compared to the explanation of Rambam (Sefer HaMitzvot pos. 176). and other explanations on this statement.

The viewpoint of Zohar (2:59b,3:26a) that the positive commandment of "and make for Me a sanctuary" also includes building synogogues;

The concept of "and I will dwell in their midst . . in each one of Yisroel" in Halacha

(5752 Vol. XXXVI, 36, pp. 123-125 )

Tal. Megillah 29a:
"Yet have I been to them as a little sanctuary" (Ezek. 11:16) R. Isaac said: This refers to the synagogue and houses of learning in Babylon. R. Eleazar says: This refers to the house of our teacher in Babylon." (Rab. [[The reference is to the venerable old Synagogue founded by Rab in Sura of which there is frequent mention in the Geonic Responsa; v. Krauss, Synagogale, Altertumer, p. 221 and Ginzberg, Geonica, p. 41]].  


Eternal Sanctuary

"Wherever the verse states 'li' ('for Me')," says the Sifri, "it endures forever and ever ... regarding the Mikdash (Sanctuary) the verse states, 'Make for Me -- 'li' -- a Mikdash' thus implying that the Mikdash is eternal." The Midrash similarly states:  "Wherever the verse states 'li' it is immutable, both in this world and in the World to Come ... regarding the Mikdash the verse states, 'Make for Me a Mikdash."

The Tzemach Tzedek explains the immutability of the Mikdash in the following manner: "The verse states, 'I shall be for you a minor Mikdash.' Our Sages explain that this refers to Battei K'nesiyos (Houses of Prayer). Thus, it -- Mikdash -- remains immutable in this world as well."

There are quite a number of commentaries regarding the above statements of the Sifri and Midrash.

Among them:

a) "With regard to the Mikdash and Mizbeiach (Altar) ... they endure forever in the place where they were concealed...." b) Although the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed, the sanctity of the site remains.

As the Rambam writes: "The sanctity of the Mikdash ... results from the indwelling of the Divine Presence, and the Divine Presence is immutable. Thus the verse states, 'I shall ravage your Sanctuaries,' and our Sages comment, 'Though they are desolate, they retain their sanctity.'"

While, according to both explanations the Mikdash itself endures, according to the Tzemach Tzedek's explanation it only endures through Battei K'nesiyos, which are merely similar to and are minor versions of the Mikdash. Why, then, does the Tzemach Tzedek choose to provide another explanation, when seemingly more satisfactory explanations are already available?

We may say that the Tzemach Tzedek was not satisfied with the first explanation since it only corresponds to the comment of the Sifri, that the Mikdash endures. It does not, however, conform to the Midrashic statement that the Mikdash is immutable, i.e., it didn't move from its place. For according to this commentary the Mikdash did indeed move -- its place of concealment differs from its original location.

Why, however, wasn't the Tzemach Tzedek comfortable with the second explanation, that the immutability of the Mikdash lies in the fact that the site of the Mikdash retained its sanctity, since "the Divine Presence is immutable." In this instance we are speaking of the actual physical site of the Mikdash, a site whose holiness endures.

In explaining the words of the Sifri that "Wherever the verse states 'li' it endures forever and ever," the Rambam comments: "This means to say that it is an eternal commandment and not simply a short-lived one; indeed, it is appropriate and mandatory upon all generations." Thus, "endures forever," does not simply mean that (only) the Mikdash itself endures, rather, the individual's responsibility and commandment to build the Mikdash also is eternal.

This is why the Tzemach Tzedek was not content with the second explanation as well: the second explanation only relates to the eternal sanctity of the site of the Mikdash, but not to the personal eternal obligation of constructing a Mikdash.

Since according to the Rambam the obligation of "Make for Me a Mikdash" is constant, we must perforce say that now as well there is an obligation to occupy ourselves in the construction of the Mikdash. But how can that be, when we are presently not permitted to erect the Mikdash?

We accomplish this through studying the laws in the Torah pertaining to the Beis HaMikdash, as well as the laws pertaining to its manner of construction and appearance, etc. For inasmuch as we are presently unable to physically construct the Beis HaMikdash, we at least retain the aspect of occupying ourselves in its construction through studying the laws of the Mikdash.

Truly, this is the intent of the Midrashic statement that when Jews occupy themselves in the study of the features of the Beis HaMikdash, G-d regards it as if they were involved in its actual construction.

According to the above, we can understand the Sifri quite simply: The obligation "Make for Me a Mikdash" is constant, since nowadays as well we fulfill this commandment through studying the multi-faceted laws of the Beis HaMikdash.

The Tzemach Tzedek, however, chose not to cite this explanation, since he makes reference to the Midrash which states, "Wherever the verse states 'li' it is immutable," i.e., according to the Midrash there is absolutely no difference between the past and present state of accomplishing "Make for Me a Mikdash":

It is self-understood that studying the laws of the Mikdash does in fact engender a change in the manner of performing the commandment: previously it was accomplished through erecting a physical edifice; presently it is fulfilled through the study of these laws.

From http://www.sichos-in-english.org/books/chassidic-dimension-5/19.htm  (c.f. link for footnotes)



(Par 1 -6 summarized in the synopsis)

7. There is another explanation that the verse, ”make Me a Sanctuary” endures forever, according to the statement of the Sages:

“It does not state ‘I will dwell in it’" (in the Sanctuary), but ‘in them’- in each man and woman of Yisroel”

– meaning that each man and woman of Yisroel becomes a Temple and Sanctuary to G-d.

One could say that this aspect also has a foundation in Halacha. For the obligation of “make Me a sanctuary” which “endures forever and ever” can only endure through each person of Yisroel in all places and in all times - through establishing one’s individual home as a place of Torah and prayer etc.

Although with regard to a Beit haKnesset, Rambam writes:

“Wherever ten Jews live, it is necessary to establish a place for them to congregate for prayer at the time of each prayer service”.

This obligation is not a personal obligation, but rather specifically in a place where there are ten Jewish people.

However, this is just with regard to the obligation. Namely, that the obligation of the community (Tzibbur) to build a Beit haKnesset is just when there are ten Jewish people, and this obligation may be compelled on the community, as Rambam continues:

“The inhabitants of a city can compel each other to construct a synagogue”

However, each man and woman that establishes a specific room or area in his house for Avodat HaShem, has the status of “fulfilling” (קיום) the aspect of “make Me a sanctuary”.

It is understood, that just as in a Beit haKnesset, the manner of establishing it is through the deed of building,

(And there are many laws involved in its construction, such as:

“When a Beit haKnesset is built, it should be built only at the highest point of the city (as implied by Proverbs 1:21): "She cries at the head of the public places." It should be built (so that) its height exceeds (that of) all the other buildings in the city (as implied by Ezra 9:9): "to lift up the house of our G-d."

The entrance to the synagogue should open only on the east (as implied by Numbers 3:38): "...And those who camped before the sanctuary on the east.")

And in the building itself there are many details,

(Such as “A Heichal/ structure, where the Torah scroll is placed, should be constructed. . . A Bimah/platform is placed in the center of the hall, etc.”)

The same applies to the private house of each Jewish person. The preparation and establishing of a place of Avodah is not just the decision to set aside a place where one prays,

(The aspects of blessings and prayer that one performs for himself, and are not communal prayer/ תפלת ציבור)

and studies Torah, and so forth.

Rather, it is primarily through building and making - a bookcase for Torah books, and a table where one studies and prays, and so forth.

8.  One can additionally say regarding this:

We find in the Mishkan and the Mikdash, that it possessed all the three pillars upon which the world stands, Torah, Avodah and Gemilut Chassadim:

Torah: In addition to the Luchot and the Ark in the Mishkan and the Mikdash, as it states, “They shall make an Ark. .” And you shall place into the Ark the testimony etc.”, the name “Har HaMoriah” (Mount Moriah) is based on “the mountain from which instruction (hora’ah) went out to the Jewish people” – from the Sanhedrin that would convene in the Lishkat HaGazit (The Hall of Hewn Stones in the Temple)

The same applies to Avodah:  in addition to the Avodat HaKorbanot that that was in the Mikdash, it was also called “for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples“ and “this is the gate of Heaven”.

The same aspect was with Gemilut Chassadim: In addition to the Mikdash bestowing kindness for all Yisroel (and to the entire world) through the Shulchan/Table in the Beit HaMikdash

(As is alluded to in the Talmud, “one who wishes to become wealthy should face north. And your mnemonic for this is that in the Temple, the Table, which symbolized blessing and abundance, was in the north”)

there was also  in the Beit HaMikdash, the aspect of actual Tzedaka  and Gemilut Chassadim – the Lishkat Chasha’im – The chamber of secrets) where “Those who feared sin would deposit within (the chamber of secret donations) in secret, and poor people of good background would be supported from there in secret.”

The same must be in “Me a sanctuary” in each individual home, in each place. There must be the fulfillment of all the aforementioned three pillars:

Setting a place (an “Ark”) for Torah and prayer, and Gemilut Chassadim through having a Tzedaka Pushka  for Torah institutions, synagogues for prayer, and for charitable institutions (מוסדות צדקה וחסד), and through actual Hachnasat Orchim (providing hospitality for those who require food or sleeping quarters).

9. One could add that just as the actual building of the Beit HaMikdash, even though it is among the Mitzvot that are incumbent on the community (Tzibbur), nevertheless Rambam writes that

“Everyone is obligated to build and to assist both personally and financially ;(both) men and women, as in the (construction of the) Sanctuary in the desert.”

Moreover, it states in Avot d’Rebbe Natan that even the children (הטפלין) brought donations for the Mishkan.

The same applies to “make Me a sanctuary”, in the private home of each person, which is a thing that is related to men, women and children, as is explained at length, in another place (Likkutei Sichos Vol. 26 pg. 414ff)

Through our deeds and Avodah  in the time of Galut, in fulfilling the making of a minor sanctuary (מקדש מעט) in general, through building Synagogues (בתי כנסיות) and houses of study (בתי מדרשות), also including that each one fulfills this in his individual home, this brings and hastens the building of the Third Beit HaMikdash, which is,

‘Built and elaborate and will be revealed and come from Heaven” (בנוי ומשוכלל הוא יגלה ויבא משמים)

For then “make Me a sanctuary” will be revealed with the epitome of completeness. For it will be an everlasting edifice that will not change forever, as it states, "The sanctuary, O L-rd, which Your hands founded", “The L-rd will reign to all eternity”, that does not change forever etc. (not now) and not in the Future world, with the third Beit HaMikdash, immediately, now, mamosh.

MSichas Shabbat Parshat Terumah 5747

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