Vol 36.32 - Vayakhel-Pekudei Spanish French Audio Video
(5751) Debate between Ramban (Beginning of Parshat Vayakhel) and Rambam (Beginning of Hilchot Beit Habechira 1:1) if the main intent of the Mishkan was that the "Resting of the Shechinah among them" or because of the Avodah of the sacrifices;
The connection of their debate to the aspect of whether the resting of the Shechina in the Mishkan was Passing through (Derech Maavar) or enclothed (Derech Hislabshut);
Explanation of Zohar (3:73a) concerning the two connections between Yisroel and G-d - revealed and hidden
1. The Ramban writes in his commentary on Torah (beginning of Parshat Terumah) that:
“The main desire of the Mishkan was to contain a place in which the Shechinah (Divine glory) rests - which is the Ark, as it states ‘I will set My meetings with you there, and I will speak with you from above the cover’. Therefore He prefaced the Ark and the Ark-cover here (in Parshat Terumah) for they are in order of importance, Moshe however, prefaced in Parshat Vayakhel, the making of the Mishkan and its tent and its covering and Betzalel also made them (in that order - first the Mishkan and then the Ark) because it is proper to make them in this order”.
One could seemingly say in the explanation of his words that:
According to Ramban’s view, G-d’s command to Moshe for making the Mishkan (in Parshat Terumah) was before the Sin of the Calf – and Moshe’s command to Yisroel (in Parshat Vayakhel) was after the Sin and the forgiveness on the day following Yom Kippur.
And since this was so, one could explain that regarding G-d’s command to Moshe, He prefaced the Ark and Ark-cover since before the Sin of the Calf, the primary intent in the building of the Mishkan, was for the resting of the Shechinah – which is the Ark and Ark-cover. However, afterwards when they sinned with the Calf, the purpose of the Mishkan was for forgiveness for the Sin of the Calf, and this was primarily through the Avodah in the Mishkan, the offering of Korbanot. And one could say that this is why in Parshat Vayakhel, Moshe did not preface the Ark and Ark-cover, to show that from now on, the main desire for the Mishkan was not the resting of the Shechinah, but rather for the forgiveness for sins etc.
And in order to negate this premise, he explains that the reason for the change – namely that “Moshe prefaced, in Parshat Vayakhel, the making of the Mishkan etc. and Betzalel made them (in that order)” is because “it is proper to make them in this order”. From this it is understood, that even after the Sin of the Calf, the main purpose of the Mishkan remained the “the place for the resting of the Shechinah, which is the Ark”.
And this is also understood from the words of the Ramban in the beginning of our Parsha (Parshat Vayakhel), that regarding this command:
“it is possible that this occurred on the day following his descent (from the mountain) where he said to them the subject of the Mishkan that he had been previously commanded, before the breaking of the Second Luchot etc., since G-d was reconciled with them and gave them the Second Luchot . . they returned to their previous status and to the love of their wedding, and it was known that His Shechinah would dwell in their midst just as He had first commanded, as it states ‘make for Me a Mishkan and I will dwell among them’. Therefore Moshe commanded them now, according to all that he had been commanded at the beginning”.
However according to the view of Rambam, the main intent of the Mishkan and its primary Mitzvah was as he writes in the beginning of Hilchot Beit Habechirah that:
“It is a positive commandment to construct a House for G-d prepared for sacrifices to be offered within and to celebrate there three times a year, as it states: ‘And you shall make Me a sanctuary’".
2. In the continuation of Ramban‘s words in the beginning of Parshat Terumah, Ramban explains the aspect of the resting of the Shechinah in the Mishkan:
“The secret (וסוד) of the Mishkan is that the Glory, which rested on Mount Sinai should rest there in a concealed manner (בנסתר), as it states there: ‘The glory of G-d rested on Mount Sinai’ and also ‘Behold, G-d has shown us His glory and His greatness’ and it is also written regarding the Mishkan: ‘and the glory of G-d filled the Mishkan’. This verse: ‘and the glory of G-d filled the Mishkan’ is mentioned twice to correspond to His glory and His greatness”.
And at the end of our Parshat (Pekudei) he writes:
“’And the glory of G-d filled the Mishkan’: This means that it was filled completely with the Glory, for the Glory rested within the cloud inside the Mishkan, just as it is said with reference to Mount Sinai: ‘unto the thick dArkness where G-d was’”.
It is mentioned in Sefarim (Or HaTorah etc.) that the intent of this is to explain the nature of the resting of the Shechinah in the Mishkan and also the Beit HaMikdash (as he cites there, also many verses regarding the Beit HaMikdash) –
For there are two views:
According to Rambam, one cannot say that the resting of the Shechinah was in the place of the Mikdash itself, for G-d is not bound in the realm of ‘place’. But rather the place of the Mikdash was prepared (מוכשר) to be a conduit through which the revelation of G-d, could pass.
(Similar to that which prophecy cannot take place except in Eretz Yisroel. For prophecy is an understanding at the level of ‘seeing’ spirituality which is not something which is seen in the boundary of ‘place’. Nevertheless this ‘seeing’ can only be revealed to the prophet in Eretz Yisroel).
This is similar to writing down thoughts with the fingers of one’s hand. The thought does not reside and illuminate in the hand – for the fingers of the hand do not have any relation to the thought. But rather, the hand is just an intermediary through which the thought can pass through and be conveyed. However, even though it is possible to convey the thought only through the fingers and not through the toes of one’s foot – for only the hand is prepared for this, nevertheless, the hand itself does not think the thought.
The opinion of Ramban is that the resting of the Shechinah in the Beit HaMikdash was in a manner of Hislabshut (enclothing -התלבשות) – that the revelation was in the place of the Mikdash itself. This is similar to the resting of the thought in the brain, where the thought is enclothed in the brain and the brain thinks the thought.
In other words,
· According to the view of Rambam, the resting of the Shechinah in the Beit HaMikdash was in a manner of ‘passing’ (מעבר) and has no relation to the ‘place’ of the Mikdash itself.
· Whereas according to Ramban –it was in a manner of ‘enclothement’ (התלבשות) in the place of the Mikdash.
3. Since Ramban explains that the resting of the Shechinah (G-d‘s glory) was in a manner of Hislabshut, in conjunction with his words – that the main desire of the Mishkan, was that it was the place of the resting of the Shechinah which was the Ark, it is reasonable, that his view regarding the purpose of the Mishkan and his view regarding the manner of the resting of the Shechinah are dependent upon each other.
It is also reasonable to say that the same applies to Rambam, who disagrees with him in these two aspects – that, his opinion in these two aspects are founded in that view.
One can explain the connection of the aspects, with simplicity:
The Ramban writes that the “The main purpose of the Mishkan was to contain a place in which the divine glory rests, (which is the Ark)” because he holds that the resting of the Shechinah in the Mikdash was not in the manner of Maavar but rather in a manner of Hislabshut in the place of the Mikdash itself. Therefore, it is possible to say that the main desire is the place of the resting of the Shechinah, for this is relevant to the essential place of the Mikdash.
However, Rambam who writes that the main Mitzvah of making the Mishkan is to offer Korbanot within it and to celebrate there three times a year, follows his opinion that the resting of the Shechinah in the Mikdash was just in a manner of Maavar, that does not rest in the place of the Mikdash itself - and just that the place of the Mikdash is prepared that through it there will be the revelation of the Shechinah for Yisroel who come there. And that through it G-d‘s Speech and prophesy passes to Moshe as it states: “I will set My meetings with you there, and I will speak with you from above the cover”.
However, this is not a sufficient explanation:
For even according to Ramban‘s view, the resting of the Shechinah in the Mikdash was not because of the place of the Mikdash itself, but rather because of Yisroel, as Ramban elaborates that after Matan Torah
“(Bnei) Yisroel accepted upon themselves to do all that He commanded them . . from now on they were His people . . a holy nation and they are holy, deserving that they should have a Mikdash for the resting of His Shechinah among them. Therefore He first commanded regarding the matter of the Mishkan – that He should have a house among them consecrated to His name, and there He would speak with Moshe and command Bnei Yisroel”. And he continues: “And the main desire of the Mishkan is the place of the resting of the Shechinah which is the Ark”).
Therefore, we find that even according to the view of Ramban, the main resting of the Shechinah in the Mikdash is just for the sake of Yisroel.
However, their dispute is that:
· According to Rambam the main aspect of the Mikdash was for the sake of the Avodah of Bnei Yisroel (the offering of the Korbanot etc.)
· Whereas according to the view of Ramban, the primary aspect as for the sake of the resting of the Shechinah in Yisroel.
It is explained in another place (Likkutei Sichot) regarding the dispute between Rambam and Ramban in the main purpose of the Mikdash, that one says one thing and the other says one thing but they are not in dispute (דמר אמר חדא ומר אמר חדא ולא פליגי) (but they are just giving different perspectives). For there are many places in Scripture that state: “Make for Me a Mishkan and I will dwell among them”.
However, Rambam in his book of Laws (and also in Sefer HaMitzvot) – where the purpose of Laws/Halacha is the command to the person – speaks there regarding the aspect of the Mitzvot that Yisroel was commanded to do in the Beit HaMikdash. Whereas Ramban speaks regarding the aspect and desire that is in the Mishkan itself, which is that “I will dwell” - the resting of the Shechinah which was in it from Above. And this was primarily through the Ark.
According to the aforementioned that the two arguments are dependent upon one another, it is reasonable to say that, even in the second argument - which is whether the resting of the Shechinah was in a manner of Maavar or in a manner of Hislabshut, that they are not arguing but rather just offering different perspectives (מר אמר חדא ומר אמר חדא ולא פליגי).
4. One could say the explanation of this is, by prefacing an explanation in Zohar:
The Zohar states that the connection of Yisroel and G-d is through the revealed level of Yisroel connecting with the revealed level of G-d; and the hidden level of Yisroel connecting with the hidden level of G-d (שבחי׳ גליא שבישראל מתקשרת בגליא דקב״ה וסתים דישראל מתקשרת בסתים דקוב״ה)
Similarly, this is regarding the “Make for Me a Mishkan and I will dwell among them” that has within it these two levels:
1. The aspect of “I will dwell among them” – in the revealed level of Yisroel which is the connection between the revealed level of Yisroel with the revealed level of G-d.
2. The aspect of “I will dwell among them” - the hidden level of G-d with the hidden level of Yisroel.
The difference between them is:
The revealed connection between the revealed level of Yisroel and revealed level of G-d is something that is accomplished through the deeds and Avodah of Yisroel – “And make for Me a Mikdash”, or in the words of Rambam :
“(to build a Sanctuary) to serve (G-d). In it we offer sacrifices, burn the eternal flame, offer our prayers, and to ascend and congregate there for the festivals and gathering each year, as G-d said, ‘Make a Sanctuary for Me’."
Whereas the hidden connection between the hidden level of G-d and the hidden level of Yisroel is accomplished through the Mishkan and the Mikdash itself. In other words, even if one does not come to the Mikdash to offer Korbanot and does not come for the festival – nevertheless, since, essentially, the Mishkan and Mikdash is among Bnei Yisroel, the aspect of “I will dwell among them” is achieved, within Bnei Yisroel.
One could say that these are the two aforementioned boundaries in the resting of the Shechinah in the Mishkan:
Rambam refers to the “Make a Sanctuary for Me” the way it is revealed, in other worlds the connection between Yisroel and G-d that comes through their Avodah, the offering of Korbanot and the pilgrimage for the festival. The resting of the Shechinah (“I will dwell among them”) that is entailed with this is in a revealed level that comes through the deeds and actions of Yisroel – and this is the connection between the revealed level of Yisroel and the revealed level of G-d.
Ramban however, who includes in his explanation “things that are pleasant to the listener and which give grace” (דברים נעימים לשומעים וליודעים חן), that explains the secrets of the Torah (סודות התורה - note: (“grace” meaning esoteric- חכמה נסתרה)” – refers to the “Make a Sanctuary for Me and I will dwell among them” in a hidden level (בבחי׳ סתים) – the connection between the hidden level of Yisroel with the hidden level of G-d. This connection is not accomplished through the deeds and actions of Yisroel, but rather (through) the essential setting up of the Mishkan and Mikdash within Bnei Yisroel.
And one could say that both of these details and connected with two different places in the Mishkan itself:
· The revealed connection applies to the revealed place of the Mikdash - the place of the Avodah – the Azarah and the Heichal.
· The hidden connection is applicable to the hidden place in the Mikdash, the Kodesh HaKadoshim (Holy of Holies), which is not a place of Avodah and is not entered there the entire year (except for the Kohen Gadol, solely on Yom Kippur). And in this itself – in the Ark, that did not have any Avodah associated with it, and its entire aspect was a place for the resting of the Shechinah.
5. According to the aforementioned one can explain an additional detail according to the view of Ramban, regarding the Second Temple that, seemingly, requires examination:
Since the Second Temple did not have the Ark. The main desire of the Mikdash - the place of the resting of the Shechinah which is the Ark – was lacking?
The Sages state that the explanation of the saying: “The glory of this last House is greater than the first” is that the Second Temple was greater than the First Temple, in its construction and its duration.
This is not understood:
Since the Second Temple was missing the five things, and at its head was the absence of the Ark, which was the “primary desire” of the Mikdash, how was it possible to compare the Second Temple to the First Temple, in the level of the Mikdash part of it, whose aspect is “I will dwell among them”
- and certainly, how much more so – to say that it was greater than it in its construction and duration,
for what comparison is there, between the Mikdash’s duration and construction – to the primary purpose of the Beit HaMikdash which is the “place in which the divine glory rests, which is the Ark”?
However, the main nature of the aspect of the “the resting place of the Shechinah, which is the Ark” is that it was concealed and hidden, which depicts the hidden connection between Yisroel and G-d – and not the revealed connection that is made through their Avodah in revealed matters. Therefore in the Second Temple, even though the Ark was missing, in a revealed manner in the Holy of Holies, nevertheless it was there in manner of hiddenness (geniza) in the Holy of Holies itself
(Similar to what is stated in the Talmud, according to one view, that “The Ark was hidden in its place” and as it states: “And they will be there until this day”. And as it also states in Rambam:
“When Solomon built the Temple, he was aware that it would ultimately be destroyed. (Therefore, he constructed a chamber, in which the Ark could be entombed below (the Temple building) in deep, maze-like vaults. King Josiah commanded that (the Ark) be entombed in the chamber built by Solomon”).
Therefore regarding the aspect of dwelling among them, the resting of the Shechinah which is connected to the hidden level of Yisroel – not only was it not missing in the Second Temple, but on the contrary it was there on a higher level. For this itself, namely that the Ark was in a manner of entombment (גניזה) in the Holy of Holies, depicts a loftier and more hidden level in resting of the Shechinah – and therefore it depicts a more hidden and inner connection between Yisroel and G-d.
This aspect is connected and dependent upon the level of Bnei Yisroel in the time of the Second Temple. For since, the condition of Yisroel, was, in a revealed manner, at a more lower level with regard to keeping Torah and Mitzvot, and in Avodat HaShem, in general – and even more so since all Yisroel were not on their Land – and the “all of you coming” (״ביאת כולכם״) was not fulfilled – therefore the connection between Yisroel and G-d needed to also be in a level and condition where Bnei Yisroel, outwardly, did not appear to have a relation to the holiness of the Mikdash – and so much so, for those who were in the Diaspora.
And this is the reason for the hiding of the Ark in the Holy of Holies. For then, the connection between Yisroel and G-d was in a more hidden level from the perspective of Yisroel, and therefore it is understood that this reached the more hidden level Above.
6. Accordingly, one can explain, on a deeper level, the connection between the view of Ramban concerning the primary desire for the Mikdash and his view in the manner of the resting of the Shechinah – and also the view of Rambam in this:
The difference between the effluence that is in the manner of Maavar to the effluence that is in a manner of Hislabshut is simply:
· The aspect of Hislabshut is that the thing which is the focus of the Hislabshut is changed according to the receptacle in which it is being enclothed
· Whereas the effluence that is in the manner of Maavar is loftier, for it is not contracted to fit the manner and boundary of the place, like the aforementioned examples (Par. 2) – that through the thought being enclothed in the physical brain, there is a contraction and physicality that is made in it. However, when writing the thought with the fingers of the hand, the thought does not change through the fingers (writing). Therefore the aspect of Hislabshut is only possible in a thing that is relative.
The reason that Rambam holds that the resting of the Shechinah in the Mikdash was in the manner of Maavar, was, as aforementioned, because G-d is above the boundary of place. Therefore, it is not applicable to say that it (the Shechinah) was contracted and changed, in order to fit the boundary of physical place. However, this reason, only is valid (אתי שפיר) in the revealed level of G-d. For since it is bound, as it were, in the boundary of “revelation” (״גילוי״), therefore it is applicable to say that it is revealed only in a lofty and spiritual place – and it is not applicable that it is drawn down and contracted in a physical place.
Yet for the hidden level of G-d which is not bound by limitations, there is no difference, regarding it, whether it is a spiritual place
(the Heaven and the heaven of heavens (השמים ושמי השמים))
or whether it is a physical place. For He is above a spiritual place just as He is in a physical place. And because of this, namely that He does not have boundaries, He has the ability to be enclothed even in a physical place, also without any lowering and contraction
(As it states: “Who dwells on high. Who lowers (Himself) to look in the heavens and the earth”, For since, this itself, that He “dwells on high”, above the boundary of lowering and lowness. Therefore it is: “Who lowers (Himself) to look . . (even) in the earth”, and he is able to be drawn down even in the level of place).
Therefore Rambam, who speaks in his Sefer, regarding the revealed aspects in the Beit HaMikdash, the Korbanot and the Avodah therein, which is connected with the revealed aspects of Yisroel, holds that the resting of the Shechinah was in a manner of Maavar, and not in a manner of Hislabshut. For the revealed level of Yisroel is connected with the revealed level of G-d, and this level has a grasp (תפיסת מקום) in place (in a negative manner (בדרך שלילה)) to a physical place. Therefore it is not applicable to say that it is enclothed in a specific place.
However, the Ramban is speaking of the hidden level of G-d that rests in the Beit HaMikdash - that is connected with the hidden level of Yisroel. In other words the connection that is not made through Avodah, but rather, is a more inner and hidden connection (פנימי וסתום יותר), due to the essential resting of the Shechinah in the Holy of Holies. Therefore he holds that the resting of the Shechinah was in a manner of Hislabshut, as it states:
“And the glory of G-d filled the Mishkan” - “For it was filled completely with the Glory, for the Glory rested within the cloud inside the Mishkan”.
For the connection of the hidden level of Yisroel which is above revelation is with the level of the hidden level of G-d, where there is no aspect of Hislabshut, lowering and contraction, for it is not limited, even in the absence of physical place (בשלילת מקום גשמי). And on the contrary – this is the expression of His Omnipotence (bli gevul), for the true omnipotence is His ability to be enclothed even in a physical place.
7. According to the aforementioned, one can explain the precise wording in the aforementioned Ramban (in the beginning of Parshat Terumah) regarding the explanation of the verses in our Parsha:
“The secret of the Mishkan is that the Glory, which rested on Mount Sinai should rest there in a concealed (בנסתר) manner”
For the intent of “rest there in a concealed (בנסתר) manner”, is not just regarding the manner of resting in the Mishkan (that it was not in a revealed manner like it was at Mount Sinai) but to the level of the Shechinah, which is the hidden (נסתר) level of the Shechinah, which is above the revealed level of the Shechinah that was at Matan Torah.
And one could say that is why he continues and explains that:
“This verse, ‘and the glory of G-d filled the Mishkan’ is mentioned twice to correspond to His glory and His greatness”.
For this level of the Shechinah – that is the hidden level - is itself drawn down into the Mishkan that is below. For the glory of G-d which is Above, is the very glory that fills the Mishkan – in Pnimiyut in the level of Hislabshut.
And this is the difference between the revelation that was at Matan Torah, to the revelation of the glory of G-d in the Mishkan and Mikdash. For even at Mount Sinai it states: “Face to face G-d-d spoke with you” – that he was drawn down to each of Yisroel with His face – meaning inwardly in Pnimiyut, from the level of “face/panim” – the Pnimiyut that is Above. And the level of G-d that is above Hislabshut was made “your G-d” – your power and vitality of each of Yisroel. However at Matan Torah ‘their souls departed” (פרחה נשמתן), for it was not in a manner of Hislabshut, in Pnimiyut, so much.
Whereas regarding the “I will dwell among you” in the Mishkan and Mikdash, it was in a level of Hislabshut in Pnimiyut, that G-d dwelled within each and every Yisroel. Therefore this itself effected and awakened in each one, that they go up and see and to bow down before You, with an inner Bitul, above the receptacles of one’s intellect and Middot.
And this is why the Ramban‘s precise wording is that the reason for this is: “that the Glory, which rested on Mount Sinai should rest there in a concealed manner” – that the level of the Shechinah was in a lofty level, the more concealed level, therefore it came and was drawn down into a more inner enclothement (Hislabshut).
mSichas Shabbat Parshat Re’eh and Shabbat Parshat Tavo 5723
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