By: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron
Inviting the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
ויהי ביום השמיני
A psalm, a song for the dedication of the house; by David. I extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me, and have not let my foes rejoice over me. Lord my God, I cried to You, and You did heal me.” (Psukei dezimra)
This week’s parsha describes the inauguration of the House of HaShem, the Mishkan. This episode occurred on the ‘eighth day’ after seven days in which Moshe erected and disassembled the Mishkan time after time. Now, on the eighth day Moshe erected the Mishkan and kept it ‘lifted’ and standing. According to our Sages these actions evoked the method with which God created the world. God created seven worlds, one after the other, and destroyed each one of them. The world we live in today is the eighth world in this process. More deeply, this process represents the Divine process of dimming the Divine supernal light by various steps, ‘seven worlds’, that by so doing allow the existence of our world, without being obliterated in the intensity of the original Divine light. In this sense, the ‘eighth day’ represents a rectification of the previous ‘seven stages’ which did not remain standing.
Our Patriarch Yaakov also represents this process of rectification. Before Yakov there was never a full family that took on the special status of the People of Israel. Indeed, the name ‘People of Israel’ is taken from Yaakov’s other name, Yisrael. We call this matter ‘rectification’ because, as Ramhal explains in Derech HaShem, Adam, before his sin, was capable of causing all his offspring to receive the special status of Israel. However, after the sin only specific individuals were able to continue the spiritual leadership that was previously potent for all people equally. It was Yaakov who continued the original plan by bearing an entire family, later to become a nation, who continues this spiritual leadership for the good of all humanity.
The Chamber of Yaakov in Maarat HaMachpela lies at one’s left when facing Jerusalem while praying in the Maarah. This matter may hint to the balancing of Yaakov’s basic attribute of compassion, which is considered a medium between the attributes of kindness and justice. Indeed, finding the medium between attributes is an integral part of the process of ‘rectification’ we just discussed in context of Yaakov our father. It is by balancing extremities into a ‘middle-path’ that essentially paves the road towards peace, harmony, and a ‘rectified world’ which can continue countless generations into the future. It also seems that by entering Yaakov’s chamber from our left we are balancing compassion, Yaakov’s basic attribute, with the attribute of justice, associated with the left.
As we culminate the three weeks we have discussed the three chambers of Maarat HaMachpela, which are named after our Patriarchs and Matriarchs, we may remind our readers of the awe-inspiring utterance before entering the Maarat HaMachpela building especially, and also every synagogue: ‘And I, with Your great kindness (intend to ‘ask permission to enter’ from Avraham the father of kindness) I shall enter Your sanctuary, I shall prostrate myself before Your Holy Abode (intend to ‘ask permission to enter’ from Yitzhak who prostrated himself before God in the Akeida) with Your awe (intend to ‘ask permission to enter’ from Yakov who said ‘how awesome is this place’).’
Real Stories from the Holy Land #260
‘At a shoe shop I gave the seller my credit card to pay, but the card did not pass successfully at the register. I then gave the seller another credit card, which also didn’t pass. This was extremely strange since both these cards always pass without exception. Just then, a person next to me just happened to randomly say the words ‘histadrut hamorim’ (they had no idea I was having trouble with my credit cards), which is a teacher’s organization in Israel that, among other things, arranges gift-cards for teachers at various shops around Israel. When I heard this, I suddenly remembered that this shoe shop respects the ‘histadrut hamorim’s’ gift-card that I have. I then passed the gift-card which went through immediately, no problem whatsoever…’ A.Y