Teruma by Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron בס"ד
Discover the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
And They Shall Make a Temple and I Will Rest in Their Midst
In Parshat Yitro, we discussed the connection between God’s Name, indicative of His Presence, and the Temple, location of His Presence. Therefore, in continuation of our discussion of God’s names in the book of Shemot, literally “names”, we would like to discuss matters of the Temple, resting place of God’s Presence, and “Name,” that encompass all the parshiot of this book till its end. More specifically we would like to discuss the washing of hands in the Temple since this matter is commemorated in some way in our current washing of hands-on an everyday level, even in absence of the Temple, may it be built speedily. Some have the custom to say when washing hands for “netilat yadaim” – “raise your hands unto the holy and bless Hashem. ” The usage of the term “holy” is a direct reference to the washing of hands in the Temple called “kiddush” – i.e “sanctifying” – “yadayim veraglaim” – the hands and feet. This action in the Temple was done through the water of the Cistern in the Temple. There are a number of similarities between our washing of hands and that of the Temple. For example, the halachic requirement to wash our hands via a vessel is, according to numbers of the geonim and rishonim, learned from the fact that washing hands in the Temple had to be done through a vessel. Also, the requirement to wash hands after sleeping is similar in both the Temple and outside it.
The first time washing the extremities is mentioned in the Torah is in the context of Avraham’s washing the angels/guests that visited him in Hebron. Our Sages say that in the merit of this Avraham’s descendants, the Children of Israel were miraculously given Miryam’s well that traveled with them throughout the Wilderness. The Arizal explains that this miracle was related to a spiritual illumination associated with the Holy Land to which Miryam the Prophetess was also connected. This matter sheds light on the location that the “first washing” mentioned in the Torah occurred, Hebron. Hebron is the Beacon of the Holy Land and the first home-city of our People in the Holy Land shedding its light to the Diaspora and to the extents of the Wilderness many years later when the People of Israel benefited from its Divine light.
While the Namirs of Gush Katif were eating their Sabbath meal, they heard the sound of a mortar shell smash through their roof. Going upstairs, they found the shell on the floor near the crib of their sleeping baby – unexploded. Our main synagogue complex is a target of the mortars. One hit the courtyard, but the others have skimmed over the holy site and have blown up in a nearby neighborhood. No one was ever hurt.