Monday, August 9, 2010

Keeping our Focus on Geulah and the Beit Hamikdash

Sorry I haven't posted anything in awhile - here are some important ideas about why it's necessary to go to the Beit Hamikdash and to keep our longing focused on what good we have to look forward to once we have it!

Special Note One: In last week’s Parsha, the Torah teaches us that, once we come to the Bais Hamikdash, we will no longer be allowed to behave like the other nations who build altars and sacrifice wherever they may be. Rather, we will have only the Mizbeach in the Bais HaMikdash with which to offer Karbonos to Hashem (Devorim 12:13, 14). At first blush, this is difficult to understand. After all, “Meloh Kol Ha’aretz Kevodo--Hashem’s glory and presence is everywhere.” Indeed, another way we refer to Hashem is HaMakom--because He is everywhere. If so, why can’t we come close to Him with a korbon anywhere? Moreover, what does the Jew in Bavel, in Finland, in Manitoba, in Buenos Aires or even in Tel Aviv do--he can’t be in the Bais Hamikdash in an instant. Why can’t he grow spiritually with a spiritual tool in his own backyard? It would seem that for all that would be gained with your own local connection to Hashem, the Torah is teaching us that more would be lost. As Tosfos (Bava Basra 21A) teaches on the pasuk “Ki MiTzion Taizeh Torah...”--it is only in the hub of the universe--in Yerushalayim and the Bais HaMikdash--that we could achieve the Yiras Shomayim that we needed to reach our true spiritual potential. The daily open miracles, the tzidkus and chochma of the Kohanim, the Neviim who lived there, the union of thousands and tens of thousands daily who had come for one purpose--to elevate themselves, was simply incomparable. Getting used to anything less would simply fool the person into complacency and into not reaching his potential. There is at least a dual lesson here: First, we must appreciate our Mikdash Me’at--our Shuls--for providing us with at least a reflection of this--the Rav, the Maggidei Shiur, the place where we come together to daven, learn, and join together in chesed activities. Second, we must recognize how far we are from reaching the potential that lies dormant within us simply because we have no Bais HaMikdash. LeHavdil, imagine a champion swimmer who has only a small pool in the backyard of his attached house to swim in; consider how the educated lament over the overwhelming number of brain cells that are not utilized in a person’s lifetime. Then think about what your life would be like--how it would be changed--with just a few visits to Yerushalayim. Isn’t it worth some serious davening over? The Parsha is reminding us!

Additional Note 1: Rabbi Heshy Kleinman, Shlita, reminded us of the following lesson-for-us-all (originally presented in Reb Shraga Feivel, by Yonasan Rosenblum (Artscroll p.110)):

“One day Reb Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz was teaching Tehillim, whose subject is the Jew’s eternal pining for return to Jerusalem and the Temple that once stood there, “Nichsefa V’Gam Kalsa Nafshi--My soul yearns, indeed it pines for the courtyards of Hashem (Tehillim 84:3).” When he reached the next Pasuk, “Gam Tzippor Matza Vayis…--even the bird finds a home, and the free bird its nest,” the tears ran down his cheeks, as he lamented, “Everything has its place--except for the Shechina (the Divine Presence), which remains in exile.”

When we recite the many brachos in Shemone Esrei three times a day relating to Galus and Geulah, when we recite the words “Ki LiShuasecha Kivinu Kol HaYom,” we should at least be moved to think about what we really need--and how desperately we need it! Are we no less Jews than HaRav Shraga Feivel? Let us move ourselves in the same way he did--by simply taking a moment of reflection to think about it! As the Mesillas Yeshorim (end of Chapter 19) teaches, our thoughts, our feelings, our prayers and our yearnings, mean very much in Shomayim, and it is our great obligation and privilege to bring ourselves, K’lal Yisroel, and the World--to where we are supposed to be!

Additional Note 2: May we suggest that you make a list of twenty things that would change for the better if Moshiach came and the Bais Hamikdosh was rebuilt? Remember, when we fervently daven for the binyan Bais Hamikdosh, we are not just davening for the return of one holy and glorious building. After studying our list, we will recognize that the kavana we have when we daven for binyan Beis Hamikdosh should be enormous…and hopefully it will be!

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