Shabbat Parashat Devarim| 5768
Hashem’s Despair Over Bnei Yisrael’s State of Exile
(based on Berachot 1:7)
Gemara: Rav Yitzchak bar Shmuel said in the name of Rav: There are three mishmarot (“watches”= sections of time) to the night, and for every mishmar Hashem sits and roars like a lion, and says: “Woe on the sons that because of their sins I destroyed My house and burnt My hall and exiled My sons among the idol worshippers.
Ein Ayah: [Rav Kook refers to his comments on the previous gemara. The baraita spoke about the connection of different animals to the various mishmarot and explained how each hinted at things that are related to the respective animals and are missing in the heavenly sphere. The idea is that deficiencies in the heavens stem from deficiencies in how Bnei Yisrael’s serve Hashem.]
We can explain based on our previous ideas. Rav is explaining the baraita that explained the noticeable deficiency in each mishmar stemming from the realm of practical mitzvot and the shleimut (completeness) of character traits (middot), andfrom the revealed Torah and the hidden one which is double in wisdom. Rav added to explain that all of the levels are included one in the other, and in each part of them, the deficiency is recognizable.
Note that the Beit Hamikdash is called the house of Hashem and the hall of Hashem. It seems that in regard to a human king, there is a difference between a reference to the king’s place as the king’s house or the king’s hall. The difference is that his house refers to matters of the kingdom that are performed there, for the house refers to everything that is included in it, as the matters of the kingdom include also its officers. The hall is specially designated to aggrandize the king’s stature, so that all will know the honor of the king by virtue of his sitting in the grand hall.
This is [serves as a metaphor to] the difference between the explicit laws of the Torah and the general good middot. The mitzvot of the Torah, which are set according to their specifications from Hashem, are the matters of the Kingdom upon which the world runs according to His desire. The good middot are that which more fully prepare the heart of man to know Hashem and His honor. The Beit Hamikdash was the center of sanctity and through it, great sanctity was enjoyed in Bnei Yisrael’s service by means of all of the mitzvot. It also instilled purity in the heart and enabled all dear middot. From the perspective of the matters of the mitzvot and the physical service, it was called the house of Hashem. In regard to the sanctity of a person’s attributes, it was called the hall of Hashem. [We will skip over the reference to different animals upon which he expounded in the previous piece.]
[We can now understand why the gemara refers to] “I destroyed My house and burned My hall.” Mitzvot are the root of the soul’s clinging to the divine light in the World to Come. Middot prepare the soul to cling to Hashem even in this world so that it will be fit for prophecy. The holy mitzvot have an impact even without a Beit Hamikdash; it is just that the impact is not on the level that it is when the Beit Hamikdash stands. However, the pinnacle of middot, which is the light of prophecy, has been totally removed. This is what the pasuk says in reference to Baruch ben Neriyah in Yirmiyah (45:10): “For that which I have built I am destroying … and you are seeking greatness?” Therefore in reference to the house, the word churban (destruction) is used, implying that its aura is removed but its basis remains. Regarding the hall, though, it says that it is burnt [implying, burnt to ashes]. Afterward it says that “I exiled my sons among the idol worshippers.” This refers to the root of the loss of Torah in both elements. This is what Chazal said (Chagiga 5b): “Once Israel went into exile from their place, there is no greater loss of Torah than this, for only ‘from Zion shall Torah go forth’ (Yeshaya 2:3).”
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This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated in loving memory of
Yitzchak Eizik Ben Yehuda Leib a"h,
whose Yahrtzeit is the
29th of Av
as well as
R ' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld
Hemdat Yamim is endowed by Les & Ethel Sutker of Chicago, Illinois in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker
and Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.