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Shabbat Parashat Vayeilech 5780

Parashat Hashavua: The Time of Kingdom Recognition – part II

Harav Yosef Carmel

Specifically during Tishrei, one of the questions to explore is: who is the king? Last week we looked into one of the examples of that question playing out in Tishrei.

Shlomo Hamelech decided to celebrate the inauguration of the Beit Hamikdash specifically during the month of Tishrei (known as Chodesh Ha’eitanim – Melachim I, 8, 1-2). This was the most important event during the reign of Shlomo and served as a watershed point within it. The importance had to do with the fact that it was a test for Shlomo’s entire enterprise. After seven years of building the main halls of the Beit Hamikdash and another thirteen years of building the governmental infrastructure in the city, Yerushalayim was finally built in full splendor. This is described in the following manner in Tehillim (48:1-4): “… Hashem is great and exalted in the city of the Lord, His mountain of sanctity. It has beautiful views and is the joy of the Land – Mt. Zion, at the northern side of the city of the Great King. The Lord is known for strength in its great halls (i.e., the governmental buildings).” The psalmist continues to describe the amazement of other monarchs who came to visit (ibid. 5-7).

The big test was what would happen when Shlomo would try to bring the ark to the Holy of Holies, an event that would turn the Temple into an operative sanctum. In fact, until the ark is inside, the laws of a Mikdash, which preclude sacrifices elsewhere, did not yet apply (Yerushalmi, Megilla 1:12). If Shlomo would not have succeeded, there would not have been significance to David’s pronouncement that the building of the Beit Hamikdash specifically in Yerushalayim would introduce a new spiritual situation in Israel, with a central address for the service of Hashem.

There were a few complications in bringing the ark in. First, when David first moved the ark to Yerushalayim, those who were in charge of moving it were killed by Hashem. In order to move it by carrying it, a miracle was necessary, as it was too heavy for two humans to carry it. This miracle was described as, “the ark carried those who carried it” (Sota 35a). Also, the ark’s dimensions, including the attached cherubim, were bigger than those of the Holy of Holies that held it (see Megilla 10b).

As things transpired, another miracle of sorts became necessary. The gemara (Shabbat 30a) relates that when Shlomo was trying to bring the aron to its place, the gates of the Beit Hamikdash became sealed and “refused” to open. He recited the famous p’sukim in Tehillim 24 about the gates opening up and allowing the Divine Presence, the “King of honor,” in. The midrash (Shemot Rabba 8) says that if not for that request, the gates would have killed Shlomo. If not for the clear proclamation of the powerful King Shlomo that Hashem is the true King of honor (Tehillim 24:8), it would not have been possible to complete the grand project of David and Shlomo.

May we sincerely and successfully coronate Hashem as King over the kings and the world. “Hashem is king; Hashem has become king; Hashem will rule for all of eternity.”
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