Saturday, February 7, 2009


In parshah Yisro, we are told that the Bnai Yisroel were instructed to avoid traversing the boundary around the mountain until after the elongated shofar blast. After that point, they would be free to scale the mountain. From this we learn that Har Sinai was not intrinsically holy. Rather, the Har only had spiritual significance as long as the shechina rested upon it. Once the shechina departed, the spiritual status of the Har returned to "normal".

In his commentary summing up the opinion of the commentators, R'Bachya cites that the four areas of the mountain correspond to the four areas of the Beit HaMigdash:
  1. The region behind the boundary behind where the klal stood = The gate of the courtyard
  2. The mountain itself = The interior of the courtyard
  3. The cloud upon which Moshe stood = The interior of the sanctuary
  4. The thickness of the cloud = The Holy of Holies
That the boundaries on the mountain replicated those later used in the Beit HaMigdash underscores that the Beit HaMigdash was the "blueprint" for the klal's interaction with Hashem. Indeed, the Beit HaMigdash is unequivocally recognized as the "permanent" dwelling place for the shechina in this world.

But if we are in galus, how can we operate by this blueprint? How can we move through these areas towards Hashem in our day and age? The reality is that Hashem is wherever a yid is. However, this is magnified, such as when one davens with a minyan. Yet perhaps the most crucial opportunity for getting close to Hashem is not in the Beit HaMedresh, but in fact in the four walls of the married home.

While we all intellectually understand that there are three partners in any marital union- the human couple and Hashem's presence- we often fall short in operating with this awareness in our day-to-day lives. Yet it is precisely in one's home that Hashem's presence rests, and where He remains available to us. Thus, by ensuring that our marriage is internally Torahdik, we can render our homes a suitable dwelling place for the shechinah, and maintain a closer relationship with Him than would otherwise be possible.

Good voch!

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