Reaching a Real Connection to G-d- Deveikus
Taste of Halacha
“There is a positive commandment to build a house for Hashem: A place to bring offerings and celebrate three times a year; as it says in Exodus 25:8, “And you shall make for me a holy place” (Rambam Laws of Bais Habechira 1:1). Later in that chapter, the Rambam writes about the laws governing the flooring of the house of G-d. “The floor of the courtyard should be tiled with valuable stones. If a stone becomes loose, even if it is still in its place, a kohen may not stand on it while doing the service” (ibid. 1:16). The Raavad adds, “If a stone was removed from its place and a kohen stood in that place, the service is invalid.” From the Rambam’s discussion of these laws (Laws of the Bais Hamikdash 5:19), it is clear that his opinion is that the service is not invalidated by the kohen standing on a loose tile. What is the basis for this dispute?
Taste of Talmud
Rabbi Chaim Brisker explains that this dispute is based on their respective understandings of the Talmud in Tractate Zevachim 24a. The Talmud presents the question about the permissibility of standing on a loose tile in 4 different ways. 1. What is the law if a tile is loose? 2. What is the law if a tile has been removed? 3. What is the law if all of the tiles have been removed? 4. Is it a proper form of service to stand on a loose tile? The Talmud does not directly answer any of these questions. How the Rishonim decide the Halacha depends A) On how they interpret the logical sequence of the Talmudic discussion and B) On their different understandings of the basic principles governing the holiness of the House of G-d. Rav Chaim Brisker explains that the Rambam, understands from the Talmudic discussion that if even one tile is loose the entire flooring should ideally not be used, but the service will not be invalidated if it is used. According to the Raavad, standing on a loose tile or standing on a place that is missing a tile will invalidate the service, but only in that spot.
Taste of Parasha
Why does the Torah spend such a long time discussing a law which seemingly does not apply at all times? ‘You shall build for me a house.’ The Nesivos Shalom answers by saying that the Mishkan and all of the verses in it are the map for us to achieve Devaikus, connection, to G-d. The more detailed a map is the better the chances are that the one following it will reach his destination. So too, each verse and each law is another detail in attaining Devaikus to G-d. One example: There are three main metals that are used in the construction of the Mishkan: Copper, silver, and gold. There are three main areas: Courtyard, haichal, and holy of holies. These parallel the three basic levels of existence: The physical world, the world of Torah and Mitzvos, and the highest level of existence being connection to G-d. In order for man to attain the highest level of existence, he must use the physical world to perform Torah and Mitzvos. In this way, he will come to connect to G-d. This is an ongoing template and map for our existence in this world. Is it any wonder then that the Torah spends so much time detailing the specifications of the Mishkan? The more we understand about the Mishkan the more connected we will be. We just have to start with our feet on the ground and move forward from there.