Friday, March 11, 2016

Double vision: from churban to Geula

כאאֵ֣לֶּה פְקוּדֵ֤י הַמִּשְׁכָּן֙ מִשְׁכַּ֣ן הָֽעֵדֻ֔ת
On this verse, Rashi comments: 



המשכן משכן: שני פעמים, רמז למקדש שנתמשכן בשני חורבנין על עונותיהן של ישראל:






The word “Mishkan” (Tabernacle) shares its root with the word mashkon, collateral. Thus, our Sages[1] teach us that the repetition of the word Mishkan in our verse hints to the two Temples that were destroyed “as collateral” from the Jewish people.

Rashi then explain the words  מִשְׁכַּ֣ן הָֽעֵדֻ֔ת
ny citing the Midrash  that the designation “Mishkan of testimony” refers to the Mishkan as testament that God relents to the Jewish people,[3]forgiving them even though they have sinned.



My grandfather questions how the two go together. One stresses the double discussion, while the other indicates a sign of forgiveness.  He then quotes the famous account of R' Akiva's unexpected laughter from Makkot 24b
Again it happened that Rabban Gamliel, Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria, RabbiJoshua and Rabbi Akiva went up to Jerusalem. When they reached Mt. Scopus, they tore their garments. When they reached the Temple Mount, they saw a fox emerging from the place of the Holy of Holies. The others started weeping; Rabbi Akiva laughed.
They asked: "Why are you laughing?"
He responded: "Why are you weeping?"
They said: "A place [so holy] that it is said of it, 'the stranger that approaches it shall die,' and now foxes traverse it, and we shouldn't weep?"
He explained: "That is why I laugh. For it is written, 'I shall have bear witness for Me faithful witnesses--Uriah the Priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.' Now what is the connection between Uriah and Zechariah? Uriah was [in the time of] the First Temple, and Zechariah was [in the time of] the Second Temple! But the Torah makes Zachariah's prophecy dependent upon Uriah's prophecy. With Uriah, it is written: 'Therefore, because of you, Zion shall be plowed as a field; [Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the Temple Mount like the high places of a forest.]' With Zachariah it is written, 'Old men and women shall yet sit in the streets of Jerusalem.'
"As long as Uriah's prophecy had not been fulfilled, I feared that Zechariah's prophecy may not be fulfilled either. But now that Uriah's prophecy has been fulfilled, it is certain that Zechariah's prophecy will be fulfilled."
They replied to him: "Akiva, you have consoled us! Akiva, you have consoled us!"

My grandfather explains, accordingly, the essence of the mishkan was testimony on Israel's chosen status,that G-d chose to have His shechina reside among them. However, if chas veshalom they sinned, there is no place, so to speak, for the shechina to dwell among them. Consequently, there is destruction, for G-d spent His judgement on sticks and stone. Nevertheless, there is still the possibility of teshuva and to regain the presence of the shechina just as it did in the mishkan.  And it is absolutely certain that in the future, Yisrael will do teshuva (as per Rambam Hilochos Teshuva 7:5) and then the shechina will once again dwell among them. As R' Akiva pointed out, the churban itself attests to that certainty.

Related post: http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2015/10/dvar-yehudah-parsha-points-from-my.html



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