from Torat Moshe, as translated by Eliyahu Munk
posted on KabbalaOnline.org
They will make
a sanctuary for me. (Ex. 25:8)
The message is mind boggling!
Who can imagine that G-d's Presence can be contained on earth, much less in a
man-made structure?! When Solomon beheld that the presence of
the Temple he had built, he was awed. He realized that this was only possible
because the site of Mount Moriah had been the gateway to Heaven since Creation.
Our sages express this by stating that the sanctuary on earth is opposite G-d's
sanctuary in Heaven. For that reason Adam and Noah offered their sacrifices at
that site, and so did Abraham and Jacob.
When Solomon, at
the dedication said, "I have built a residence" (Kings I:8), repeating
the word "I have built" [in Hebrew, "bana baniti"], he indicated
that what he had accomplished here on earth had had its effects in Heaven - that
he had in effect built two temples. The celestial temple is situated in a region
called "Zevul". This is what is known as "the place of Your eternal
All of David's efforts to locate the exact
site for the Temple had had this as their objective. In his days, nobody had known
where the exact location was until the prophet Gad told David that it was on the
threshing ground of Arnon the Jebusite. (Samuel II 24:18)
similar concept of man's actions being matched in celestial spheres, is expressed
in Bamidbar Rabba 12:12: We are told there that when Israel erected the Tabernacle,
G-d told the angels to erect a celestial counterpart. That sanctuary is called
the "Tabernacle of the youth Metatron"; there the souls of the righteous
would be offered during the period Israel is in exile, as atonement for the Jewish
This is why the Torah describes the erection of the
Tabernacle as "et hamishkan", the word "et" signifying something
additional, i.e. the celestial counterpart. Just as there is a senior temple in
the celestial spheres as described in the Song of the Sea, i.e. "...the Sanctuary,
my G-d, that Your hands established" (Ex. 15:17), so there is also a junior
such residence in the celestial spheres, albeit in a lower layer of heaven, called
This junior temple functions when
there is no temple down here, due to our sins. This is why the Midrash calls it
the "Tabernacle of the Youth", i.e. the "junior temple".
author quotes many proofs from Scripture supporting the idea that when man does
things for the glory of G-d (provided he is in a state of grace) man's actions
have their counterpart in celestial regions. What G-d tells Israel in this portion
is that even after the grave sin of the Golden Calf, once rehabilitated by penitence,
the freedom which man has been equipped with enables him to draw the holiness
of G-d down to earth.
Moshe Alshich (1508-1600) was a rabbi and halachic authority in Safed and later
in Damascus, ordained by Rabbi Yosef Caro. However, he was most famous for his
eloquent sermons on the on the weekly Torah readings, and his works of commentary
on nearly all of the 24 books of Scriptures.
was born in Frankfurt, emigrated to England as a young man and then to Toronto.
After retiring from education and moving to Israel in 1978, he began an extraordinary
second career as a translator, publishing English versions of the Torah commentaries
of Rebbeinu Bachya, Akeidat Yitzchak, the Shelah, the Alshich and the Ohr Hachayim.