" ...and he took of the stones of the place... "
Kislev 4, 5771/November 11, 2010
The sun set suddenly and Ya'akov avinu - Jacob our forefather - was compelled to pitch camp and stay the night. So Ya'akov "took of the stones of the place and placed [them] at his head, and he lay down in that place." (ibid) Now a person who has set out on a long journey knows that a good night's sleep is an imperative if he is to continue on his way in peace the following morning. Among other considerations to be made for a good night's sleep, comfort will surely be paramount. And anyone who has ever gone camping knows that the smallest pebble or bramble under one's bedroll will render utterly impossible a restful slumber. Yet Ya'akov, with great purpose, gathered up stones to employ as his pillow. Whatever was he thinking?
Midrash relates that the twelve stones that Ya'akov gathered up at that place were twelve stones that he pulled from the altar that his father Yitzchak had been bound upon one generation earlier. From this we learn that Ya'akov didn't stumble upon this place inadvertently. He knew exactly what this place was, that is, the place where his grandfather Avraham bound his father Yitzchak, the place where Adam first built an altar, the place known by our sages as the place of the world. That is, the place of the future Holy Temple.
Ya'akov deliberately dismantled the altar of Avraham and Yitzchak. Wasn't that disrespectful? Shouldn't he had stood off a bit in the distance, silently taking in the site of the great test of Avraham's faith? He could have meditated, contemplating the profundity of the site. But Ya'akov chose to do something else altogether. He chose, by deconstructing the altar and then reconstructing it as a pillow for his head, or should we say, a pillow for his consciousness, for his entire spiritual being, to opt into his father's and grandfather's experience of a direct and immediate relationship with
And Ya'akov took this paradigm of the man -
Ya'akov chose to not only honor the holy site where he spent the night, but to bring it to life and make it his, through his own active intervention. Those who today only view the Temple Mount from afar, insisting that we must not approach the Mount, may be paying respect to the place of the Holy Temple, but they are also, intentionally or not, rendering the place and all that it stands for, distant and irrelevant. The positive commandment that we fulfill by visiting the Temple Mount, (in accordance with halacha), is known in Hebrew as mora Mikdash - showing reverence to
Tune in to this week's Temple Talk as Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven are transfixed by this week's Torah reading of Vayeitzei, and its connection to the Holy Temple - past, present and future, and how Yaakov's prophecy on the Temple Mount, as expressed in the rocks he gathered, is being fulfilled today.
With great thanks to HaShem, the Temple Institute is proud to announce the historical, landmark publication of the Talmud Tractate Zevachim. This classic work deals intensively with the description and explanation of the Divine service of offerings, as it is performed in the Holy Temple. Now, for the first time in 2000 years, Tractate Zevachim has been published with an in-depth exploration and elucidation of all the commandments and traditions concerning the Temple offerings. Years in preparation, this work includes the "Sha'arei Heichal" ("Gates of the Sanctuary") commentary written by the Beit HaBechirah Kollel of the Temple Institute, whose scholars specialize and excel in the Torah knowledge of the Holy Temple and the Divine service, providing ground-breaking research, new insights, and, literally, hands-on investigation into the practical implementation of the commandments concerning the Temple offerings. To learn more, please click here.
This week features the new Bat Melech video teaching with Rabbanit Rena Richman, entitled, "Avraham & Sara, Part III: United in their search for the One
This week also features the new Light to the Nations teaching by Rabbi Chaim Richman, entitled, "Suppressing Iniquity:
" ...and he took some of the stones of the place and placed them at his head, and he lay down in that place." (Genesis 28:11) What was "that place," and what was the nature of those stones that Ya'akov gathered together, and which, upon his awakening from his dream of a House of
Blessings from the holy city of Jerusalem,
The Temple Institute
Friday, November 12, 2010
The Stones of the Place
Posted by David Ben-Ariel at 8:58 AM