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Pesachim 88


QUESTION: Rebbi Elazer asked: What does the verse mean when it says, "Many nations will go and say, 'Let us go up to the mountain of Hashem, to the house of the G-d of Yakov'" (Yeshayah 2:3)? Is He the G-d of Yakov and not the G-d of Avraham and Yitzchak?

The Gemara answers that at the time of the redemption, the Beis ha'Mikdash will not be as it was in the days of Avraham when it was called merely a "Har," a mountain (Bereishis 22:14), nor will it be as it was in the days of Yitzchak when it was referred to as a "Sadeh," a field (Bereishis 24:63). Rather, it will be as it was in the days of Yakov, who called it a "Bayis," a house -- "And he called the name of the place, 'The house of Hashem'" (Bereishis 28:19).

What is the significance of the allusions to a "mountain," a "field" and a "house?"


(a) On a simple level the passage can be explained as follows. The Beis Ha'Mikdash is the place where Hashem reveals His glory to us in this world, in such a manner that all can appreciate His dominion. This is what Chazal refer to as "the dwelling of the Divine Presence in this world" (Hashra'as ha'Shechinah).

When each of the Avos visited the site where the Beis ha'Mikdash was to be, they prayed there that Hashem reveal His Presence to the world and let everyone see His glory. They asked Hashem to cause His Shechinah to dwell in this world and to establish the Beis ha'Mikdash on this spot. The prayers of each of the Avos had a cumulative effect until they eventually succeeded in accomplishing their goal. Our Sages conveyed this thought to us through a series of metaphors, calling the place of the future Beis ha'Mikdash first a mountain, then a field, then a house.

When Avraham Avinu first approached the site, he saw a mountain. The place on which the Beis ha'Mikdash was to be built resembled a raw mountain, in that one could see no sign of its owner, or Creator, by looking at it. By the time Yitzchak came along, however, Avraham's prayers had already had an effect. Yitzchak saw a field. A field shows signs of an owner; crops are growing in it in an organized manner. However, one does not see the owner himself. The owner does not live there. When Yakov Avinu came and experienced a vision there he called the place "the *House* of Hashem." He saw that the Jewish people would eventually merit that this place would resemble a house where the owner can constantly be seen. A Beis Ha'Mikdash would be built and Hashem would reveal His glory there on a permanent basis. It is in this manner that the Beis ha'Mikdash will once again be perceived at the time of our redemption. (M. Kornfeld)

(b) The MAHARSHA adds a deeper dimension to this Gemara. He says that the three descriptions (mountain, field, and house) allude to the three Batei Mikdash, the two that were destroyed and the final one that will be built. Although Avraham, Yitzchak and Yakov each had a vision of the Beis Ha'Mikdash, each of them saw a *different* one of the three Batei Mikdash which were to be built in the course of Jewish history. Avraham Avinu saw the first Beis ha'Mikdash, Yitzchak saw the second, and Yakov saw the third.

The first one -- the one which Avraham Avinu saw -- lasted 400 years before it was destroyed. When it was destroyed, it was referred to as, "The *mountain* of Zion which is desolate" (Eicha 5:18). Avraham Avinu referred to this spot as a mountain, because he saw that after the destruction of the first Beis ha'Mikdash it was to remain a bare mountain. Yitzchak saw the second Beis Ha'Mikdash, which was also destined to be destroyed. About its destruction it is said "Zion will be plowed as a *field*" (Michah 3:12; see Rashi, Ta'anis 29a, DH Nechreshah ha'Ir). The Beis Ha'Mikdash which Yitzchak saw would end up as a field. Yakov Avinu, though, saw the third Beis Ha'Mikdash, which will never be destroyed. That one could be referred to as a house. It was destined to endure and to remain a house for all eternity. This is the "house" which will be seen by those who return to Yerushalayim at the end of days.

(c) An ingenious suggestion for an entirely different approach to our Gemara was offered by the BELZER REBBE, ha'Gaon Rav SarShalom of Belz (Chidushei Maharash, Parshas Va'eschanan; see also Sefer Ben Yehoyada, Pesachim 88a).

The Gemara (Nedarim 39b) teaches that the creation of the Beis Ha'Mikdash preceded that of the entire world (see Ran there). Now, we know that there was no Beis Ha'Mikdash on *earth* until 480 years after the exodus from Egypt. However, we find (Rashi, Bereishis 28:17) that besides the earthly Beis Ha'Mikdash, there is a *heavenly* Beis Ha'Mikdash which is situated opposite the earthly one. That one existed even before the Beis Ha'Mikdash was built on earth. If so, perhaps we can suggest that the Beis Ha'Mikdash which preceded the creation of the earth was the *heavenly* Beis Ha'Mikdash.

Our Beis Ha'Mikdash was built from stone and wood, but the heavenly one certainly could not be built from such materials. In the desert, the Jewish people surrounded the Mishkan on four sides with four different camps. Our Sages tell us that so, too, in Heaven, Hashem surrounds Himself with four different camps of angels (see Midrash Shemos Rabah 2:9, quoted by Ramban, Bamidbar, end of 2:2). Perhaps it is these camps of angels that are referred to as the "heavenly Beis Ha'Mikdash." The heavenly Beis ha'Mikdash, then, is made up of the four camps of angels that are encamped around the Divine Presence. (See Bereishis 32:3, where a group of angels is referred to as a *Machaneh*. The encampments of the Jews which surrounded the Mishkan are also referred to as *Machaneh* in Bamidbar 2:3).

However, as long as Hashem had not yet fully revealed His presence on earth, and there was no earthly Beis Ha'Mikdash, the heavenly Beis Ha'Mikdash was also incomplete. Before Avraham Avinu came along there were not four Machanos of angels surrounding the Shechinah. There was a heavenly Beis ha'Mikdash (the one that preceded the creation of the world) but it consisted of only one wall surrounding the Shechinah, made up of one camp of angels -- one Machaneh Elokim. As the Avos began to reveal the presence of Hashem on earth to its inhabitants, the heavenly Beis Ha'Mikdash became more and more complete.

Avraham Avinu prayed at the place where the Beis ha'Mikdash would be built, opposite the heavenly Beis ha'Mikdash, and with his prayers he added an additional wall to the heavenly Beis ha'Mikdash -- a second Machaneh of angels. Machaneh (103) plus Machaneh (another 103) equals 206. That is why Avraham called it a "Har," the Gematria of which is 205. (A rule of Gematria often resorted to is that one may add 1 to the combined numerical value of a word's letters. This extra 1 corresponds to the word as a whole.)

Yitzchak prayed there and added another Machaneh of angels to the Heavenly Beis Ha'Mikdash, giving it a third "wall." Now that there were three Machanos, he referred to it as a "Sadeh" which has the Gematria of 309, or three times Machaneh (103).

When Yakov prayed there he added a fourth wall, making it a "Bayis," which has the Gematria of four times Machaneh (103), or 412, which is the value of "Bayis."

The Belzer Rebbe adds that the heavenly Beis Ha'Mikdash did not yet have a ceiling, just as the Mishkan in the desert had four walls but no ceiling, only a covering of cloth. Later on, before Moshe Rabeinu was taken away from the Jewish people, he was shown all of Eretz Yisrael, including the place of the Beis Ha'Mikdash (Rashi, Devarim 3:25). At that time Moshe Rabeinu also prayed for the completion of the heavenly Beis Ha'Mikdash. He prayed using the word, "Va'eschanan" (Devarim 3:23). He used this word because his prayer was to add a ceiling -- a fifth Machaneh of angels -- to the heavenly Beis Ha'Mikdash. Five times Machaneh is 515, exactly the Gematria of "Va'eschanan!" (See "Torah From the Internet," Judaica Press, Parshas Vayera)


QUESTION: The Mishnah discusses different cases of a person sending his servant to slaughter an animal for the Korban Pesach for him. If the servant, not knowing what type of animal his master prefers, slaughters both a goat and a sheep, then the Halachah is that the first one that was slaughtered serves as the Korban Pesach. The second animal that was slaughtered should be burned, Rashi says.

Why should it be burned? The person who sent the servant intended for only one animal to become Kadosh. Once the first animal is slaughtered, the second animal should be Chulin, since the servant was never appointed to make it Kadosh! Why, then, does Rashi say that the second animal must be burned?

ANSWER: Perhaps Rashi here is relying on his comments on the Gemara later (DH v'ha'Tanya). The Gemara asks that the Mishnah seems to hold "Yesh Bereirah" and that is why the first animal that was slaughtered is considered his Korban Pesach. However, we know that the Halachah is "Ein Bereirah," and therefore there should be a doubt which animal is the Korban Pesach, and both should be burned. This is the reason why Rashi says in the Mishnah that the second animal should be burned -- because of "Ein Bereirah." Why, then, does he eat the first animal? That is the question of the Gemara.

The Gemara answers that the Mishnah is discussing a Melech and a Malkah -- aristocratic people who always have whatever type of meat that they desire and thus they do not care whether a goat or a lamb is slaughtered for them.

According to this, when Rashi said that the second animal must be burned, that was only according to the original assumption of the Gemara. According to the Gemara's conclusion, though, the second animal will indeed be Chulin and need not be burned. This seems to be the intention of Rashi on the Gemara (DH b'Melech u'Malkah) when he says that the second animal "was slaughtered for nothing." That is, it was an extra, unnecessary Shechitah, but it does not have to be burned.

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