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'"
What is the significance of the allusions to a "mountain," a "field" and a
(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
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
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
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
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 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.