Monday, August 4, 2014

Week 44 (Book 4a): Building G-d's House

 

STORY OF CHANNAH: 16. And (if) the man said to him, 'Let them make the fat smoke now, and (then) take for yourself, as your soul desires,' And he would say, 'No, but now you shall give. And if not, I shall take by force.'

PIRKEI AVOT ON G-D’S ACQUISITIONS: and one acquisition is the Holy Temple… The Holy Temple, as it is written (Exodus 15:17), "The base for Your dwelling that you,   G-d, have achieved; the Sanctuary, O L-rd, that Your hands have established"; and it says (Psalms 78:54), "And He brought them to His holy domain, this mount His right hand has acquired."

PSALM 127: A song of ascents about Solomon. If the Lord will not build a house, its builders have toiled at it in vain…

TZADIKKIM: Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (the Arizal, 5th of Av) and Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Horowitz (the Chozeh of Lublin, 9th of Av)

Week 44 is the week of Tisha B’Av, the third of the three weeks of mourning for the destruction of the Temple. The verse from the story of Channah speaks of how the sons of Eli would threaten to take a portion of the sacrifices by force, even before they were ready. Their behavior showed a great disdain for the laws of sacrifices and for the person bringing it. Their actions are reminiscent of the baseless hatred at the time of the destruction of the Temple on Tisha B’Av and of the corruption of the priests of those days as well.
The quotation from Pirkei Avot is about how the Temple is one of G-d’s acquisitions. The verses cited in support for this concept speak of how the Temple is G-d’s dwelling, which He established and acquired with His hands. In contrast, the sons of Eli spoke out of a sense of entitlement, as if the Tabernacle and the sacrifices were theirs. They placed their will before that of G-d, to Whom the Tabernacle truly belonged.

Chapter 127 in the Book of Psalms was said by King Solomon. The psalm is about building of the Temple, and how its success is totally dependent on G-d’s will. Failure to keep G-d’s will will lead to its ultimate destruction, as took place on Tisha B’Av. (See Rashi)
This week contains the yahrzeits of two of the greatest masters of Kabbalah and Chassidut: Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (the Arizal, father of Kabbalah as we know it, 5th of Av) and Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Horowitz (the Chozeh of Lublin, successor of Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk,9th of Av).

From Ascent:
Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (1534-5 Av 1572), Known as "the holy Ari," revolutionized the study of Kabbalah and its integration into mainstream Judaism during the two years he spent in Zefat before his death at 38. Much of Chasidic thought is based on the Ari's kabbalah teachings, as recorded by his main disciple, Rabbi Chaim Vital. (For a fuller biography) (For teachings of the Ari translated into English)

Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Horowitz (1745 - 9 Av 1815), known as 'the Chozeh (Seer) of Lublin', was the successor to R. Elimelech of Lizensk (1717-1787), and leader of the spread of chassidus in Poland. Many great Rebbes of the next generation emerged from his followers, including: the Yid HaKodesh, Simcha Bunim of Peshischa, Meir of Apta, David of Lelov, the Yismach Moshe, the Sabba Kadisha of Radoshitz, the Bnai Yisasscher, Rabbi Naftali Zvi of Ropshitz, the Maor Vashemesh and Sar Shalom of Belz. Many of his insights were published posthumously in Divrei Emmes, Zichron Zos, and Zos Zichron.
Other yahrzeits this week include Rabbi Shimshon Ostropolier (3rd of Av), Rabbi Chaim Yechezkel Taub of Ozorov (3rd of Av), Rabbi Yitzchak Twersky (first Skverer Rebbe in America, 3rd of Av), Rabbi Ephraim Taub of Kuzmir (4th of Av), Rabbi Benzion Halberstam (2nd Bobover Rebbe, 4th of Av)
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