The Collateral

March 6, 2016 at 5:31 PM , , ,

“…These are the numbers of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of the testimony…” – Shemot 38:21

אֵלֶּה פְקוּדֵי הַמִּשְׁכָּן מִשְׁכַּן הָעֵדֻת – שמות לח, כא

Rashi takes note of the Torah’s uncharacteristic repetition of the word mishkan in this verse, and explains it based on the similarity between the word mishkan, מִשְׁכָּן, and the word mashkon, מִשְׁכָּן, a security deposit. “This [repetition] alludes to the Mikdash, the Temple,” says Rashi, “which was taken as security by two destructions, due to Israel’s sins.” Meaning, that near the conclusion of the Torah’s discussion regarding the Mishkan, the verse hints to the First and Second Batei Mikdash, the Holy Temples that would one day replace the Mishkan.

Notably, the verse here hints not to the construction of the future Batei Mikdash, but to them being “taken as security” by two destructions! Paradoxically, in doing so, the Torah highlights the permanence and endurance of the Batei Mikdash—despite their destruction.

The Collateral

The purpose of a security deposit is merely to ensure the fulfillment of a pledge or the payment of a debt, after which, the security deposit itself is returned. Though it changes hands for the duration of the out standing debt, the security remains in tact until it is returned eventually to it’s owner.

Thus, by referring to the Batei Mikdash as a security, the Torah is emphasizing their endurance. The Batei Mikdash embodied G-d’s desire for a permanent presence among the Jewish people. Their destruction did not represent that the Batei Mikdash were deficient in their fulfillment of this desire, but that due to outside causes—“Israel’s sins,” in Rashi’s wordsthe Jewish people’s access to the Batei Mikdash has been temporarily taken away. From G-d’s perspective, however, He merely took the First Temple, and likewise the Second, as security, intending to return them and everything they stand for when the time comes. May it be soon.

—Likutei Sichos, vol. 11, pp. 175-178


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