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Blog - Torah Insights

Jerusalem

When the Jewish people were camped at the bank of the Jordan River, ready to enter the land of Israel, Mosses had already given them almost all of the law. Yet, curiously, Mosses passed away without telling them one crucial piece of information: what was the location of the capital city of Israel? Where should they build the Holy Temple?

Contrast this to the Torah teaching so many minor details of the laws of the sacrifices, yet the place all this should happen is undisclosed. A number of times, in the book of Deuteronomy, Mosses uses the phrase “The place which G-d will choose to rest his name there”. Why couldn't he just tell us which place?

The answer is that G-d will choose Jerusalem only after the people themselves pick a place that they feel is appropriate for G-d's home. As the verse quoted above continues “You shall seek his presence and come there”. The verse teaches that only the human being, who is part and parcel of the physical reality, can create a permanent dwelling place for G-d in this physical world. Only once King David chose the site of Jerusalem as the place he felt would be the perfect home for G-d, did G-d, through the prophet, agree with the choice  thus establishing Jerusalem as the spiritual capital of the world.

It's fascinating to contemplate that all of the places that G-d chose for divine revelation - Mount Sinai, the location of the sanctuary while the Jewish people traveled in the dessert for forty years - were all temporary. The one place that was picked by a human being as a place for G-d to chose achieves permanent holiness.

Perhaps this is a lesson for our life. The gifts we receive, from parents, friends, teachers, as well as inspiration directly from G-d, will not have a permanent effect on our life unless we choose to get involved and become a partner. The inspiration will not change you unless you commit to do your part to “seek his presence” and take part in the building of your spiritual Jerusalem. 

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