Want to keep in the loop on the latest happenings at Chabad Lubavitch of Greenwich. Subscribe to our mailing list below. We'll send you information that is fresh, relevant, and important to you and our local community.
Printed from ChabadGreenwich.org

"He Dwells Between his Shoulders" - וזאת הברכה

Friday, 9 October, 2020 - 11:29 am

"He Dwells Between his Shoulders"

On the last day of his life Moses blessed each of the twelve tribes of Israel, tailoring the blessing to each tribe's unique contribution to the collective Jewish people. In his blessing to the tribe of Benjamin Moses refers to the temple which was destined to be built In the portion of Benjamin, blessing them that the Divine presence shall always dwell in the temple:

And of Benjamin he said, "The Lord's beloved one shall dwell securely beside Him; He protects him all day long, and He dwells between his shoulders." (Deuteronomy 33:12)

Rashi addresses the question of why, when describing the dwelling of the Divine presence in the temple, Moses uses the words “between his shoulders”, and explains that the expression refers to the location of the Temple Mount. It was a bit lower than the “head”, the highest point in the land of Benjamin, it was therefore referred to as “between the shoulders”, just as the shoulders are a bit lower than the head.

 As Rashi explains:

and dwells between his shoulders: The Holy Temple was built on the highest point of his [Benjamin’s] land, except that it was twenty-three cubits below the Eitam Well. Now, it was David’s intention to build it there [at the level of the Eitam Well], [However,] they said to David: “Let us build it a little lower, for Scripture states, ‘and He dwells between his shoulders’ [which are lower than the head] - and there is no part of an ox more beautiful than its shoulders.”

The topography on the temple mountain, lower than the “head”, was not an accident. The Rebbe explained that the metaphor of the “neck” captures the essence of the temple. Conventional wisdom is that the temple is a “head”, the most spiritual and lofty place, a place where we experience and are intune with the Divine presence. That is why David sought to build the temple on the highest peak in the region to symbolize that the temple is the place where we ascend to the highest place within the world. 

Moses, in his blessing to Benjamin teaches us that the purpose and function of the temple is to serve as the metaphoric “neck”, connecting the “head”, the holy and the spiritual with the figurative body which is the rest of the world. 

The same is true within each of our lives. We each possess a spiritual “head”, the part of our self that is spiritual, idealistic and pure. Yet the Torah teaches that the Divine presence dwells not in the “head“, but rather in the “neck”, which connects our spiritual and holy self with the rest of the body, allowing our spiritual, lofty soul to permeate every part of our existence.   

The topography of the temple mount symbolizes to us that the mission of the temple, is not to retreat to a spiritual haven, but rather to connect “head” the core of holiness within the world and within each of our souls, with the “body”, every part of the world and every part of our life.  

Adapted from the teachings of the Rebbe, Lekutei Sichos, Vayigash vol. 10 sicha 1.  

Comments on: "He Dwells Between his Shoulders" - וזאת הברכה
There are no comments.