“I will be for them a small sanctuary (mikdash me’at) in the lands where they will come.” (Yechezkiel 11:16)
Our sages explain this psouk to mean that even outside of Eretz Yisroel, in the place and time of golus, there is a “small mikdash” which is a scaled-down example of the “great mikdash” in Yerushalayim. Rebbi Yitzchok in the gemora (Megillah 29a) said that these are the shuls and study halls in Bovel (Babylon), and Rebbi Eliezer said that this is “Beis Rabbeinu sh’b’Bovel” — “the house of our Rebbe in Bovel”.
The Rebbe, as might be expected, holds that these two sages do not have an argument, that each one surely agrees with the opinion of the other; the only difference is what they consider to be the main and most important fulfillment of the prophecy of “mikdash me’at“. Rebbi Eliezer holds that it is the study hall (place of learning) and shul (place of Tefilla) of “Rabbeinu”. Every shul possesses this quality in a small measure, but the primary and most complete manifestation of it is in the shul and study hall of the Rav whose Torah decisions are followed by the people of the city. And, in a fuller sense, there is one place which is the main “mikdash me’at” in the time of golus: the shul and study hall of the leader of the generation.
Our sages state that “Everywhere that Yisroel were exiled, the Shechina was exiled with them.” The sages in our gemora asked where in Bovel is the Shechina to be found? Abaye answered: in the shul of Hutzal and the shul of Shaf v’Yosiv in Nehardea — sometimes here and sometimes there. These were two unique shuls in Bovel, the first being close to the study hall of the revered Ezra the Sofer, the second being built from stones that were brought from the Beis Hamikdosh in Yerushalayim and “the Shechina was always found there” (Rashi). It called “Shaf v’Yosiv” (meaning “uprooted and [re]settled”) to indicate that “the Mikdash travelled and settled there”. It was literally the Beis Hamidkash of that generation, as “the revelation of the Shechina that was in the Beis Hamikdosh in Yerushalayim (and nowhere else) traveled and settled in this special place in Bovel, in place of the Mikdash in Yerushalayim.“
Of course, the Shechina dwells in every shul where Jews gather for Tefillah, and every study hall where they learn Torah, but nowhere is the Shechina more revealed than in the Beis Hamikdosh in Yerushalayim, or (in the time of golus) in these special buildings. Similarly we find that “in the future the shuls and study halls of Bovel will be established in Eretz Yisroel” — this is true of every shul and study hall, all of which will be connected to the Third Beis Hamikdosh in Yerushalayim. And when these places are relocated to Eretz Yisroel, the revelation of the Shechina will also return to Eretz Yisroel, and there will no longer be a revelation of the Shechina outside the land of Israel where the “mikdash me’at” stood. The Rebbe adds (quoting the Maharsha):
According to this we find something even greater about the level of the “mikdash me’at” — that since “in the rebuilt Yerushalayim of the future, all the places of shuls that existed in olam hazeh will be connected to the Beis Hamikdosh”, “it comes out that now in golus…a shul is the actual place of the future Mikdash”.
The Rebbe adds that the connection to the Beis Hamikdosh in Yerushalayim will be according to the level of the shuls that existed in golus; that those special shuls (the “Beis Rabbeinu sh’b’Bovel” in every generation: Hutzal, Shaf v’Yosiv, etc.) will be first in their connection to the Beis Hamikdosh, for they will be literally connected to the Beis Hamikdosh (with nothing intervening), and through them the other shuls that were in the lands of the nations will be connected to the Beis Hamikdosh.
And more than this: the future Beis Hamikdosh (which is “built and prepared will be revealed and will come from Shomayim”) will be revealed first in the place where “the Mikdash traveled and settled there” in the time of golus ([meaning] “Beis Rabbeinu sh’b’Bovel“), and from there it will relocate to its place in Yerushalayim.
The indwelling and revelation of the Shechina in the primary “mikdash me’at” in Bovel (“the Mikdash traveled and settled there”) this is also when “they are redeemed” — as explained there in the gemora that “even when they are redeemed, the Shechina is with them…the Holy One returns with them from among the exiles”. This means to say, that even in the final moment of the exile, the Shechina is found in the place where Yisroel were exiled, “the Mikdash traveled and settled there”, and from there the Holy One returns with all of Bnei Yisroel to the Mikdash in Yerushalayim…
And since the Holy One returns with them…from the “mikdash me’at” (“Beis Rabbeinu sh’b’Bovel“)…it comes out that the Geuloh of the Shechina begins and is generated (נעשית) in this place, the complete full-force revelation (בכל התוקף)…which is the inyan of the future Mikdash.
The Rebbe clarifies a second time that the place of the special “mikdash me’at“, called “Beis Rabbeinu sh’b’Bovel“, is where the Shechina will first be revealed, and from there will afterwards relocate to its place in Yerushalayim. The Rebbe now asserts an amazing Chiddush:
Maybe we can say that there is a hint in the words of the Rambam (in Hilchos Melech Hamoshiach) “he builds [a] mikdash in it’s place” ובנה מקדש במקומו — seemingly, what need is there to inform us here that the building of the Mikdash is “in its place”? Or, on the other hand, why doesn’t he state explicitly the place, “he builds a [a] mikdash in Yerushalayim“? The explanation: the word “in its place” במקומו should be translated “in his place”‘ hinting also at the place of Melech Hamoshiach in the time of golus (before “behold this is certainly Moshiach”), meaning while he is still in golus…Melech Hamoshiach builds the Mikdash (me’at) which is a scaled-down example (מעין ודוגמת) of the Mikdash in Yerushalayim as a preparation for the future Mikdash, which will first be revealed there, and from there will return (with the Holy One and Bnei Yisroel) to Yerushalayim.*
The House of the Nosi — “He is Everything”
The Rebbe at this point (section 5) emphasizes that the name given for this “mikdash me’at” in the time of golus is “Beis Rabbeinu”, emphasizing that the special quality that it possesses (as the most complete manifestation of the Beis Hamikdosh in the time of golus) is because it is that house (shul and study hall) of Rabbeinu — the leader of the generation (Nosi Hador). As we know from Rashi: “the Nosi is everything” הנשיא הוא הכל.
The main reason for the presence of the Shechina in the Beis Hamikdosh is in Yisroel — because of them and within them. Similarly, in our case — the Shechina goes with Yisroel to all their places of exile because Yisroel are beloved to Hashem. And the revelation of the Shechina in the Beis Hamikdosh (and, on a smaller scale, in every shul and study hall) is because of the large number of Yidden that congregate there. In the Beis Hamikdosh it was all of Bnei Yisroel, in the shuls of the world, it is a small number. Thus, the special quality of Beis Rabbeinu is that because the Nosi Hador is found there — all Yisroel are found there (since “the Nosi is everything”)! And from there, the revelation of the Shechina is drawn to each shul and study hall — the light of Beis Rabbeinu goes out to illumine the entire world.
The house of the Nosi Hador, who includes the entire generation, is an example of “Talpios”, “the tel (hill) that all mouths turn to”, as our sages teach regarding the Beis Hamikdosh….** And mainly, as regards the Geuloh: “Rabbeinu” is the Nosi Hador, who is also the Moshiach (the redeemer of Yisroel) of the generation…as is known that in every generation there is “one who is fitting in his righteousness to be the redeemer, and when the time will arrive Hashem will reveal Himself to him and send him, etc.;” And it is reasonable to say that he is the Nosi Hador, as stated explicitly in the gemora regarding Rebbi Yehuda HaNosi: “Rav said ‘if [Moshiach] is from the living he is Rabbeinu Hakadosh’, the Nosi Hador.
On the quote from the gemora “Rav said”, the Rebbe adds in footnote #57: “[Rav was] Rabbeinu sh’b’Bovel, who is like Rabbeinu Hakadosh in Eretz Yisroel — and based on this we can say that Rav’s saying that ‘he [Moshiach] is Rabbeinu Hakadosh’ he is ruling as regards himself that ‘he is Rabbeinu sh’b’Bovel'”. In other words (if they are necessary) — the Rebbe is revealing that all that is being said here that the Nosi Hador is the Moshiach of the generation is a case of the Rebbe ruling as regards himself!
Returning to the place of the “mikdash me’at“, the Rebbe states that the main inyan of Beis Rabbeinu sh’b’Bovel is to gather all of the shuls and study halls in Bovel and establish them in Eretz Yisroel, connected to the Beis Hamikdosh — this means that it is not merely the main “mikdash me’at” but also “the very place of the future Beis Hamikdosh, the place where the future Beis Hamikdosh will be revealed, and from there it will return to Jerusalem…. And in our generation — the house (shul and study hall) of my father-in-law the Rebbe, the Nosi Hador.” The Rebbe mentions here the “ten exiles” experienced by Lubavitch, culminating in the arrival of the Rebbe Rayatz to 770, from which “kedusha does not budge from its place”, but rather grows by leaps and bounds until the coming of the righteous redeemer. From America, the lowest place, the entire world is elevated. And the entire realm of “chutz la’aretz” becomes transformed and elevated to the level of Eretz Yisroel, and Eretz Yisroel is elevated to the level of Yerushalayim, where all the shuls and study halls will be attached to the Beis Hamikdosh “via Moshiach Tzidkeinu, Nosi Hador, who is Moshiach (the redeemer of Yisroel) of the generation, and furthermore and primarily he is the Nosi of Toras HaChassidus, and by spreading it forth we bring about the coming of the King Moshiach מלכא משיחא.” The Rebbe repeats that in this Beis Rabbeinu sh’b’Bovel the future Beis Hamikdosh will first be revealed, and from there return to Yerushalayim.
The Rebbe proceeds to make it clear that “Rabbeinu” refers to the Rebbe Rayatz, explaining how it can be learned out from his names (Yosef and Yitzchok), and that “Beis” refers to 770 Eastern Parkway, explaining the significance of the number 770 (the perfection of the number 7, the number associated with the world). The work of refining the world was completed in his 7th decade “including also the continuation of the avoidah in the following years by the 7th generation” (this is the Rebbe, as is known), to such a point that Beis Rabbeinu (770) is the aspect of “Talpios”, “the hill to which all mouths turn”**, and expresses a desire that the building should be expanded.
The Rebbe concludes the sicha:
May it be Hashem’s will that even before Beis Rabbeinu sh’b’Bovel is expanded, the future Mikdash will be revealed and descend from Shomayim…the 3rd Beis Hamikdosh…which will be revealed first in Beis Rabbeinu sh’b’Bovel, which is also a “three-fold house”, a shul (tefillah), a study hall (Torah), and a house of good deeds (gemilas chasodim), and from there it will return to Yerushalayim, together will all the shuls and study halls in the entire world which will be established in the land of Israel and in Yerushalayim, connected to the mikdash, together with the entire Bnei Yisroel from across the entire world…immediately mamash.
* Often overlooked, this hint is found in a halacha of the Rambam — meaning it is not a midrash or a clever chiddush that lacks practical application; rather, it is a hint in the halacha of what establishes our recognition of Moshiach: that he builds the Beis Hamikdosh in the place where he is in golus.
** “We find that all of Israel turn in their prayers to one place, meaning towards Yerushalayim and the Beis Hamikdosh, where the gates of Shomayim are, for all the tefillos ascend through there. Therefore, the Beis Hamikdosh is called Talpios…the hill that all mouths turn to.” (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 18:10, which direction to face during tefillah).