Kuntres Beis Rabbeinu Sh’b’Bavel: The Place of the Beis Hamikdosh in Golus

Kuntres Beis Rabbeinu Sh’b’Bavel: The Place of the Beis Hamikdosh in Golus

“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): Continue reading

Kuntres Beis Rabbeinu Sh’b’Bavel: The Place of the Beis Hamikdosh in Golus

Kuntres Beis Rabbeinu Sh’b’Bavel: The Place of the Beis Hamikdosh in Golus

“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): Continue reading

Halachos of Torah sh’b’al Peh Will Never Be Nullified

What follows was compiled and edited by the Rebbe, “in conjunction with the completion of the sefer HaRambam”, from sichos spoken over the course of Rosh Hashono, Shabbos Chol Hamoed Sukkos, and Simchas Torah 5752.

In the Mishna Torah, the Rambam gives us an orderly presentation of the entire Torah sh’b’al Peh, a sefer of “halachos halachos”.  It possesses a special importance, comparable to the importance of the Torah sh’bichsav, which we learn out from the saying of our sages: “all the seforim of the Neviim and  Kesuvim will in the future be nullified to the Days of Moshiach,” which is not the case with halachos: “Halachos of the Torah sh’b’al Peh will never be nullified.”  (Which leads to the statement of the Rebbe [footnote 17 in the printed sicha] that the study of Rambam speeds up and accelerates [ממהרים ומזרזים] the time of Yemos Hamoshiach, at which time it will be revealed that the halachos are never nullified.)

The Rebbe then raises a question (based on something explained at length in Torah Chadasha, Shavuos 5751): there us a principle of Torah that the halacha goes according to Beis Hillel, but this is only in the time of golus; in the future, when the Beis Din Hagadol will return to Yerushalayim, the halacha will be like Beis Shammai (for Beis Shammai will be the majority in the future, and we rule according to the majority).  If so, we find that the present halachos (which are in accordance with Beis Hillel) will in fact be nullified in the future?!

More than this: it is known that according to several opinions “mitzvos will be nullified in the time to come” — at Techiyas Hameisim, which is in the second stage (2nd tekufah) of Yemos Hamoshiach.  This is learned out from a debate in the gemara about permitting burial shrouds to be woven out of “kilayim” (material made from a forbidden mixture of threads).  This is permitted, according to Rav Yosef, because “mitzvos will be nullified in the time to come”.  If so, then all of the halachos of the Torah sh’b’al Peh will be nullified in the future (in the second tekufah, Techiyas Hameisim) — if the mitzvos will be nullified, then it should follow that the halachos (the ruling of how to perform the mitzvos) will be nullified?

Mitzvos Will Be Nullified or Torah is Eternal?


To say that Mitzvos will be nullified is, apparently, a contradiction to the eternality of Torah.  And if one will say that Mitzvos are an inyan of “today to fulfill them” to be followed by “tomorrow to receive their reward” when they will be nullified — this is not a sufficient answer.  Why?  Because (as explained in Chassidus) Mitzvos represent Hashem’s ratzon, His Will, which is independent of any other purpose (such as refining the person or the world and bringing them to perfection).  Based on this, we have a strong question as to how Mitzvos, which “stand eternally”, could be said to be nullified in the time to come? Continue reading