Lecture 45: The History of the Resting of the Shekhina - Why Doesn't the Torah Mention Jerusalem By Name?

  • Rav Yitzchak Levy

 

 

INTRODUCTION[1]

 

            In this lecture, we will deal with the question of why there is no explicit mention in the Torah of the city of Jerusalem and the site of the Mikdash, but only allusions to them. A clarification of this issue will serve as an introduction to the next lecture, which will deal with the substance of the allusions to Jerusalem in the Torah.

 

A.        JERUSALEM IS MERELY ALLUDED TO IN THE TORAH

 

Surprisingly,[2] the full name of the city of Jerusalem does not appear in the Torah. Jerusalem is first mentioned in the book of Yehoshua:

 

Now it came to pass, when Adoni-Tzedek king of Jerusalem had heard how Yehoshua had taken Ay… (Yehoshua 10:1)

 

            There are, however, several allusions to the city in the Torah:

 

     ·In the book of Bereishit, there are two allusions to Jerusalem, both in connection with Avraham:

 

     q  In chapter 15, Malkitzedek, king of Shalem, identified with Jerusalem,[3] goes out to greet Avraham when he returns from his victory over the four kings.

 

     q  In chapter 22, Avraham is commanded to offer his son Yitzchak as a burnt offering on Mount Moriya, which is also located in Jerusalem.[4]

 

     ·As we saw in the previous lecture, throughout the book of Devarim, the Torah frequently (21 times) refers to "the place which the Lord shall choose." It will later become clear that this expression also refers to Jerusalem,[5] but it does not spell out the name of the city, but rather emphasizes the Torah's intentional concealment of Jerusalem.

 

     ·In Moshe's blessing to Binyamin, the Torah hints that the tribal territory of Binyamin is the site of the resting of the Shekhina: "And of Binyamin he said, 'The beloved of the Lord, he shall dwell in safety by Him; He shall cover him all the day long, and He shall dwell between his shoulders'" (Devarim 33:12). And indeed, when the tribal territories are allocated, Jerusalem is found in the territory of Binyamin.

 

The fact that there are several allusions to Jerusalem in the Torah but its full name appears nowhere raises a serious difficulty. Why is the future capital of the kingdom of Israel, and more importantly, the future resting-place of the Shekhina for all generations, not explicitly mentioned by name in the Torah?

 

Such an omission cannot be accidental. We will now try to examine the reasons for the Torah's failure to mention Jerusalem.[6]

 

B.        WHY ISN'T JERUSALEM MENTIONED IN THE TORAH BY ITS FULL NAME?

 

The commentators offer many answers to this question; we will limit ourselves here to what we judge to be the most convincing answers. In our usual manner, in addition to our attempt to understand the plain sense of Scripture, we will relate to the various understandings of the verses, citing the words of Chazal, the Rishonim and the Acharonim (arranged here in substantive, rather than chronological order).

 

1)         The Place was concealed in order to prevent alien worship at the site[7]

 

One of the primary objectives of the book of Bereishit is to abolish the idol worship that ruled the world, and this by way of the patriarchs' calling in the name of God. One expression of this tendency is the Torah's reference to the land of Emori by the name Moriya, thus canceling the alien name through the omission of letter alef, and turning it into a holy name.

 

This approach fits in with the tendency to give names to idolatrous sites and to interpret place names in a way that uproots the idolatrous myths. Wishing to uproot idol worship from Eretz Israel in general and from the site of the Mikdash in particular, the Torah refers to the area as "Eretz Ha-Moriya" without spelling out the precise location.

 

It is precisely for this reason that it was necessary that the place seen by Avraham, the site of the akeida, not become known to the people before being selected by God as the site of the Mikdash so that it not be defiled by idol worship. (For the same reason, the locations of Mount Sinai and Har Nevo were concealed - so that they not turn into sites of idolatrous rituals.) Even the allusions given to us by Chazal regarding the name of Jerusalem – the combination of yir'eh and shalem – were meant to conceal the name of Jerusalem itself.

 

2)         The revelation of Jerusalem is conditioned upon an appropriate spiritual and governmental reality

 

Four hundred years passed from the time of the conquest of the land by Yehoshua until the conquest of the city of Jerusalem by David (see I Melakhim 6:1). What is the meaning of this?[8] In addition, it is interesting to note that for all practical purposes the city emerges from its concealment only a short time before the revelation of the site of the Mikdash and its construction. Why does Jerusalem remain hidden for such a long period of time?

 

The answer to these questions is that in order to reach the permanent Temple for the resting of the Shekhina, several conditions must first be met. In the book of Devarim, the Torah states: "For you are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the Lord your God gives you" (Devarim 12:9).[9] The Divine selection of the place is conditioned on the people of Israel coming to the rest and to the inheritance. These are not technical concepts, but rather spiritual steps in the building of the nation, which include:

 

       ¨         The appointment of a king, which gives expression to permanent political rule, including a fixed monarchal dynasty, as God says to David: "And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel; but I will give you rest from all your enemies, and the Lord tells you that He will make you a house" (II Shmuel 7:11).

 

       ¨         Rest from the nations, as is stated in the Torah: "But when you traverse the Jordan, and dwell in the land which the lord your God gives you to inherit, and when He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in  safety; then there shall be a place which the Lord your God shall choose to cause His name to dwell there" (Devarim 12:10-11)

 

       ¨         It also appears that the phrase refers to the nation's capacity to absorb, from a spiritual perspective, the reality of the permanent resting of the Shekhina in one place.

 

The gemara states as follows:

 

And similarly Rabbi Yehuda would say: Israel was given three commandments upon their entry into the Land: to set a king over them, to wipe out the seed of Amalek, and to build themselves the Temple. (Sanhedrin 20b)

 

            It is interesting to note that these three mitzvot – appointing a king, destroying Amalek and building the Mikdash – all depend upon a prophet. While it is nowhere stated that these three mitzvot depend upon a prophetic command, the fact is that in the end they find expression through a prophet (a king – in the days of Shmuel, Amalek – through Shaul, and the building of the Mikdash – in the days of David and Shlomo).

 

            This testifies to the fact that the people of Israel are fit for prophecy is the preparation that will later make it possible for the Shekhina to rest in the Mikdash.[10] According to this understanding, the concealment of the place was meant to bring the people of Israel to seek this intimacy and level. This required time and spiritual processes that would bring the people to the permanent resting of the Shekhina in the Mikdash in Jerusalem. The political and spiritual processes that the prophet Shmuel leads with his anointing of David as king, David's arrival in Jerusalem after having unified the tribes, and David's discovery of the site of the Mikdash and Shlomo's building of it in a time of peace, economic prosperity, and rising international esteem – all of these were necessary preparations for the revelation of Jerusalem and the site of the Mikdash.

 

According to this approach, the Torah concealed the name of Jerusalem because the people had to first undergo spiritual and political development that would make its revelation possible.[11]

 

3)         Jerusalem will become revealed when people yearn for it with utmost yearning[12]

 

Regarding the verse: "But to the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put His name there…" (Devarim 12:5), the Sifrei states:

 

"But to the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes" – seek in accordance with the prophet… You might say that you should wait until the prophet tells you. Therefore, the verse states: "There shall you seek Him, at His dwelling, and there shall you come" – seek and find and afterwards the prophet will tell you. And similarly you find regarding David, as it is stated: "Remember to David's favor all his afflictions; how he swore to the Lord, and vowed to the mighty God of Ya'akov: 'Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house… nor give sleep to my eyes… until I find out a place for the Lord, a habitation for the mighty One of Ya'akov'" (Tehillim 132:1-5). (Sifrei Devarim, 62)

 

            The midrash tries to explain the meaning of the unusual command to seek out the place. Mitzvot obligating us to seek something out are rare, but here, regarding the place which God shall choose, the Torah commands us to seek out God's dwelling place. The gemara derives a similar obligation to seek from a verse in Yirmiyahu: "'This is Zion, whom no one seeks out' (30:17) – this implies that it requires seeking out" (Rosh Ha-Shana 30a).

 

            The people of Israel are not informed of the location of Jerusalem and the Mikdash, which are defined as the places that the Lord shall choose to rest His name there. The place exists, but the people of Israel do not know where it is,[13] and it is their obligation to seek it out and find it.

 

            What this obligation means is that God wishes to rest His Shekhina in a particular place, provided that the people of Israel desire this closeness and are ready to invest physical and emotional effort in searching for and finding it. Like in the case of David, who swore not to give sleep to his eyes until he found the site of the Mikdash, a similar demand made of the entire people of Israel. The place itself expresses the ultimate closeness between God and Israel, and therefore God says to us, as it were: "Do you desire My closeness? Seek out the place, search for it and find it."

 

            A similar approach arises from the words of Rashi on Hashem’s command to Avraham to go the Land of Canaan:

 

He did not reveal to him at once which land it was in order that he should hold it in high esteem and in order to reward him for complying with each and every command. Similar is, "Take your son, your only son, which you love, even Yitzchak" (Bereishit 22:2). Similar is, "Upon one of the mountains which I will tell you of" (ibid.). (Rashi, Bereishit 12:2, s.v. asher ar'eka)

 

            That is to say, the failure to spell out the precise location in the leck lekha and akeida stories was meant to endear the place to Avraham and to reward him for carrying out each element of the command.

 

            Thus far we have presented two similar understandings, according to which the Torah refrains from precisely defining a place (the place of the akeida or the place which the Lord shall choose) in order to create a more meaningful connection to it. The Sifrei emphasizes the human obligation to seek out, whereas Rashi notes the endearment of the place and the additional reward that it offers – reward for each element of the command.

 

4) Reaching Jerusalem depends upon the unity of the people of Israel

 

            The Rambam writes with respect to Mount Moriya:

 

The fact that this place is not stated explicitly when mentioned in the Torah and not designated, but only hinted at by means of the words, "Which the Lord shall choose," is due, in my opinion, to three wise considerations. The first is, lest nations should hold fast to the place and fight for it with great violence, knowing as they do that this place is the final purpose of the Law on earth. The second is, lest those who then owned the place ravage and devastate it to the limit of their power. The third, and it is the strongest, lest every tribe should demand that this place be within its allotted portion and should seek to conquer it, which would lead to conflict and sedition, such as happened with regard to the priesthood. Therefore, the command was given that the Chosen Temple should only be built after the elevation of a king, so that only one would be qualified to give commands and quarrels would cease… (Guide of the Perplexed, III: 45)

 

            The first two answers are connected to the nations of the world and are based on the same argument: Had the nations of the world been aware of the importance of the place, they would have radically opposed – through war or physical destruction of the place - allowing it to come into Israel's possession.[14]

 

            The third and most important reason is connected to the people of Israel, and here the Rambam refers us to the Baraita in Sanhedrin cited above. There, the gemara concludes that the order in which the three mitzvot are performed is indispensable for their fulfillment: the appointment of a king must precede the destruction of Amalek, and the destruction of Amalek must precede the building of the Mikdash (the Rambam rules similarly in Hilkhot Melakhim 1:1-2). According to what the Rambam says in his Guide, the establishment of the monarchy must precede the building of the Temple so as to prevent conflict and because of the fundamental principle that the place upon which it is built must belong to the entire people of Israel; its acquisition cannot be by way of tribal conquest.

 

            The Rambam's words make an interesting and fundamental assertion. According to him, owing to its elevated mission as the site of the resting of the Shekhina, Mount Moriya must only be reached through unity. For this reason, the establishment of the monarchy, one of whose tasks is the prevention of conflict and the creation of a unified rule, must precede the building of the Temple. There is an essential connection between Jerusalem in general and the Mikdash in particular and the unity of Israel.[15]

 

            The fact that Jerusalem is the place that gives expression to the unity of Israel is central and fundamental to its existence. This fact emerges in various places in Scripture and in rabbinic sources. Here are a few examples:

 

        · According to Chazal, "Jerusalem was not divided among the tribes."[16] In other words, the city belongs to the entire nation of Israel, no tribe having any greater right to it than any other. This position has been accepted as law,[17] and therefore there is no private ownership in Jerusalem.[18]

 

        · David selects the city which lies on the border between Binyamin and Yehuda in an attempt to unify the two opposing tribes, who respectively represent the descendants of Rachel and those of Leah.[19]

 

        · Moreover, David's chooses the city immediately following his appointment as king over all of Israel, and in this way he expresses his desire to unify all of Israel and to rule over the entire nation in a new capital city.

 

        · Regarding the verse, "O Jerusalem, built as a city that is compact (she-chubera) together" (Tehillim 122:3), the Yerushalmi expounds (Chagiga 3, 79d): "A city that turns all of Israel into friends (chaverim)." The Yerushalmi is referring here to the time of the pilgrimage festivals, when the usual separation between chaverim, who eat even non-consecrated foods in ritual purity, and the amei ha-aratzot is not in force, because at this time everybody is presumed to be ritually pure. What underlies this law is the desire on the part of all of Israel to stand unified before God.

 

The character of the site of the Mikdash as expressing the unity of Israel manifests itself in the purchase of that site and in the Mikdash's functioning:

 

     ·David purchases the site of the Mikdash with money belonging to all of Israel (six hundred shekalim, fifty shekalim from each tribe).[20]

 

     ·The mishmarot and the ma'amadot performing the Temple service are comprised of representatives of the entire nation, and thus give expression to the participation of the entire people in the Temple service.

 

     ·The annual half-shekel payment that every member of Israel has to make to finance the Temple service also gives expression to the participation of all of Israel in the building of the Mikdash.

 

These characteristics of the city accord with the understanding that Jerusalem cannot be attained by individuals or in state of division, but rather solely out of the unity of all of Israel.

 

Chazal's interpretation of the name of the city as connected to peace – shalom – is certainly relevant to this understanding:[21]

 

"To the chief musician on strings, a psalm of Assaf, a poem: In Yehuda is God known (Tehillim 76:1-2)… Another explanation: When will God be known in Yehuda – when He raises up that tabernacle about which it is said: "On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen" (Amos 9:11). The Holy One, blessed be He, said: Avraham called it "Yir'eh," as it is stated: "And Avraham called the name of that place Adonay-Yir'eh; as it is said to this day, In the mount the Lord will appear" (Bereishit 22:14). And Shem called it "Shalem," as it is stated: "And Malki-Tzedek king of Shalem brought out bread and wine, etc." (Bereishit 14:18). If I call it "Yir'eh," in the way that Avraham called it, Shem will become angry. And if I call it "Shalem," in the way that Shem called it, Avraham will become angry. Rather, I will call it in the way that the two of them called it, "Yerushalayim," "Yir'eh-Shalom." (Yalkut Shim'oni Tehillim 76, sec. 814).

 

5.         Jerusalem must be conquered by a kingdom ruling over all of Israel

 

It is interesting that the Radak sees the kingdom as a condition for something slightly different:

 

"The king and his men went" – and in Divrei Ha-yamim (I Divrei Ha-yamim 11:4): "David and all of Israel went." For all of Israel were now his men. And once he ruled over all of Israel, he went to Jerusalem to capture the stronghold of Zion. For they had a tradition that Zion was the beginning of the kingdom of Israel, and it would only be captured by someone who ruled as king over all of Israel. And until now the kingdom of Israel did not survive, for Shaul's kingdom did not survive. (Radak, II Shmuel 5:6)

 

The Radak relates to the second question that was raised at the beginning of this section: Why was Jerusalem never conquered during the entire period between the conquest of the land in the days of Yehoshua and the days of David? The Radak answers that there was a tradition that the city would only be conquered by a king ruling over all of Israel.

 

Whereas the Rambam emphasizes the connection between the monarchy and unity as a condition for reaching the Mikdash on Mount Moriya, the Radak views the existence of a kingdom over all of Israel as a condition for conquering the city of Jerusalem.

 

The common denominator between the explanations of the Rambam and the Radak is the conditioning of reaching Jerusalem or the Mikdash on Mount Moriya upon kingdom and unity. This conditioning is connected to the understanding that these places are themselves sites of kingship: Jerusalem is the capital of the kingdom of Israel, and the Mikdash is the seat of God's kingdom.[22] This connection makes it possible to combine the explanations of the Rambam and the Radak, even though each of them relates to a different issue.

 

Before concluding this section, I wish to mention that it would appear from the words of the Rambam that the people of Israel did not know the site of the Mikdash, even though it might have been possible to understand from the Torah that the Mikdash would be built on the site of the akeida. As Rabbenu Bachye writes:

 

… Therefore Scripture conceals the place and fails to make it known. Needless to say that it was not known to the nations [of the world]; it was not even known to Israel. For even though everybody knew the virtues of Mount Moriya, they did not know that it was "the place which the Lord shall choose" (Devarim 12:5).

 

6)         There is one place and it is God who chooses it

 

The Abravanel writes:

 

The sanctified place must be one, like the oneness of God, blessed be He, who dwells within it, and there must not be many places, like the places of the nations… It must also be chosen by God and by way of a prophet, and not according to the desire of the worshippers and what enters their minds. This is "which the Lord your God shall choose from all your tribes." Even in that place, you who worship and sacrifice must not be like the nations. Rather it falls upon you to "seek Him, at His dwelling, and there shall you come." That is to say, you must seek out the site of His dwelling by way of a prophet, and not that you choose it. (Abravanel, Devarim 12:4)

 

            The Abravanel emphasizes two points: 1) that God's chosen place must be one, and not many, like the places of idol worship; 2) that the place must be chosen by God.

 

            Even according to the Abravanel, however, the place will be chosen by God and given to the people of Israel by way of a prophet, but the people are duty bound to seek out the place and God's closeness.

 

7)         The place was concealed so that the earlier stations of the Mishkan not be treated with derision

 

The Keli Yakar writes in his commentary to Devarim 12:4:

 

For this reason, it was not revealed – so that they not treat Shilo, Nov, and Giv'on with derision when they know with certainty that these are not the rest and the inheritance.

 

            According to the Keli Yakar, the words "the place which the Lord shall choose" relate exclusively to Jerusalem – the final and permanent station of the Mikdash. The Torah did not identify the site in order to prevent scorn and the feeling of impermanence regarding the stations along the way, namely, regarding the places where the Mishkan would temporarily rest before it comes to Jerusalem.[23]

 

***

 

            The overall conclusion of this lecture is that the choice of Jerusalem was concealed not by accident, but intentionally. In addition, we saw that this concealment can be explained in various ways: so that the site not turn into a site of idol worship; so that the people of Israel undergo a spiritual and political process that would prepare them for the permanent revelation of the Shekhina in one place; in order to prevent conflict or destruction of the place at the hands of the nations of the world; the desire to arrive at the place out of internal unity; in order to reach the place by way of a king who would rule over all of Israel; the need for the people of Israel to seek out and search for the place; the exclusivity of the Divine selection; and the desire to prevent derision of the various stations on the way to Jerusalem.

 

            Each of these factors stresses a different aspect of the situation; rather than contradict each other, they complement each other. Combining all of these arguments, Jerusalem and the Mikdash stand out as the site of the unity of all of Israel, as the seat of the monarchy, and as a place that must be sought out,[24] a place designated for the worship of God rather than idols, a place that the people of Israel will reach by way of the building of a kingdom. And indeed, Jerusalem embraces all of these ideas.

 

(Translated by David Strauss)

 

 

[1] We dealt with this issue (and with the topic of the territory of Binyamin as the territory of the Shekhina – the subject of the upcoming lectures) in our series of lectures on Jerusalem. Since then, we have expanded the discussion, and in this lecture we relate to additional aspects of the issues.

[2] One might have expected that Jerusalem, which would later play such a central role in the history of the kingdom of Israel, would already be mentioned in the Torah. For example, it could have been mentioned as a Yevusi city alongside other non-Jewish cities, such as the Chivi city of Shekhem (Bereishit 34) and the Chiti city of Hebron (Bereishit 23). The Torah explicitly mentions Mount Gerizim and Mount Eival (Devarim 11:29-30, 27:4, 12-13), and one might certainly have expected that the Torah would have noted that the people of Israel would eventually arrive in Jerusalem and build the Temple there.

[3] This identification is based on the correspondence between "Shalem" and Zion in Tehillim (76:3): "In Shalem also is His tabernacle, and His dwelling place is in Zion." The parallelism indicates that Shalem is Zion. We will expand upon this point in future lectures.

[4] That Mount Moriya is located in Jerusalem is stated explicitly in II Divrei Ha-yamim 3:1: "Then Shelomo began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in Mount Moriya, where the Lord appeared to David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshing floor of Ornan the Yevusite." This identification is accepted by all, with the exception of the Samaritans. In future lectures, we will expand upon this point as well.

[5] The expression, "the place which the Lord shall choose" (e.g., in Devarim 12:5 and on) refers to the entire city of Jerusalem, as it is also used in connection with the eating of sacrifices of lesser sanctity and the second-tithe, both of which may be eaten in the entire city. Nevertheless, the Rambam in his Guide of the Perplexed (see below) speaks specifically about Mount Moriya, even though he later mentions this expression as well. In any event, regarding the concealment of the place, there is no distinction between Jerusalem and Mount Moriya.

[6] Yaira Amit, in her article, "Tafkid Ha-Tziyunim Ha-Topografiyim Be-Sippur Ha-Mikra'i" (in Shenaton Le-Mikra U-Le-Cheker Ha-Mizrach Ha-Kadum, vol. IX), makes an interesting comment regarding the king of the city of Shalem (pp. 21-22):

"In the account of the meeting between Avraham and Malkitzedek, king of Shalem, no explicit mention is made of Jerusalem. The place-name that is mentioned is Shalem… The peaceful encounter with the king of the city of Shalem, a member of the dynasty of Tzedek, who serves as a priest to the most high God and blesses Avraham in the name of the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, and also the mention of the bread, the wine, and the tithe, all of which are connected to religious ritual – all of these things connect the place to Jerusalem, which will eventually fill the role of city of justice and peace, and the place where God chooses to rest His name. Without a doubt, this encounter with Avraham comes to teach about the unique and important nature of the place, and all this while refraining from mentioning its accepted name: Jerusalem. This early allusion to Jerusalem clarifies for the reader who reads on that David's selection of Jerusalem was not based solely on political-social considerations. His choice was a realization of the ancient essence of the city, as it was already revealed to Avraham."

Amit argues that it is precisely by refraining from mentioning the commonly accepted name of the place that the Torah highlights it. This is also her argument regarding the akeida, which takes place on one of the mountains in the land of Moriya, when the reference is, in fact, to a very specific mountain. The verse, "As it is said to this day, 'In the mount the Lord will appear,'" creates a connection to Jerusalem without it being explicitly written. The verse in II Divrei Ha-yamim 3:1 (cited in note 4 above) connects Mount Moriya to Jerusalem. According to Amit, the Torah assumes that the allusion suffices to connect the place to Jerusalem, and in similar fashion she explains the Torah's systematic failure to mention Jerusalem in the book of Devarim. In other words, the name of the city is not explicitly mentioned, but there are several allusions that connect the biblical text to the city.

[7] This opinion is expressed by Dr. Yechiel Bin Nun in his article, Eretz Ha-Moriya, in Sefer Eretz Moriya, pp. 40-41.

[8] In the future, we will deal with this question in more direct manner. We mention it here in order to give an overall answer to the two problems.

[9] The halakhic dimension of these concepts is discussed at length with respect to the relationship between Shilo and Jerusalem (especially in Zevachim 110a). We dealt with the various opinions in the lecture dealing with "the place which the Lord shall choose."

[10] We do not find that Israel had to reach a special spiritual level before the Temple could be built. All that is necessary is prophetic intervention in the appointment of the king, the destruction of Amalek, and the building of the Mikdash. I thank my revered teacher Rav Yoel Bin Nun for sharpening this point.

[11] Rav Yuval Sherlo, in his article, "Ha-Makom Asher Bachar Ha-Shem," in Ke-Lavi Shakhen (Makhon Ha-Torani Or Etzion, Merkaz Shapira [Adar II, 5763], pp. 441-444), takes this approach and refers to Jerusalem as "a city that becomes revealed." In the lecture dealing with the period of the conquest and settlement, we will address the question why Jerusalem is not settled until the days of David.

[12] The heading of this section draws on the wording of Rabbi Yehuda Halevi, who says at the end of the Kuzari that Jerusalem will not be built until people yearn for it with utmost yearning.

[13] A certain point must be sharpened here, namely, the relationship between the obligation to seek out the place and the sanctity of the place.

At the revelation at Mount Sinai, the Torah says: "When the horn sounds long, they shall come up to the mountain" (Shemot 19:13). In other words, the sanctity of the site will terminate at the end of the revelation. The same is true about the Mishkan: we do not find regarding any of the stations of the Mishkan prior selection of the place; the sanctity of the site of the Mishkan, in its various stations, depends on the revelation of the Shekhina, and once that revelation comes to an end and the people of Israel move on to the next station, the sanctity of the place terminates.

In contrast, the sanctity of Mount Moriya depends not on revelation, but on the Divine selection of the place from the time of creation; the place chosen by God is the place where the Mikdash will be built. This assertion accords with the view of the Rambam and some of the Rishonim that the initial sanctification of Jerusalem and the Mikdash was valid for its time and for future generations. In other words, the sanctity of the site exists even when there is no direct connection to the structure built upon it.

This issue is very broad and comprehensive. Here we have merely alluded to it in order to emphasize that it is not by chance that a place exists that is designated to serve as the site of the Mikdash. The place exists, it is known and chosen, but God does not reveal where it is so that the people of Israel will be full partners in seeking it out and revealing it, as stated in the Sifrei.

[14] It must be remembered that the Rambam lived in the twelfth century, and that during his lifetime Jerusalem came under two different rules: first the Crusaders, and afterwards the Moslems.

[15] The topic of Jerusalem, the Mikdash, and the unity of the people of Israel is a broad issue, deserving of a separate lecture. In this framework, we will merely mention the main points.

[16] See Bava Kama 82b; Yoma 12a; Sota 45b.

[17] See Rambam, Hilkhot Avodat Kokhavim 4:4; Hilkhot Bet ha-Bechira 7:14; Hilkhot Tum'at Tzara'at 14:11; Hilkhot Rotze'ach U-Shemirat Ha-Nefesh 9:4.

[18] For further discussion of this issue, see our lecture in the series on biblical Jerusalem (5766): "Jerusalem During the Period of Conquest and Settlement (part III)" - http://vbm-torah.org/archive/yeru/22yeru.htm.

[19] Elsewhere, we have dealt with David's reasons for choosing Jerusalem. For further study, see our lecture in the series on biblical Jerusalem (5766): "Jerusalem in the Days of David (I)/ The Selection of Jerusalem and the Temple (Part I)" - http://vbm-torah.org/archive/yeru/23yeru.htm.

[20] See Sifrei Devarim, ed. Finkelstein, sec. 352 (Ve-Zot Ha-Berakha 33:12).

[21] In addition to the aforementioned midrash, we find in various places in Scripture that the name of Jerusalem is expounded in the sense of peace. See for example: "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they who love you shall prosper" (Tehillim 122:6); "The Lord shall bless you out of Zion, and you shall see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life. And you shall see your children's children, and peace be upon Israel" (Tehillim 128:5-6); "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, that announces peace, that brings good tidings, that announces salvation, that says to Zion, Your God reigns" (Yeshayahu 52:7); "Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you that love her, rejoice for joy with her, all you that did mourn for her… For thus says the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like a flowing stream" (Yeshayahu 66:10-12). Similarly, the name Shelomo is expounded in the sense of peace: "Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of tranquility; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about. For his name shall be Shelomo, and I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days" (I Divrei Ha-yamim 22:9).

[22] There are many proofs to this assertion; we shall deal with them in one of the upcoming lectures.

[23] It should be mentioned that according to Seder Olam Rabba, the Mishkan stood in Shilo for 369 years – a long and respectable period of time.

[24] It should be mentioned in this context that one of the names of Jerusalem is Derusha, "Sought out:" "And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called, Derusha (Sought out), a city not forsaken" (Yeshayahu 62:12). The Radak explains (ad loc.): "Derusha – the opposite of what they had called you: 'This is Zion, for whom no one cares' (Yirmiyahu 30:17)"; whereas the Metzudat David writes: "Derusha – God inquires about its welfare and never abandons it."