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Jerusalem City of Justice (II)

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The Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash

Jerusalem in the Bible
Yeshivat Har Etzion

Shiur #07: Jerusalem – City of Justice and Kingship


Rav Yitzchak Levi


In the previous shiur we addressed the concept of Jerusalem as the city of justice, and brought proof of how justice is integral to it.


In the encounter between Avram, Malki-Tzedek - king of Shalem, and the King of Sodom (which we discussed at length in previous shiurim), two central motifs arise:

-          The motif of justice:  Avram's chooses to align himself with Malki-Tzedek, King of Shalem, by accepting bread and wine from him along with his blessing and by giving him a tithe; at the same time – he rejects any connection with the King of Sodom, in order not to be obligated to him in any way.

-          The motif of kingship: from the literal text we understand that the rulers of the region wanted to coronate Avraham over them, by virtue of his stunning victory. The Midrash (Bereishit Rabba 42,5 on 14:17) teaches:


"The Valley of Shaveh" – Rabbi Berakhya and Rabbi Chalbo taught in the name of Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachman: There all the idolaters were humbled and they cut cedars and made him a great podium and sat him atop it and they praised him, saying (Bereishit 23:6), "Hear us, our lord: you are a prince of God in our midst!" They said to him, "You are our king, you are our prince, you are our god!" He said to them: "Let the world not lack its King, nor let the world lack its God."


The major hypothesis of this shiur is that there is a fundamental, internal connection between kingship and justice: kingship is the vessel by means of which justice can be manifest on the national level.


We examined the idea of justice at length in the previous shiur. Now, to complete the picture, we shall address the precise definition of justice, and then examine the connection between justice and kingship – both Divine kingship and mortal kingship – and see how this connection is manifest and embodied in Jerusalem and in the Temple.


1.         The Definition of the Concept of Justice


What is justice ("tzedek")? We are accustomed to using this term in the legal sense. But a review of the sources and the etymology of the word itself reveal that "tzedek" is closely related to the concept of "tzedaka" – righteousness.


Let us examine the meaning of this word as it is understood by the Rambam, by Rav Hirsch, and by the Malbim – all of whom draw a distinction between "tzedek" and performing legal justice.




In his Guide for the Perplexed (Part III, Chapter 53), the Rambam writes:


The word "tzedaka" comes from "tzedek"… It means providing anyone who is owed something with that which he deserves, and giving to everything that exists whatever is appropriate to it.


… One's obligations to others, in terms of positive traits – such as raising up anyone who falls – this is called "tzedaka." Therefore the Torah teaches, concerning the returning of a pledge, "It shall be considered 'tzedaka' on your part' – because by following the path of the elevated traits you have already performed "tzedek" with your thinking soul, because you have given it that which it deserves.


And since any positive trait is considered "tzedaka," it is written [concerning Avraham], "He believed in God and it was considered tzedaka on his part": in other words, the trait of faith. Likewise, may he be exalted, "It shall be a tzedaka on our part, that we shall observe to perform."


But the word "mishpat" means judgment as appropriate to the subject, whether for acquittal or for revenge.


The conclusion is that "chesed" means absolute beneficence; "tzedaka" refers to any good that one performs because of the advantage in this trait by means of which one brings one's soul to perfection, and "mishpat" may result in either revenge or a good result.


The Rambam notes the internal connection between "tzedek" and "tzedaka" (the latter term not being meant in the narrow sense of "giving charity"), meaning "providing anyone who is owed something with that which he deserves." This principle finds expression in those actions which a person is charged to perform for others as a result of his own positive traits, and he thereby brings perfection to his own soul. The general term for any positive trait is "tzedaka."


In light of the above, the Rambam draws a distinction between three different concepts:


·      "chesed" = complete beneficence

·      "tzedaka/tzedek" = giving others whatever is appropriate to them, based on the giver's positive traits

·      "mishpat" = judgment, "justice" in the narrow sense




In his commentary on Bereishit 15:6, Rav Hirsch writes:


"Tzedaka" comes from the root "tzedek"… [It means] giving others what they need. Through the attribute of "tzedek" every creation is accorded the conditions set down for it by Divine wisdom; "tzedek" is the epitome of Divine providence, from man's perspective it is the ideal.


Commenting on Devarim 1:16, on the verse "You shall judge with tzedek:


"Tzedek" is the idea that lies at the foundation of "mishpat" (legal justice); "mishpat" is the organization of relationships between people and objects. According to the ideal of "tzedek" it is the realization of "tzedek" in the organization of things… "Din" (law) is the result arising from the general source of "tzedek" in relation to the particular instance at hand.


Rav Hirsch also connects "tzedek" and "tzedaka," and explains that "tzedek" means "giving others that which they need." His division of concepts is as follows:


·      "tzedek" = the ideal substance

·      "mishpat" = the actual organization of the relationships between people in light of the ideal of "tzedek"

·      "din" = the practical result of "mishpat" in a given instance.




The Malbim addresses the definitions of these concepts in various places:


"'Tzedek' is where one acts beyond the letter of the law, whereas "mishpat" represents the letter of the law" (commenting on Tehillim 89:15).


"'Tzedek' is midway between "mishpat" and "chesed," insofar as it is composed of both. The "chesed" that God performs with His nation is based upon "practical tzedek"" (Ibid. 85:11-12).

"… And tzedek is where one deviates from the boundaries of mishpat towards the laws of tzedek, to examine the matter and the parties at hand, and to act beyond the letter of the law in accordance with the time, the place, and uprightness" (Ibid. 89:15).


The Malbim defines the concepts as follows:


·      "chesed" apparently means - complete beneficence

·      "tzedek" = going beyond the letter of the law; midway between "chesed" and "mishpat"

·      "mishpat" = the letter of the law.




Having examined the definitions of the relevant concepts according to the above three authorities, let us now go back to their connection to Jerusalem and the Temple.


In Jerusalem and in the Temple, "tzedek" and "mishpat" coexist, as Yishayahu teaches:


I shall restore your judges as in the beginning and your advisors as at the start, thereafter you shall be called the city of tzedek; a faithful metropolis. Zion shall be redeemed with mishpat, and her captives with tzedaka (Yishayahu 1:26-27)


In accordance with these verses, the Gemara teaches (Shabbat 139a) that "Jerusalem is redeemed only with tzedaka."


Elsewhere (Bava Metzia 30b), the Gemara expresses criticism that matches the Malbim's definition of the concept of tzedek:


"Jerusalem was destroyed only because they judged there according to the letter of Torah law… and did not go beyond the letter of the law."


Sodom, whose sin according to Yechezkel (16:49) was that its inhabitants did not practice hospitality and did not help support the needy and destitute, therefore represents the complete opposite of Jerusalem, the opposite of tzedek: Sodom did not provide the poor and needy, or visitors, with what was appropriate to give them – as the Rambam explains; they certainly did not act beyond the letter of the law, as the Malbim defines it. [1]


Now, having addressed the definition of the concept of tzedek according to the various understandings of it, and having viewed its implementation in this sense in Jerusalem and the Temple, let us examine the connection between kingship and tzedek and mishpat - in the sphere of Divine kingship and in the sphere of mortal kingship.


2.         Divine Kingship – Tzedek and Mishpat




The principle set down in the above verse – that mishpat belongs to God, not to man – is repeated in many places.


The name Elokim in biblical sources is sometimes interpreted as meaning "judges," for example:


- "His master shall bring him near to the elokim – judges" (Shemot 21:6).

- "If the thief is not found, the master of the house shall be brought to the elokim – judges – [to swear] that he did not put out his hand to his neighbor's good… the cause of both parties shall come before the elokim – judges, and whoever the judges condemn – he shall pay double to his neighbor" (Ibid. 22:7-8).


Thus, elokut – Divinity – means mishpat.


This connection finds special expression in the unusual mention of the matter of kingship at the conclusion of the blessing of Restoring the Judges in the Amida prayer: "O KING Who loves tzedaka and mishpat." The Tur writes:


My brother R. Yechiel, of blessed memory, wrote: I always wondered about the conclusion of this blessing: why is it different from every other blessing of the Shmoneh Esrei" prayer in the matter of Kingship? For we have established that adjacent blessings do not mention the matter of Kingship… In a book called Machzor Vitri I found… that concerning mishpat it is appropriate to mention God's Kingship, more than in the other blessings, as it is written: "The King establishes the world by mishpat (Mishlei 29:4)." (Tur, Orakh Chaim 118)


Rabbeinu Yechiel explains that the connection between mishpat and malkhut (kingship) is expressed most prominently in the unique formulation of the conclusion of this blessing during the Ten Days of Repentance – "Ha-Melekh Ha-Mishpat" – literally, "the King, the Justice." The King is Himself mishpat; there is complete identity between Kingship and justice.


Obviously, in the Mussaf service of Rosh Ha-shana, the fundamental continuum of "malkhuyot-zikhronot-shofarot" stands out, with God's Kingship depicted as taking stock and judging.




The revelation of God's Kingship in the world is fundamentally bound up with mishpat:


"For God is our JUDGE; God is our LEGISLATOR; God is our KING; He will deliver us" (Yishayahu 33:22).


Moreover, God's throne in the world rests on tzedek and mishpat: for example; Tzedek and mishpat are the foundation of Your Throne" (Tehillim 89:15); "Tzedek and mishpat are the foundation of His Throne" (Ibid. 97:2). [3]


"Mishpat" and "tzedek" directly characterize both the Divine creation and the process of redemption and repair (ibid. 98:6-9).

3. Mortal Kingship – With Tzedek and with Mishpat


Just as God's Kingship is founded on tzedek, so too is mortal kingship:


"A king shall reign with tzedek" (Yishayahu 32:1); "It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness, for a throne is established with tzedaka" (Mishlei 16:12).


Just as the name elokim denotes both Divinity and mishpat, so the Torah calls leaders "judges," meaning not only leadership but mishpat in the narrow sense of the word – for mishpat is one of the purposes for which any king is coronated (I Shemuel 8:6,20).


Concerning the functions of the institution of kingship, the Rambam writes:


In all matters his actions should be for the sake of Heaven, and his intention and thought should be to elevate the religion of truth and to fill the world with tzedek, and to break the power of the wicked and to fight God's wars, FOR A KING IS NOT CORONATED IN THE FIRST PLACE EXCEPT TO PERFORM MISHPAT AND TO WAGE WAR, as it is written: "That our king may judge us, and go out before us and wage our wars." (Laws of Kings, Chapter 4, Law 6).


Even the King Mashiach will share this same mission:


He will not judge by the sight of his eyes, nor decide based on what his ears hear. He shall judge the poor with tzedek, and decide with fairness for the meek of the earth, and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth and slay the wicked with the breath of his lips. Tzedek will be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness – the girdle of his reigns" (Yishayahu 11:3-5).


Psalm 72 in Tehillim likewise dwells at length on this role of the king:


"A psalm of Shelomo: O God – give Your judgments (mishpateikha) to the king, and Your tzedaka to the king's son. Let him judge Your people with tzedek, and Your poor with mishpat. Let the mountains bring peace to the people, and the hills – by tzedaka. Let him judge the cause of the poor of the nation, bringing salvation to the children of the destitute, and trampling the oppressor." (Tehillim 72:1-4).


A similar plea is conveyed by the prophet Yechezkel to the princes:


"So says the Lord God: Enough, you princes of Israel! Remove violence and robbery; perform mishpat and tzedaka; lift your demands from My people, says the Lord God. You shall have just scales (moznei tzedek), a just efa, a just bat…" (Yechezkel 45:9-10)


Many of the kings are described as performing mishpat and tzedaka – such as David, Shelomo and Yoshiyahu (in striking contrast to Yehoyakim – see Yirmiyahu 22:13). Yirmiyahu's prophecy to the house of the King of Yehuda (Yirmiyahu 22:3-5) focuses mainly on the issue of tzedek:


"So says God: Perform mishpat and tzedaka; deliver the robbed from the hand his oppressor, and do not wrong – do not violence – to the stranger, the orphan and the widow; and do not spill innocent blood in this place… And if you do not listen to these words, I swear by Myself, says God – this house shall become a desolation."


The above review shows that mishpat and tzedaka are INTEGRAL PARTS OF A KING'S KINGSHIP, just as they are a condition for the existence of the Temple (as we saw in the previous shiur).


It is interesting to note that according to Chazal (see Yoma 12a; Megilla 26a), the border between Yehuda and Binyamin ran through the area of the Temple, such that the Sanctuary itself was in the portion of Binyamin, while the various adjacent chambers – including the Chamber of Hewn Stone, the seat of the Sanhedrin – were located in the portion of Yehuda. This conclusion is induced (Sifri Devarim, piska 352) from the verse in Yaakov's blessing, "The scepter shall not depart from Yehuda, nor a law-giver from between his feet" (Bereishit 49:10), which draws a direct and fundamental connection between kingship and mishpat. [3].

In the previous shiur, discussing Jerusalem as a city of tzedek, we noted the fact that tzedek and mishpat characterize BOTH THE CITY AND THE SITE OF THE TEMPLE. Let us now try to demonstrate that the uniqueness of Jerusalem is the encounter between the place of earthly kingship and the place of Divine Kingship. Jerusalem, the capital city, marks the city of mortal, earthly kingship. while the site of the Temple represents the place of God's Kingship. In light of this we can understand the close connection between mishpat and tzedek in the city and in the Temple, and the kingship that they represent.


4.         Jerusalem and the Temple – The Place of Contact Between Earthly Kingship and Divine Kingship


The fact that Jerusalem is a city of earthly kingship requires no proof. From the time when David selects it and turns it into the capital of all of Israel, Jerusalem becomes the capital of all the Kings of Yehuda, until the last ruler of that kingdom – Tzidkiyahu. Avshalom already recognized the significance of this city as a city of kingship, and therefore when he wanted to seize the kingship from David, his father, he left Hebron and came to Jerusalem. Furthermore, the kings of the House of David were also buried in Jerusalem. The graves of the House of David were set right inside the City of David – a clear expression of the connection of the kingship specifically to Jerusalem. And – obviously – in later times, too, Jerusalem was a center of national control.


At the same time, in previous shiurim we demonstrated the spirit of Hebron as a city of kingship. What, then, is the difference between Hebron and Jerusalem? The difference is that Hebron is a city of exclusively earthly permanence and kingship – first over the Tribe of Yehuda, and ultimately over all of Israel – while Jerusalem brings together both the place of earthly kingship and the site of the Temple – the place of Divine Kingship.


This is the meaning of Chazal's teaching that the Tribe of Yehuda has a portion in the Temple (the south-eastern corner of the altar; see Zevachim 53b). The same idea is symbolized by David bringing the Ark of God from Kiryat Anavim to Jerusalem (rather than leaving it in Givon): Shelomo's decision to build the royal palace in between the city and the Temple should be understood in the same light.


A striking expression of the fact that the kingship of Israel represents the Kingship of God is to be found in the description of Shelomo in I Divrei Ha-yamim 29:23 – "Shelomo sat upon God's throne as king in place of David, his father, and he prospered, and all of Israel obeyed him."


In our context, it is interesting to note the parallel between "the throne room where he would judge" (I Melakhim 7:7) and the structure of the Temple, where God reigns and judges all of the earth [5].


5. The Temple as the Place of God's Kingship


We shall now bring several proofs – particularly from the sphere of halakha – that the Temple is the place of God's Kingship.


The first proof is to be found at the end of the Song of the Sea [5], which is the first source where Israel express their recognition of God's Kingship, and also the first appearance of the word mikdash. We read (Shemot 15:17-18):


"You will bring them and plant them on the mountain of Your inheritance; in the place that You have prepared to dwell in, O God, the Sanctuary, God, which Your hands have made. God shall reign forever and ever."


The Ibn Ezra comments (on verse 18), "When the Temple is build to His Name – then His Kingship will be beheld on earth."


The Song of the Sea praises God as a mighty warrior Who drives away His enemy, and hence as a great King Who bequeaths His land to His people and builds a Temple as an expression of His Kingship – just as a mortal king goes before his people, conquers his inheritance, and settles his people in it - and only when the nation is established in the inheritance and his kingship is accepted – only then is the king's palace built, and he enters to dwell in it. The significance of this, in the context of the Song, is that the entry into Eretz Yisrael [6] and the building of the Temple represent a clear continuation of the revelation of God's Kingship in the miracles at the Red Sea and the drowning of Pharoah and his army. The Mekhilta, expounding on the verse, "God said to Moshe: Why are you calling out to Me? Speak to Bnei Yisrael and let them journey" (Shemot 14:15), says:


Rabbi Yishmael said: "Why are you calling out to Me" – by the virtue of Jerusalem I shall split the sea for them, as it is written, "Arise, arise; don your power, Zion; don the garments of your glory, Jerusalem, holy city, for no more shall the uncircumcised and the defiled enter you" (Yishayahu 52:1). It is also written, "Awake, awake, don strength, arm of God. Arise as in ancient days, generations of old. Is it not you who has cut Rachav in pieces and wounded the crocodile? Is it not you who dried the sea, the waters of the great deep, and make the depths of the sea a pathway for the redeemed to pass over?" (Ibid. 51:9-10).


In other words, the process of the splitting of the Red Sea and Israel's recognition of God's Kingship lead directly to the Temple in Jerusalem; therefore, "by the virtue of Jerusalem I shall split the sea for them." Thus the Song of the Sea contains the first mention of the Temple – the place of God's Kingship.


Another Midrash (Tanna de-Vei Eliyahu, chapter 17) points to the Revelation at Sinai as the event in the wake of which God commands the construction of the Mishkan. According to this Midrash, in the wake of the joyful acceptance of the yoke of heaven at Sinai, God commands – in a Divine response, as it were – the construction of the Mishkan. The acceptance of the yoke of heaven by all of Am Yisrael invites God, as it were, to let His Divine Presence dwell amongst them – to reveal His Kingship in the Mishkan:


What is the meaning of the expression, "On the day of his wedding, and on the day of the rejoicing of His heart" (Shir Ha-shirim 3:11)? When Israel stood at Mount Sinai to accept the Torah, God watched and said to Himself: Perhaps Israel will not accept My Torah upon them, just as the idolaters did not accept it upon themselves, and then it will be decreed against them that they will perish from this world and from the World to Come, heaven forefend. But then, because [Israel] accepted the yoke of heaven upon themselves joyfully, so God descended to them from the place of His honor and glory, from the highest heavens, and said to them: "Can a woman forget her nursing infant…" (Yishayahu 49:15), and it says, "If I forget you, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget what it does; let my tongue cleave to my palate if I do not make remembrance of you…" (Tehillim 137:5-6). And since Israel accepted the yoke of heaven with joy, and declared, "All that God has spoken we shall do and we shall hear," God immediately told Moshe to tell Israel to make Him a Mishkan, as it is written: "Speak to Bnei Yisrael… and let them make Me a Sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst…" (Shemot 25:2,8)."


As noted, this Midrash draws a clear connection between the acceptance of the yoke of God's Kingship at Sinai and the command to build the Mishkan.


Another parasha which perhaps testifies to the acceptance of the Divine yoke that brought about the command to build the Mishkan is the parasha preceding the one above – Parashat Mishpatim. Here Am Yisrael accept upon themselves, practically, the Kingship of God by accepting the "judgments, teachings, and commandments"; in their wake comes the Parasha of Teruma, commanding the establishment of the Mishkan (precursor of the Temple), where their King will dwell – in their midst.


Structure of the Temple – God's palace


-     In the books of the prophets we find several repetitions of the expression, "The Ark of the Lord of Hosts Who dwells between the keruvim" (I Shemuel 4:4). The keruvim are the royal throne; they are the place where the King sits, as it were. God's "seat" is located above the Tablets, the broken tablets and the Book of the Torah, all expressing the eternal covenant between God and Israel.

-     One of the reasons for the commandment to place guards at the Temple is to show honor to the King: "A palace that has sentries guarding it is not like a palace that has no sentries guarding it" (Rambam, Laws of the Temple, Chapter 8:1, based on Sifri Zuta, Parashat Korach, on the verse, "A stranger shall not approach").

-     The formulation of the response to blessings in the Temple – not "amen," but rather "Blessed be the Name of His glorious Kingdom for ever and ever" (Mishna Yoma, Chapter 3, Mishna 8; Chapter 4, Mishna 2, etc.) – emphasizes the fact that this place is the royal palace of the King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.

-     Obviously, prostration in the Temple expresses the acceptance of the yoke of His Kingship and self-nullification before Him.

-     Halakha rules that "Sitting in the courtyard (of the Temple) is permissible only for kings of the House of David" (Sota 41b; Kiddushin 32b). It appears that the reason for this is that the kings of the House of David are representatives of God's Kingship, as the text testifies concerning Shelomo, "Shelomo sat upon the throne of God as king…" (I Divrei Ha-yamim 29:23).

-     On Rosh Hashana, trumpets and the shofar were sounded in the Temple: "A longer blast would be sounded on the shofar, and a shorter one on the trumpets, since the special commandment of the day concerns the shofar" (Rosh Hashana, Chapter 3, Mishna 3). The sounding of the shofar is a distinctive symbol of coronation of a king [7]. It is interesting that when Rosh Hashana falls on Shabbat, the shofar was still sounded in the Temple, but not throughout the country [8] (Ibid. Chapter 4, Mishna 1).

-     The connection between Jerusalem and God's Kingship appears explicitly in the formulation of the Kedusha of the Shabbat morning service among some communities: "From Your place, our King, You will appear and rule over us, for we are waiting for You. When will You reign in Zion… May You be exalted and sanctified within Jerusalem, Your city, for ever and ever, for all eternity. And may our eyes see Your Kingship… May the Lord reign for all time, Your God, Zion, for ever and ever, Halleluyah."

Likewise, in the prayers of the High Holy Days: "May You alone reign, God, over all of Your creations, in the mountain of Zion, the dwelling place of Your glory, and in Jerusalem – Your holy city, as it is written in Your holy scripture, 'May the Lord reign for all time, Your God, Zion, for ever and ever, Halleluyah."

- The most powerful expression of God's Kingship is voiced at the dedication of the Temple, in Psalm 30 of Tehillim (also recited in the prayer service of the High Holy Days): "Lift up your heads, gates, and be elevated, you everlasting doorways – that the King of glory may enter. Who is this King of glory? The Lord – powerful and mighty; the Lord – mighty in battle… the Lord of Hosts – He is the King of glory, Sela!"


6.         Jerusalem – The Site of the Temple, the Sanhedrin, and the Kingship


What arises from the above is that the Temple brings together earthly kingship with the Kingship of God. And since there is a profound inner connection between kingship and tzedek, Jerusalem embodies all three of the nation's central institutions of sovereignty: the Temple, the Sanhedrin, and kingship – or, in the language of the Mishna (Avot, Chapter 4, Mishna 13); "The crown of Torah (Sanhedrin), the crown of priesthood (Temple) and the crown of kingship (the royal palace)." Or as Rabbi Meir formulates is, in the Beraita in Chullin (56b): "A city that embodies everything: the kohanim emanate from there, the prophets emanate from there, the ministers emanate from there, the kings emanate from there."


These different aspects of Jerusalem give rise to different names for the city:


·      As the seat of the Sanhedrin, the city is called (as we discussed in the previous shiur) the "city of Tzedek" (Yishayahu 1:26), within which is the "habitation of tzedek, holy mountain" (Yirmiyahu 31:22).

·      As the site of the Temple, Jerusalem is called "the City of God" (Tehillim 46:5; 87:3; 48:2,9); "the City of the Lord" (Yishayahu 40:14; Tehillim 101:8); and the "Holy City" (Yishayahu 48:2; 22:1; Nechemya 11:1,18).

·      The "City of David" (II Shemuel 5:7; I Divrei Ha-yamim I 11:5) – since it is the city of the kingship of the house of David, with the royal palace in its midst.


It is possible that this unity is what Psalm 122 in Tehillim refers to, describing "Jerusalem that has been built as a city that is all joined together" (Ibid. 3): a city that brings together in its midst the "House of God" (ibid. 1) – the Temple; the "seats of mishpat" (Ibid. 5) – the Sanhedrin, and the "thrones of the house of David" (Ibid.) – kingship [9]. Therefore this psalm emphasizes, "Pray for the PEACE OF JERUSALEM, let those who love you prosper. May there be PEACE within your walls, tranquility in your palaces. For the sake of my brothers and friends, I shall say now – PEACE be within you. For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek GOOD for you" (Ibid. 6-9).


"Jerusalem that has been built as a city that is all joined together" bonds the city of David, the royal palace, and the House of God into a single unit - including Temple, Sanhedrin and kingship - in peace and tranquility. And by virtue of the unity of all Israel, who make their pilgrimage to God's House, as described in this psalm, there is unity of the kingship - which brings together all of Israel, the Sanhedrin – embodying tzedek, and the House of God.


7.         Summary


            As a complement to the subject of tzedek, we discussed here the definition of the concepts of tzedek and mishpat, and saw that there is a clear connection between the two major messages of the encounter between Avram, Malki-Tzedek, and the King of Sodom: between kingship (the framework of sovereignty) and tzedek, which is the spiritual principle that the king must apply in his kingship.


Thereafter we discussed the connection between tzedek and mishpat and kingship – both the Kingship of God and mortal kingship. Conversely we saw that just as the city and the Temple are meant to express tzedek and to perpetrate its influence in the world, they are also connected to kingship. The city is connected to mortal kingship, while the Temple expresses the Kingship of God. All of these give rise to the glorious, royal manifestation of tzedek in both the Temple and in the city.


In the coming shiurim we shall address hints at the site of the Temple on Mount Moriah, as well as the identity of the place and the significance of its names.



[1] In this context we should address another meaning of the name Shalem: the aspect of "shalom" – peace. In his article in Alon Shevut 88, Yosef Ofer shows that "shalom" is a synonym for "tov" – good. For example, "How pleasant upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good news, announcing peace, announcing good, announcing deliverance; that says to Zion: your God reigns!" (Yishayahu 52:7); "We looked for peace - but no good came, and for a time of healing – but behold, sudden fear" (Yirmiyahu 8:15). Likewise, "peace" is the opposite of "evil": "Who forms light and creates darkness; makes peace and creates evil – I am God, Who does all of these" (Yishayahu 45:7); "For I know the thoughts which I think concerning you, says God – thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a remnant and hope" (Yirmiyahu 29:11). By quoting these examples we seek to show that the high standards of behavior demanded of Jerusalem are hinted at in both of its names: Tzedek – meaning "beyond the letter of the law," and Shalem – the source, according to some midrashim, of the word "shalom," meaning "good."

[2] This idea arises from many different verses, for example: "He loves tzedaka and mishpat; God's kindness fills the earth" (Tehillim 33:5); "Mighty King Who loves mishpat – You have established fairness; You execute mishpat and tzedaka amongst Yaakov" (Ibid. 99:4).

[3] In this context of kingship and tzedek, it is interesting to note the parallel between Avraham's pursuit of the kings and David's pursuit of Amalek and the salvation of the captives and the property – a comparison that leads Chazal to derive (Bereishit Rabba 43,9 as quoted by Rashi on Bereishit 14:24) an interesting lesson as to Avraham's concern for the portion owed to those who participated in the battle: "Even though my servants entered the battle – as it is written, 'He and his servants, and they smote them,' while Aner and his companions guarded the equipment, nevertheless 'let them take their portion.' And David learned from this example, as it is written: 'Like the portion of those who go down to do battle, so shall be the portion of those who guard the equipment – together they shall divide it' (I Shemuel 30:24). Therefore it says, 'And it was from that day forward ("ma'ala" – literally, upward), it became a statute and a law' (Ibid. 25), rather than "hala" – onward – because the statute had already been set down in the days of Avraham." This important parallel forms part of a series of parallels between Avraham and David in matters of kingship, war, and tzedek. The scope of this shiur does not allow for further elaboration.

[4] We shall address this at length in the shiurim devoted to the reign of Shelomo.

[5] In one of the next few shiurim we shall address the hints that the Torah gives as to a Sanctuary, even before the command to build the Mishkan appears.

[6] Rashbam, commenting on Shemot 15:18, writes: "After you settle in Eretz Yisrael, the Kingship of the Holy One will be recognized throughout all kingdoms."

[7] See I Melakhim 1:39; II Melakhim 9:13.

[8] The substantive reason for this (over and above the principle of "there is no shevut in the Temple) is that Shabbat itself also reveals God's Kingship in the world. The cessation of all creative labor on Shabbat expresses man's recognition of the fact that there is a King and Master over all of creation, and his very cessation of work is His coronation. This is the significance of the prayer, "Those who observe Shabbat and call it a delight shall rejoice in YOUR KINGSHIP – the nation that sanctifies the seventh day." Shabbat is the manifestation of Kingship/Mikdash in time, while the Temple is the manifestation of Kingship/Mikdash in space.

This is the reason for the many connections between Shabbat and the Temple – both in relation to the commandments to show respect towards the Mikdash – "You shall observe My Sabbaths and show respect to My Mikdash; I am God" (Vayikra 26:2), and in the juxtaposition of Shabbat and the labors relating to the establishment and operations of the Mishkan (Shemot 31: 12-17; 35:1-3), and what Chazal conclude from this concerning the thirty-nine categories of labor forbidden on Shabbat, their nature, and the reason for their prohibition.

This topic is a broad one, and we convey here only the essence of the idea in order to show the fundamental connection between the Kingship that is manifest in the sanctification of time – Shabbat – and the Kingship that is manifest in the sanctification of place. On Shabbat in the Temple, God's Kingship is manifest in all its aspects – time and place, and therefore the shofar is sounded in the Temple even on Shabbat.

[9] There is room for considerable elaboration concerning the division between the various authorities and the balances that Torah and halakha set in place in order to facilitate their proper, holistic operation, but this is – of course – a subject for another shiur.


Translated by Kaeren Fish 

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