Friday, August 06, 2010

menucha v'nachala -- Shilo and Yerushalayim

I’ve gotten involved in a bit of a time consuming project at work, so less time to write, but I did want to make sure to get in a thought on the parsha. “…Ki lo ba’sem el hamenucha v’el ha’nachala” is interpreted by Chazal as a reference to the establishment of the Mishkan in Shilo (menucha) and then the building of a permanent Mikdash in Yerushalayim (nachala). Among the halachic differences between Shilo and Yerushalayim is that kodshim kalim could be eaten anywhere within view of the Mishkan at Shilo; these same korbanos could only be eaten within the walls of Yerushalayim. The Shem m’Shmuel notes that this seems counterintuitive. Surely if simply being in eyesight of the Mishkan at Shilo was sufficient to create that sense of awe and kedusha that went hand in hand with eating kodshim, being within eyesight of the Mikdash with its greater kedusha should accomplish the same. Why then could kodshim be eaten only behind the walls of Yerushalayim?

Since the topic of tzniyus has come up these past few days, I want to revisit the definition of true tzniyus (please see this post). Chazal tell us that even Torah requires tzniyus (Sukkah 49b). Maharal (Nesiv haTzniyus ch 1.) explains that this is so because Torah has a "madreiga pnimis," a "madreiga nisteres." Torah has depth. Every parsha and sugya is like the top of an iceberg that protrudes above the sea, providing just a hint of the vastness which lies below. A person who embodies tzniyus is a person of depth, a person who is defined not by their clothes or hat or by a sound-bite, but a person whose character remains hidden and not on public display. Just when you think you have the person buttonholed, you discover that there is a deeper more pnimiyus aspect to the person's whole personality that you had previously overlooked or not seen. That's a person who is tzanu'a.

It is precisely because Yerushalayim was superior to Shilo in its holiness that kodshim kalim could only be eaten within its walls. The kedusha of the Mishkan was (relative to that of the Mikdash) superficial – it could be taken in just by viewing the building, even as a person remained standing outside. The kedusha of the Mikdash was on a deeper level. It could only be apprehended by those willing to divest themselves from the world at large and come within the walls of Yerushalayim, a place of seclusion, of tzniyus.

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