ישיבת כרם ביבנה

Haftorah: "He built the Temple for Hashem"

הרב אברהם ריבלין, המשגיח הרוחני לשעבר

Our Parsha and Haftarah share some obvious features. They both deal solely with the construction of the Temple and the Mishkan. This comparison, though, points to some obvious differences that lie in the different natures of the buildings. The Mishkan was temporary, portable, and built to be easily dismantled and rebuilt during the journey in the desert. Shlomo's Temple, on the other hand, was a permanent building intended to last, which allowed it to be much more magnificent.

The first two verses of the Haftarah, though, raise some other differences that have nothing to do with the different natures of the building; temporary vs. permanent and portable vs. stationery.

1.      "There was peace between Chiram and Shlomo." (Melachim I 5:26) The previous verses describe in detail the economic treaty between Chiram and Shlomo, which included the import of construction materials from Lebanon. The artisan who was placed in charge of the construction also acquired his training and expertise in foreign lands. "King Shlomo sent and took Chiram from Tzor. He was the son of a widowed woman, from the tribe of Naftali; his father had been a Tzorian." (7:13-14) The construction workers were also foreign, as it says in the Haftarah: "Shlomo had seventy thousand who carried burdens and eighty thousand who hewed the mountain." (5:29) Rashi quotes the Gemara in Yevamot 79a which states that they were all converts who became Jewish because of the economic greatness of Shlomo. There was no more "Jewish labor" nor the "blue and white" of the Mishkan period, which was overseen by Miriam's great grandson, Betzalel, who stood in G-d's shadow and was gifted with the ability to "join the letters from which heaven and earth were created." (Berachot 55a) It was no longer: "Every wise-hearted man whose heart Hashem endowed with wisdom" (Shemot 36:2) and: "All the women whose hearts inspired them with wisdom." (35:26) Instead it was the work of strangers (although converted, but only because of the economic greatness of Shlomo) and headed by a stranger (although a Jew from Naphtali, but his father was a Tzorian)

2.      The second pasuk in the Haftarah: "King Shlomo imposed a levy from all of Israel" (Melachim I 5:27), stands out in total contrast to the Mishkan, where the words: "donation", "heart motivated him" and "free willed" appeared dozens of times. Here, with the Temple, there is a "levy" which was imposed by the authorities. With the Mishkan the Torah details in a special passage the admirable donations of the nation: "Every man whose heart inspired him came; and everyone whose spirit motivated him brought the portion of Hashem for the Tent of Meeting, for all its labor and for the sacred vestments. The men came with the women." (Shemot 35:21-22) "They continued to bring him free-willed gifts morning after morning ... They said to Moshe, as follows, 'The people are bringing more than enough for the labor of the work that Hashem has commanded to perform.'" (36:3-5) In Shlomo's Temple there was no sign of any of this. There was no donation of materials or labor. The word "levy" is not the only emphasis of this difference; there is also the difference in verbs. Regarding the Mishkan it says "Let them take for me a portion", "Take from yourselves a portion." The verb 'take' indicates the nation's will (they are taking and benefiting). With the Temple it says: "King Shlomo imposed a levy from all of Israel." The verb 'imposed' emphasizes even more the obligation and necessity.

It is possible that the reason for the differences lies in the fact that the Mishkan was built by the nation, whereas the Temple was built by the king. When referring to Shlomo the Tanach repeated several times the verb "built" in singular form (ten times in ch. 6), along with several other verbs in singular: "Shlomo overlaid," "He made". There is also indication that the mitzvah of building the Temple is halachically laid upon the king. Although it was ruled: "Israel were commanded three mitzvot when they entered the Land: to appoint themselves a king, to exterminate the seed of Amalek and to build for themselves the chosen House" (Sanhedrin 20b and Rambam, Hil. Melachim 1:1), the mitzvot are meant to be fulfilled in stages – to appoint a king, whose job is to exterminate the seed of Amalek, so that he can build the chosen House. "Israel were commanded," as a group, and not individually, and when it comes to the building of the Temple the king is viewed as if he is the entire nation.

It can now be understood why there are no donations that comes from the nation, and why there are external ties with foreign nations. We are already dealing with the king and monarchy, and these are the signs of the monarchy. If the seal of the monarchy is stamped upon the essence of the Temple (as opposed to the Mishkan, which came from the nation's generosity), then these spheres are also influenced by the political nature of King Shlomo's Temple.

 

 

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