Uniting with the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
“וירא אליו ה’ באלוני ממרא”
“And teach me the path and the method, so that I merit to surpass all that blocks and prevents me from coming to the Land of Israel, whether it be for monetary reasons or for other reasons, and especially for cognitive reasons… till I merit to come quickly to the Land of Israel… and may I merit there to bring upon myself sanctity, purity, and fullness of awe from the ten sanctities of the Land of Israel…” (Likutei Tfilot II 39)
Our Sages teach us that sanctity leads one to ruah Hakodesh (spiritual inspiration). In the past we have shown how our Sages tie prophecy, ‘ruah hakodesh par excellence’, to the Land of Israel, saying that prophecy only comes about in this Land or for its sake. Although, generally speaking, prophecy after the Torah was given does not have halachic significance for extensive periods of time, it seems that there are slight variations to this rule. In regard to the Bais HaMikdash we find that the basic outline of the Mishkan/Mikdash is constant in halacha. However, the specific details of the dimensions of the Bais HaMikdash etc. are left to the prophet to determine. Such is clear from the differences between the Mishkan, and the First, Second, and Third (described in Ezekiel) Temples. Nevertheless, the Hasam Sofer (O”H 208) explains that in truth these variations are Biblically based on the Torah’s words on the Mishkan, ‘all that I show you’. This means that the details of the Mishkan/Mikdash are pre-set in the Torah to be dependent on the prophetic vision that ‘I (God) will show you (the prophet)’.
Another example of seeming halachic significance tied to prophecy can be found in the case of determining who is a proper Kohen, Levi (in regard to Truma, serving in the Temple, etc.), and also to which tribe each person belongs for the allocation of tribes in the Land of Israel. This too can be explained by saying that prophecy here merely serves to ‘reveal’ the tribal allocations of the people, but does not present any novel halachic teaching. Other examples of para-prophetic-halachic laws include the extension of the sanctity of the Land of Israel to additional conquered lands and the extension of the sanctity of Jerusalem to additional locations. These examples too can be linked to proof-texts in the Torah. Nevertheless, it is clear from these instances that in certain cases prophecy may play a para-halachic role. What is also interesting is that this para-halachic role is used especially in matters that regard the sanctity of the Land (Truma, extension of sanctity), Jerusalem (extension of sanctity), or the Temple Mount (dimensions, service, etc.). Indeed, we have shown in the past through the teachings of the Yerushalmi Talmud and more that this connection between seemingly distant facets of Judaism is actually quite natural to the atmosphere of the Holy Land.
It is this Land of the Holy Presence, so rooted to its first Jewish City, City of the first proper revelation to Avraham (‘appeared’ in title quote) – Hebron – the City of Unity, that inspires the inherent harmony of all different facets before our One God.
Real Stories from the Holy Land #143
“One evening I davened Maariv early before nightfall, which means that I needed to say Shema again after nightfall to fulfill the mitzvah of reciting Shema. However, I was so tired that I fell asleep at home without saying Shema. At about midnight I woke up but was unable to fall back asleep. Therefore, I decided to read a paper next to my bed called ‘Tiv Hakehila’. Suddenly my eyes caught on the halacha panel in this paper, which wrote that although one davens Maariv in shul, he must say Shema again on his bed. Then I remembered that I had forgotten to say Shema on bed, and at truth at all after nightfall to fulfill the mitzvah. How grateful was I that I was ‘reminded’ to fulfill this important mitzvah.” M.M