By Dr. Meir Tamari
Even though the study of Torah is one of the 613 mitzvot, nevertheless, it
has priority since it is the way for the fulfillment of all the
others. Such study like all the other mitzvot need the emotion of the
heart and its ecstasy, otherwise the body and the mind are unable to study
in the way that is needed, so that Torah study merges both mind and heart.
That is why there is no simcha on the Shabbat rather only oneg that is the
ecstasy of the mind. The Festivals flow from the heart since they are the
outpouring of rejoicing, exhilaration and knowledge of the imminence of
G-d's Mercy, Love and Redemption.
Shilo was in the portion given to Joseph and Joseph is the head of Israel.
Jacob taught him all that he had learnt from Shem and Ever, and Torah
relates to the mind and the brain. The midrash (Bereishit Rabbah chapter
100, section 9) tells us that Joseph said to the Tribes, " you are the body
and I am the head", as we see in the sheaves of corn [a symbol of the mind]
that bowed to the sheaf of Joseph. He is called the head because he was the
one who devoted himself to guarding and observing the Covenant that affects
and is integrated into the mind. He separated himself from sexual
immorality that is so closely related to the purity and the holiness of the
mind. He implanted it in the mind and brain of the People of Israel and
Shilo is this mind.
The Temple Mount, Courts and priestly offices were in the territory of
Judah while the Temple Hall, the sanctuary and the Kodesh HaKedoshim were
in the portion of the tribe of Benjamin. A slice of ground protruded from
the portion of Judah and entered that of Benjamin and on that slice stood
the altar. Benjamin was in great sorrow and every day yearned that this
ground together with the altar should be transferred to him. For this
Benjamin was rewarded even as it is written there, 'G-d takes His Abode
between his shoulders' ". (Talmud, Yoma,12a ). Judah, the partner to the
Temple, was an ancestor of David, whose Psalms are the epitome of the
yearning of the heart and of spiritual desire. Jerusalem is the heart of
the world and the Temple is the heart of Jerusalem.
In the desert, the Tabernacle was constructed completely from the animal
and vegetable kingdoms; spiritually, Israel then only had the ability to
sanctify such products. When they crossed the Jordan and took possession
of the Land they were able to achieve greater spirituality and therefore to
sanctify, at least in some measure even inanimate things. So the Tabernacle
erected at Shilo, with a spirituality enhanced by the mind, had walls of
stone, yet it was still covered with the Tent they had made in desert.
After the establishment of the Davidic dynasty, in the heart of Israel
there came an expansion and outpouring of holiness that enabled the people
to reach the highest level of sanctity. This outpouring of holiness allowed
David and Solomon to enlarge the borders of the Land, beyond that of the
Seven Nations. Now even inanimate materials like stone and metal were able
to be made holy and the Temple of David and Solomon was built completely of
Copyright © 2002 by Rabbi Meir Tamari and Project Genesis, Inc.
Dr. Tamari is a renowned economist, Jewish scholar, and founder of the Center For Business Ethics (www.besr.org) in Jerusalem.