M’lochim I, 7:51
This week’s haftorah describes the glorious moment when King Solomon completed the construction of the Bais Hamikdash. He gathered together the entire Jewish nation and arranged for the Holy Ark to be transported from the city of Dovid to the Temple site. And with great joy and celebration the Ark was carried by the priests into the Bais Hamikdash and placed in its inner chamber. Immediately following this process the cloud of Hashem’s glory ascended upon the Sanctuary and the Divine Presence rested upon the Ark.
Shlomo Hamelech responded by blessing the Jewish people and thanking Hashem for fulfilling His word expressed to Dovid Hamelech. Although Hashem never asked anyone to build Him a Temple the absence of a permanent home for Hashem troubled and concerned Dovid Hamelech for a long time. Hashem responded to Dovid’s urge and informed him that his son Shlomo would have the privilege of building the Bais Hamikdash. Hashem said, “Since it was in your heart, Dovid to build an edifice for Me you have done well because it was with your heart.” (8:18) The Malbim explains this mysterious phraseology, “with your heart”, in the following manner. Although Dovid Hamelech was not personally privileged to physically erect the Bais Hamikdash, in his heart he did erect it. Hashem, in response, regarded this interest and focus as if Dovid himself truly erected the Bais Hamikdash.
The significance of this dimension can be understood when we view the actual circumstances revolving around the entrance of the Ark into the Sanctuary. At the end of this chapter we are told about the special joy the Jewish people experienced during these precious moments. The Scriptures say, “And they returned to their tents joyous and content over all the goodness which Hashem performed for His servant Dovid and His nation Israel.” (M’lochim I, 8:61) Our Chazal (see Rashi ad loc.) explain the specific focus on Dovid Hamelech as the central figure in the celebration over the erection of the Bais Hamikdash. They inform us of a unique experience which transpired when the attempt was made to bring the Ark into the Sanctuary. They recount that the Sanctuary doors locked shut and refused to allow the Ark entry. After many futile attempts by King Solomon beseeching Hashem to open the doors Shlomo mentioned the merit of his father Dovid’s good deeds and the doors swung open immediately. This incident was public testimony to all that the true merit for the erection of the Bais Hamikdash was Dovid Hamelech. It was all due to his concern over the erection of this edifice and his longing so impatiently for the realization of this dream. Hashem therefore informed Dovid Hamelech that the had done well because he actually built the Bais Hamikdash in and through his heart.
This lesson finds its parallel in this week’s sidra and in the events revolving around the construction of the Mishkan. The Torah tells us (see Shmos 39:33) that upon completion of the Mishkan the skilled workers presented Moshe Rabbeinu with all of its components for erection. Rashi quotes the Midrash Tanchuma which explains that the workers were incapable of physically erecting the Mishkan themselves. Hashem had reserved this privilege for Moshe Rabbeinu because he had not been personally involved in any of the actual construction. Moshe Rabbeinu wondered in bewilderment how one human being would be physically capable of erecting such a massive structure. Hashem responded that He would assist Moshe Rabbeinu and so it was. Although Moshe Rabbeinu had taken a back seat in the construction, in truth it was only through his efforts that the Mishkan was constructed. Moshe was the prophet who received all the directions and plans for the Mishkan and it was Moshe who transmitted them to the Jewish people with complete accuracy. When the moment of truth finally arrived it was Moshe Rabbeinu who truly deserved the credit and it was he who received it. Through the miracle surrounding the Mishkan’s erection the entire Jewish nation realized that it was Moshe Rabbeinu who was truly responsible for the construction and erection of the Mishkan and it was to him that they truly owed their debt of gratitude.
This above insight is alluded to in words of the Baal Haturim (Shmos 40:17) who makes reference to the fact that Dovid Hamelech is actually credited with the erection of the Bais Hamikdash. Drawing from the similarity between the Torah and the Scripture’s words regarding these accomplishments we conclude that the true credit of the Mishkan and the Bais Hamikdash belongs to those who envisioned these sacred structures and whose hearts were totally immersed in the realization of these lofty goals. Although the physical construction was done by others, the true builders of the Sanctuaries were those who built them at heart, Moshe Rabbeinu and Dovid Hamelech.