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Home > Secteur-English > General > Tisha b’Av. Rav Mosheh Twersky

Tisha b’Av. Rav Mosheh Twersky

Chazal say that someone who has deiah it is as if the Beis Ha’Mikdash was rebuilt in his days (Sanhedrin 92a). How are we to understand this ? Why is having deiah likened to the Beis Ha’Mikdash ? We find a similarly emphatic statement in Nedarim 41a : one who has deiah has everything and one who is lacking deiah, what does he have ?” The fact that Chazal are telling us that without deiah one has nothing means that we really ought to try and understand what deiah is. Regarding Betzalel (Shmos 31:3) we find that Hashem gave him three things : chochmah, tevunah, and daas. Rashi explains there that chochmah, is the raw knowledge that one is taught by others, and tevunah is what one is able to derive on one’s own from that which he was taught. The understanding he gains of what he learned by dint of his efforts to comprehend it well. Accordingly, daas is the finished product. The wisdom that is ready for practical implementation.

Rashi also says that daas is ruach ha’kodesh. Are these two completely different explanations ? The first approach seems to pin daas as the final product of a person’s intellect, whereas the ruach ha’kodesh approach seems to be a matter of Divine inspiration that is not within the bounds of human intellect. However, it really isn’t two different approaches. Rabbeinu Yonah writes in Shaarei Teshuvah (1:10) that the Creator has blown into us a “living soul which is wise of heart and possessed of solid intellect”. The intellect, then, is the expression and manifestation of the nishmas chayim, the neshamah that Hashem bestows upon us. The neshamah is our direct connection to the Creator, because it – more than any other facet of creation – is the most direct and refined vehicle of the revelation of Godliness in the world. The ruach ha’kodesh and the seichel are really the same, because the intellect is the expression and manifestation of the neshamah which is our direct and most powerful connection to Ha’Kadosh Baruch Hu.

There is a pasuk in Shir Ha’Shirim (4:4) that says, “Like the tower of Dovid is your neck”, and Chazal tell us that this is an allusion to the Beis Ha’Mikdash. And why is the Beis Ha’Mikdash compared to a neck ? Because the neck serves as the connecting bridge between the spiritual head of the body and the lower, physical part of the body. So too, the Beis Ha’Mikdash is that which connects Shamayim and Aretz as we see in the dream of Yaakov avinu. The ladder was firmly anchored in the ground but it reached all the way up to Shamayim. The lower part of the ladder is on the earth side, and the upper part of the ladder on the Heaven side. And what was in the middle ? Rashi (Breishis 28:17) explains that the middle of the ladder was directly corresponding to the location of the Beis Ha’Mikdash. Because the Beis Ha’Mikdash – which is where we are able to fully serve Hashem and connect to him – is the connecting bridge between Shamayim and Aretz. Now we understand why deiah is like the Beis Ha’Mikdash, because it is through our seichel that we come to know and connect with Hashem and thereby build the connection between Shamayim and Aretz.

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