Erev Shabbos Kodesh Inspiration Mishpatim 5776

The Gemara (Bava Kama 60b) makes a puzzling statement regarding a passuk in this week’s parasha. It is said (Shemos 22:5) כִּי תֵצֵא אֵשׁ וּמָצְאָה קֹצִים וְנֶאֱכַל גָּדִישׁ אוֹ הַקָּמָה אוֹ הַשָּׂדֶה שַׁלֵּם יְשַׁלֵּם הַמַּבְעִר אֶת הַבְּעֵרָה, if a fire shall go forth and find thorns, and a stack of grain or a standing crop or a field is consumed, the one who kindled the fire shall make restitution. and the Gemara states, כי תצא אש ומצאה קוצים תצא מעצמה שלם ישלם המבעיר את הבערה אמר הקב”ה עלי לשלם את הבערה שהבערתי אני הציתי אש בציון שנאמר {איכה ד-יא} ויצת אש בציון ותאכל יסודותיה ואני עתיד לבנותה באש שנאמר {זכריה ב-ט} ואני אהיה לה חומת אש סביב ולכבוד אהיה בתוכה,  HaShem said, I lit the fire of Tziyon and I will make restitution by rebuilding the Bais HaMikdash through fire. The Gemara is saying that HaShem is taking responsibility for the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash and therefore He will pay restitution by rebuilding it. One must wonder why HaShem takes the blame for the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash? Was it not our sins that destroyed the Bais HaMikdash?

The answer to this question can be found in the Gemara (Yerushalmi Yoma 1:1) that states that any generation that does not have the Bais HaMikdash built in their time, it is deemed as if the Bais HaMikdash was destroyed in their time. Why does the Gemara use the passive expression of “the generation that does not have the Bais  HaMikdash built,” as opposed to stating that “one who causes the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash” or “one who does not build the Bais HaMikdash?” The answer to this question can be found in the passuk cited earlier. It is said כִּי תֵצֵא אֵשׁ וּמָצְאָה קֹצִים, if a fire shall go forth and find thorns, the fire goes out on its own. Often, we see that people commit various sins and we stand by, apathetically, and we “watch the fire burn.” Do we take a stand in matters of holiness and purity? Do we cry for those who don’t even know how to recite Shema? While there are many approaches to bringing close estranged Jews and sinners, one thing is for certain. We must be disturbed that most of world Jewry is not yet fulfilling HaShem’s will. If we can’t even shed a tear or give a krechzt for all the Jewish suffering and the decadent level of our society that has had terrible influences on our communities, then perhaps we are accomplices of allowing the Bais HaMikdash to be destroyed in our time. This is the message of the Gemara that states that HaShem declared that He destroyed the Bais HaMikdash. HaShem is hinting to us that if we are not willing to take the blame for the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash, then He will take the responsibility. Yet, in truth, the rise and fall of the Bais HaMikdash is on our hands. Let us use this parasha, replete with laws that focus on our interpersonal relationships with our fellow Jews, to be a catalyst to the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash, speedily, in our days.

Have a REBUILDING Shabbos!

Rabbi Adler

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