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Offline edu

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A Mountain, a Field and a House
« on: April 21, 2017, 12:26:58 AM »

Parshat Vayishlach – a Mountain, a Field and a House

The Gemarra in Tractate Pesachim (88a) describes each of the forefathers with a different nickname

As it says:

“And said Rabbi Eliezer: What is the meaning of that which is written concerning the
Temple to be built in Messianic times: “And many nations will go and say: Go and let
us go up to the mountain of Hashem, to the house of the G-d of Yaakov ”
Is He the G-d of Yaakov, and not the G-d of Avraham and Yitzchak?
Rather, this is what it means:
Not like Avraham, in connection with whom it is written “mountain” about it the
Temple, as it says: “And Avraham called the name of the place: ‘Hashem is seen’, that it
is said today, Hashem is seen on the mountain.” The word mountain connotes that the
Temple was not settled as a house is, thus hinting that the first Temple would be
And not like Yitzchak, in connection with whom it is written “field” about it, as it
says: “And Yitzchak went out to pray in the field.” This, too, connotes that the Temple
was not properly settled, and hints that also the second Temple would be destroyed.
Rather like Yaakov who called it a “house”, as it says: “And he called the name of
the place Beit El (‘the house of G-d).”
The word “house” connotes that it was permanently settled, referring to the third Temple,
yet to be built.”

Abraham is called a mountain. A mountain is an elevated place which is higher than its surroundings and dominates it. We know that when we are looking for a place for an army base, the preference is for high places. Abraham would go up to the mountains, build altars to G-d and call them in the name of G-d‪.

Isaac is called a field. The field also has its advantages: it’s a wide and open place, fit for planting and constitutes a symbol of development. Isaac would wander in the field and sow the field‪.

Jacob is called a house. As opposed to the advantages of the mountain (the symbol of elevation and control of the surroundings) and the field (the symbol of development and planting), the house seems to be something closed and limited, not especially wide and does not dominate its surroundings‪.

However, specifically Jacob succeeded in a certain sense more than the fathers before him. Abraham – his offspring are not complete; Isaac alone continues the nation of Israel and not Ishmael. Isaac – his offspring are not complete; Jacob alone succeeds him, not Esau. It is only Jacob whose descendants are complete; all of his children continue the nation of Israel‪.

Suddenly it becomes clear that‪, indeed a house is closed and limited, but it also has its unique advantages. Like an enclosed site, it is available for whoever is in it, and constitutes a symbol of deep characteristics: guarding the interior and a special inner strength. The house also symbolizes the inner wholeness‪.

Abraham is called a mountain, and symbolizes spiritual elevation. But his offspring were not complete, and one of his sons was rejected from continuing his mission‪.

Isaac is called a field, and in this capacity he symbolizes openness and development. But also with Isaac like Abraham, one of his sons does not continue the Divine mission for which his father was chosen‪.

Specifically‪, with Jacob the vision is realized and all his offspring are complete; all of his sons continue in his path as representatives of G-d on the land, and it is through them that the nation of Israel is built – the assemblage of Israel. Jacob merited to build the complete Jewish house; the house which guards the strength of the assemblage of Israel’s personality‪.

We can search for spirituality in a high place, and we can also search for it in a place that is open to spirituality. But in the end, the search has to be in the house: there, within the assembly, the strength gets stronger, there it is possible to slowly build the house, and from within the house to go out and light up the whole world.

Offline edu

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Re: A Mountain, a Field and a House
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2017, 12:51:34 AM »
Before having done any heavy research into the subject this is my initial thoughts about the difference between Mountain, Field, and House. Namely, they are 3 different ways to emphasize the 500 by 500 cubit area of the Temple Mount.
The outer perimeter of the Temple Mount is a place for prayer, where even Gentiles are permitted to go there and prayers are more often answered favorably in that area than in other areas.
Field represents those areas of the Temple, where the Gentiles can not enter, but we can do things there on their behalf such as offering sacrifices for them.

House represents the Heichal building - where activities of holiness were done there exclusively for Jewish concerns, such as offering incense, showbread, menora, Yom Kippur service in the Holy of Holies etc.

Offline edu

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Re: A Mountain, a Field and a House
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2017, 02:54:09 PM »
This a translation of what Rabbi Avraham Y. Kook, Chief Rabbi of British Mandate Palestine said on the subject
Source Shmuot Raaya, Toldot 5695
This did our sages expound "not like Avraham that called it mountain, and not like Yitzchak that called it field, rather like Yaakov that called it house" (Pesachim 88a). Mountain has the aspect of being ownerless, to a field there is a relationship of ownership and property, although it is open and breached for the masses, but the house is surrounded by partitions and locked and the entrance into it is only with permission.
Avraham in his kindness said "Would that it be that Yishmael live before you" (Breishit/Genesis 17:18) Yitzchak with his Gevura, (which here I will translate as the attribute of power, or overcoming) thought to hand over the blessings, to Eisav. That is to say their thoughts were to extract the chosen nation from amidst the Gentiles. Not to be a company of servers of Hashem who are exclusive and socially elite. Just Yaakov discerned that the survival of the congregation of believers is dependent on being alone.
Rabbi Kook associates Yaakov with the attribute of Tifferet.
He contends
indeed the attribute of Tifferet has its foundation in kindness, to do good for the nations on the spiritual plain, but it also has in it the attribute of Gevura, that which criticizes (or oversees) and removes the foreign elements.

Offline edu

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Re: A Mountain, a Field and a House
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2017, 03:12:48 PM »
Here is some english translations of Rabbi Kahane's writings on the subject of separation, which explains how are separation from the Gentiles is ultimately both for the good of Israel and for the good of the Gentiles.
03 September 2015
"Havdalah (Separation)"
19 Elul 5775

Re-posting since we all need reminding, especially in these days where "unification" is being touted over "separation".


12 Shevat 5775

In the beginning, the Creator made order out of chaos (B'reishit, chapter 1). Those who would deny the Creator and set themselves in His place are bringing chaos from which to create a new world order. Their stated goal is "out of many - one," a global unity without God, r"l, their "one" to replace The One.

Excerpts from Havdalah (Separation) by Rabbi Meir Kahane
in Or Hara'ayon, chapter 25

...G-d established two great and fundamental pinciples for Israel, namely, 1) separation and isolationism from the nations, and 2) clinging to G-d. Israel must separate themselves from evil and from the nations to the precise degree that they are commanded to cling to G-d.

...G-d decreed upon holy Israel that they must be separated from impurity and from the impure nations. The idolatry and foreign culture of the nations cannot coexist with G-d's Torah or with G-d Himself. It, therefore, says, "You shall be holy to Me, for I, the L-rd, am holy, and I have separated you out from among the nations to be Mine." (Lev. 20:26) Our sages comment, " 'I have separated you out from among the nations to be Mine': If you are separated from the nations, then you are Mine, otherwise, you belong to Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylonia and his associates." (Torat Kohanim, Kedoshim, 9)

Israel's being separated from the nations is so important because, if Israel, chosen to be G-d's holy, special people, are not set apart from them, but influenced by their culture, why then, were Israel created? What special purpose is there for the existence of Israel and the world? If they are like Nebuchadnezzar in behavior and thought, in their impurity, arrogance and profanations, why should G-d defend them and ensure their survival?....

G-d established that there must be no unity between Israel and the nations. They must not mix or mingle together. The walls separating them must never come down. Rather, there must be separation, borders, a division. This separation, indeed, serves the purpose of unity, but genuine unity of a world under Divine sovereignty, for a united world of falsehood is not G-d's will....

The argument of the nations... is that we must achieve unity and break down the walls of separation. Is this not fair and logical according to the false thinking of the worshippers of foreign culture? Is not the unity of all nations and the disappearance of differences between Israel and the nations the goal of the Hellenists, who in any event have already put an end to every logical and intellectual difference between themselves and the nations? Before us we have a recommendation for one world and one people, and why should Israel remain alone, a nation that dwells apart?

...The admiration of the whole world, a "light unto the nations"... here is their basic enticement, adopted also by the Hellenists and falsifiers of Israel. They have distorted the concept of Israel being a "covenant of the people, a light unto the nations." (Isaiah 42:6) In their hands, this has turned into a demand that we depart the Land of our isolation and cling to the nations in the exile, living there with them in order to serve as their beacon.

[In our day, it is they who wish to be allowed to come here and join with us in this holy land as one people and one nation - both Jew and gentile together, G-d forbid!**]

To achieve this, we are supposed to abandon unpleasant, "unacceptable" concepts and laws, lest these make the nations hate us, and all this in the name of unity. That is, we are supposed to assimilate for the sake of unity....

Certainly, G-d's goal is world unity, but not based on falsehood and evil, and not through acceptance of the abominable concepts of coexistence and tolerance which pave the way for equating holiness and abomination, good and evil. Unity is desirable but only after goodness reigns in the world and all accept G-d's sovereignty. When G-d's truth and mastery reign on earth, there will be real unity. It will come precisely through separation.

...The separation G-d decreed upon the universe as a supreme value serves to divide between good and evil. Therefore, the Torah says, "G-d saw the light, that it was good, and he separated between the light and the darkness." This implies that not only was the light good, but so was it's separation from darkness, good from evil.

From the Havdalah Service...

Blessed are You, our G-d, King of the Universe
Who separates between holy and profane, between
Light and darkness, between
Israel and other nations, between
The Sabbath day and the six working days....