The Jewish Home

וַיְבִאֶהָ יִצְחָק הָאֹהֱלָה שָׂרָה אִמּוֹ וַיִּקַּח אֶת רִבְקָה וַתְּהִי לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה וַיֶּאֱהָבֶהָ וַיִּנָּחֵם יִצְחָק אַחֲרֵי אִמּוֹ.

And Yitzchak brought her to his mother Sarah’s tent, and he wedded Rivqah and she became a wife for him and he loved her; and Yitzchak was comforted after losing his mother…
– Bereishit 24:67

ויביאה האהלה והרי היא שרה אמו כלומר ונעשית דוגמת שרה אמו שכל זמן ששרה קיימת היה נר דלוק מע”ש לערב שבת וברכה מצויה בעיסה וענן קשור על האהל ומשמתה פסקו וכשבאת רבקה חזרו

He brought her to the tent, and beheld that she was Sarah his mother. That is to say, she became in the image of his mother Sarah. For as long as Sarah was alive, the candle burned from erev Shabbos eve to erev Shabbos, a blessing was found in the dough, and a cloud was connected onto the tent. When Sarah died these things ceased, but when Rivka arrived they returned.
—Bereishis Rabba 80, as quoted by Rashi ad loc

It is often noted that these three miraculous blessings parallel similar ones involving the three utensils in the front room of the Beis haMiqdash: the ner ma’aravi (western light) of the menorah never burned out; the lechem hapanim (showbread) remained fresh from the time it was placed on the shulchan on erev Shabbos until the next erev Shabbos when new bread was put out; and the cloud of smoke from the qetores hovered over the golden mizbeiach in a perfectly vertical pillar.

As it was taught to me, the sages were making a statement about the Jewish Home, that every home is a small Temple, a place of holiness derived from the Beis haMiqdash itself.

But it hit me this morning, they are actually making a much stronger statement. After all, they are drawing the comparison to Sarah and Rivqah’s homes before there ever was a Mishkan or Beis haMiqdash. The holiness of the Jewish Home is not in the image of the Beis haMiqdash, but the other way around —

The sanctity of the Beis haMiqdash itself derives from that of the Jewish Home.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *