Parashas Pekudei

This week’s parashah begins (Shemos 38:21): “These are the accounts of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of testimony.” Building on the similarity between the word mishkan and the word mashkon, meaning collateral, the Midrash in Shemos Rabbah 51:3 reads this verse as hinting that the Beis HaMikdash would twice be given as security. We presented one of the Maggid’s explanations of this Midrash in a previous piece; here we present another one.
The Midrash compares the opening verse of our parashah with the following verse (Nechemiah 1:7): “We have been indeed destructive (chabol chabalnu) toward You, and we have not observed the mitzvos ….” The phrase chabol chabalnu can also be read as an allusion to two security deposits, for the term chabol can be used, as in Devarim 24:6, to refer to taking a security deposit. One way of interpreting the two security deposits is to say that they correspond to the two occasions on which the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed. But the Maggid notes that this interpretation is not entirely exact, for the second Beis HaMikdash was a lesser offshoot of the first Beis HaMikdash, so that the two destructions were really two phases of a single action. The Maggid therefore suggests an alternate interpretation.
Shlomo HaMelech writes (Koheles 1:9): “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done – there is nothing beneath the sun that is new.” Shlomo is telling us that what Hashem brought forth in the past is all preparation for what He will bring forth in the future; it is upon the past that the future will be built. As an analogy, suppose that someone wishes to buy a large quantity of goods, but cannot conclude the purchase right away, either because he does not have all the money or because the goods are still in production. He will then lock in the deal with a security deposit. Similarly, the various kindnesses Hashem performed for the Jewish People during their formative years served as the means of locking in the everlasting kindnesses that He will bestow on us in the end of days. In particular, the first Beis HaMikdash was a security deposit for the eternal Beis HaMikdash. Thus, during the inaugural ceremony for the first Beis HaMikdash, Shlomo declared (Melachim Alef 8:12-13): “Hashem said that He would dwell in the thick cloud. I have surely built a dwelling-house for You, the foundation for Your eternal dwelling.” Shlomo’s Mikdash was the foundation for the eternal Mikdash of the future.
The Maggid now introduces a parable. A man once borrowed a sum of money from a friend, and gave him a precious gem as security. Some time later, the lender ran short of funds, and borrowed some money from someone else, and, as security, gave him the gem. The original borrower learned what happened, and he was saddened that his gem was now in the hands of a stranger.
Similarly, Hashem gave us the first Beis HaMikdash a security deposit for the eternal Beis HaMikdash. But then we sinned grieviously, engaging in idol worship and other evil pursuits. We thereby descended into a state of spiritual poverty. As a bailout, the Beis HaMikdash was relinquished to the Babylonians, who plundered and destroyed it. In effect, we took the security deposit that Hashem had given us and, lamentably, handed it over to strangers.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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