Mikdash and Mussar by Rabbi David Einhorn


Hashem tells Moshe Rabbeinu in Parashat Mishpatim, “Shalosh Pe’amim BaShanah YeiRa’eh Chol Zechurecha Et Pnei Ha’Adon Hashem”, "Three times in the year all your men shall appear before the Lord Hashem” (Exo. 23:17). This introduces the Mitzvah of Re’'iyah, the obligation to appear in the Beit HaMikdash on each of the three main biblical festivals (Pesach, Shavu’ot, and Sukkot).

The Me’or Einayim, Reb Nachum of Chernobyl, states based on the Zohar that everything in the Torah is relevant to every person in every generation. But how can the mitzvah of Re’iyah, which revolves around the Beit HaMikdash, be relevant at a time when the Beit HaMikdash is not standing? How can we relate to this mitzvah?

Rav Shimshon Pincus posits that this mitzvah is still very relevant in our time, as our Batei Knesset are Mikdashim Me’atim, mini-Temples. We still enter Hashem’s house on Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot.

How should we appear before Hashem? When a person is going on an eagerly anticipated date or job interview, he doesn't merely show up. He makes sure he looks as good as possible: he wears nice clothing, he combs his hair, and the like.

We must realize that ‘looking good’ before Hashem is even more important than before a mortal. But we must remember that Hashem sees far deeper than people do: "Ki Ha’Adam YiReh La’Einayim VaHashem YiReh LaLeivav”, “For man looks on the outward appearance, but Hashem looks into the heart" (Shmuel Aleph 16:7). When we come before Hashem in prayer on Yom Tov, we should ask ourselves: Have we purified our hearts? Do we harbor jealousy toward others? Are we focusing on the truly important things in life?

Appearing before Hashem takes preparation. Pesach is only a few months away, and besides for all of the physical cleaning that we must perform, we all must wash ourselves spiritually. Let us seize this opportunity to strengthen our relationships with our fellow human beings and with Hashem, and be ready to enter His house on the 15th of Nissan looking our very best.

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