At the inauguration of Shlomo HaMelech’s Beit HaMikdash, Shlomo and the rest of the Jewish people pray to Hashem. They plead to Hashem – “Hashem, please always be there for us, please don’t ever let your Beit HaMikdash get destroyed.” Shlomo and the Jewish people really prayed from their heart! They loved Hashem so much and didn’t want anything to happen to His presence.
Hashem Almighty responds to his children’s prayers (Melachim I 9:3), as He says to them: “My beautiful Children, My heart and my mind will always be on the Beit HaMikdash.” Hashem is committing to keeping his presence in the Beit HaMikdash eternally.
However, a few Pesukim later, Hashem calls out to King Shlomo and Kelal Yisrael again and says to them: ‘‘Shlomo, if you and my children disregard my beautiful Torah, I will have no choice but to destroy the Beit HaMikdash.’’
Wait a minute – there’s an obvious question that must be asked: Hashem seems to be retracting His word. At first, Hashem promises that His heart and mind will always be on the Beit HaMikdash no matter what. But then, only a few Pesukim later, it seems that Hashem is telling His children that His love is “conditional” – His presence will remain with the Jews in the Beit HaMikdash only so long as they keep his Torah. Which approach is right?
There are two answers offered to this problem. Let’s take a look at Rashi’s answer first. According to Rashi, there is no question here. Both Pesukim are saying the same thing. The promise made by Hashem to the Jewish people was also “on condition.” We see from here that when we do Teshuvah, our Tefilot sway Hashem’s mind to reverse a bad decree, because over here, when Kelal Yisrael sin and don’t listen to their father in Heaven, Hashem’s mind is also swayed to reverse a good decree. Rashi is hammering home for us what the power of Tefilah really is! One simple prayer can make the difference!
Now let’s examine Radak’s approach to solving this problem. In the first set of Pesukim, when Hashem says that His presence is permanent, Hashem is referring to his presence in the Beit HaMikdash. But a few Pesukim later, when Hashem says that it is conditional, He’s not talking about His presence being on condition; rather, what is on condition is the building that we call the Beit HaMikdash. Hashem’s presence and love for us will never be on condition.
In our lives, when all of us struggle today to find meaning and light in this world, the Kotel is our symbol of hope. Just because we have sinned and are not deserving of having the great Beit HaMikdash in our midst right now doesn’t mean that Hashem’s presence has left us. The Kotel is our light! It is our everlasting symbol of Hashem’s presence.
The beauty of the Jewish People is that each and every one of us, no matter what our level of observance is, has a soul. This soul that we were blessed with by Hashem is like a computer chip inside a robot. A robot, whether he obeys his master or whether he runs away from his master, deep down knows who created him. He knows that his master loves him more than anyone can possibly imagine. While the robot thinks he knows where he is running to, deep down he knows that he should follow the chip back home.
We were all created with chips called souls. Our Master Who created us loves us more than we could ever imagine. Sadly to say, many of us have run away from our master. While we think we know where we are running to, deep down we know that we should follow our souls back home. Hashem is awaiting our arrival with open arms, smiling ear to ear. Hashem cannot wait for all the souls to return back home to Him. And once our deeply bruised souls find our way back, Hashem’s beautiful Beit HaMikdash will finally be rebuilt once again! May we all continue to find our way back home!