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What Is The Reason: Exile of Shechina, Mincha Time & the Incense Offering Print E-mail

What Is The ReasonWhat does it mean when it says that the Shechina – the Divine Presence – went into exile with Israel? M.A. The Maharsha wonders about the same question, The verse says, “The entire world is filled with His glory,” so how can we say that the Shechina is in exile? He answers that God’s Presence is revealed in specific places such as the Mishkan – the Tabernacle – and the Beit Hamikdash – the Temple in Jerusalem. The Sages are teaching us that the Divine Presence left her ‘regular’ places in order to reveal herself to us even in exile.

The Alshich explains that the Divine Presence accompanies us in exile in order to protect us from corrupting influences, and to ensure that we will survive no matter what happens.

The Nodeh B’Yehuda (O’C 107) bases his explanation on the Rambam’s definition of Shechina as Divine Providence. When we lived in Israel with the Temple, God’s Providence – Shechina – was a constant and very real presence. However, now that we are in exile, we are not as aware of God’s guiding Hand, and that is what is described as the exile of the Shechina.

Is it better to pray Mincha – the Afternoon Service – earlier or later? Y.P.

The Machberet Ha’Aruch says that the best time to pray Mincha is at 61/2 hours into the day: 30 minutes after the midpoint between sunrise and sunset. Our Sages ruled that people who are working and cannot stop in middle of the day may pray later in the afternoon. However, one who can stop to pray Mincha early and does not, will not see blessing in that prayer.

What is the symbolism behind all the ingredients in and measurements of the Ketoret – the Incense Offering? Someone told me that you taught that the spices and their measure correspond to the days of the year. B.G.

The subject is far to wide and deep to be explained in a single essay. However, I will share some thoughts from the Li Lishu’a:

The stacte, onycha, galbanum and frankincense, were brought in measures of seventy ‘maneh’. 3 maneh were then removed, leaving 277, corresponding to the four seasons – 4 ingredients – and the 277 days that are not holy.

The second group of four: myrrh, cassia, spikenard and saffron, were brought in measures of 16 maneh, totaling 64, which corresponds to the 49 days of Shabbat, 7 days of Succot & Shemini Atzeret. (We do not include Hoshana Rabbah – see Aromatic bark), 7 of Pesach and 1 of Shavuot.

Costus was offered in a measure of 12 maneh corresponding to the 12 Roshei Chodesh of the year.

Aromatic bark was offered in measures of 3 maneh corresponding to 3 days of Judgment: Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Hoshana Rabbah.

Cinnamon was offered in a measure of 9 maneh corresponding to the 8 days of Chanukah and the one day of Purim.

The eleven spices are offered as a fixing of the damage caused to the 10 Spiritual Forces by the sin of the Tree of Knowledge and the Or Makif – The Light that Surrounds and protects them. Each of these times fixes a different one of the Sephirot.
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