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Festival Prayers Mussaf: U’mipnei Chata’einu

“But because of our sins we have been exiled from our land and sent far from our soil. We cannot ascend to appear and to prostrate ourselves before You and to perform our obligations in the House of Your choice, in the great and holy House, upon which Your Name was proclaimed.”


Rabbi Isaac adduced to the verse: “My beloved is like a doe or a young hart, behold he stands behind our wall (Shir Hashirim 2:9).” Happy are Israel to whom it has been granted that this pledge should be with them from the Supreme King, for though they are in exile, the Holy One, Blessed is He, comes at the beginning of every month and on every Shabbat and festival to take note of them and to look at His pledge which is with them, His most precious possession.

He is like a king whose queen has offended him so that he has expelled her from the palace. What does she do? She takes the king’s son, his pride and his darling; and because the king is still fond of her he leaves him with her.

When the king yearns for the queen and her son, he climbs up roofs and goes down steps to peep at them through chinks in walls, and when he obtains a glimpse of them he weeps behind the wall and then departs.

So Israel, though they have gone forth from the King’s palace, have not lost that pledge, which the King has left with them because He still loves them, and when He yearns for them He goes up on roofs and steps to gain a sight of them through the cracks in the wall (symbolized by the way the Kohanim spread their fingers while blessing the people), as it says, “He looks in at the windows, He glances through the lattice,” in the synagogues and houses of study. Therefore Israel should rejoice on the day on which they know this, and say, “This is the day on which God has wrought; we will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalms 118:24 – Final Chapter of Hallel).” (Zohar III; Bechukotai 114b)

The Ramak (Ohr Yakar) expands on this and says that when God peeks at us and sees that although we rejoice we also weep, ““But because of our sins…” that we have lost the opportunity to ascend to His House, God rejoices that His Queen – the Shechinah – and Child – Israel –  miss Him so much, and He counts each of our tears as a stone to be used in rebuilding the Beit Hamikdash.

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