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Shabbat Prayer: “Rav Lach Shevet”

“Too long have you dwelled in the valley of weeping; He will shower compassion upon you (Lecha Dodi).” These words call upon us to rise from our “valley of weeping,” the valley of exile, and enter the Highest Place, the Beit Hamikdash. There is no room for weeping on Shabbat; it can only fully manifest itself in a world of joy, a world in which we are all rising, attempting to climb back into the Beit Hamikdash.


The Sefat Emet (Vayigash) teaches that, “when the midrash describes Jacob taking twelve stones, and they unify into a single stone on the future place of the Beit Hamikdash, it is an indication that the Beit Hamikdash derives its power from the unification of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. It therefore has twelve gates; one for each tribe. (“Zeh” ha’Shaar: the numerical value of Zeh is 12).

“However, there was a thirteenth gate in the Beit Hamikdash that represented the unification of the Twelve Tribes.

“This is why Joseph wept on Benjamin’s neck over the destruction of the Temple; just as the neck connects the head to the body; the Beit Hamikdash connects the Upper and Lower Worlds, symbolized by the ladder in Jacob’s dream.”

Machberes Avodas Hashem

That ladder is the way we “rise,” as summoned to do by these words: climb the ladder that connects the Upper and Lower Worlds, climb together as a unity, so that we create the Beit Hamikdash, even if not in its physical form.

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