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Tehillim Tools: Beit haLevi: Psalm 74:3

The 4th of Iyar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Yosef Dov (Yoshe Ber) Solovetchik of Brisk, the Beis Halevi, father of Rav Chaim older brother of Rav Ahron Soloveichik. Yosef Dov (1820-1892) was born in Nisvizh, near Minsk, to Reb Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik. Rav Yitzchak Zev was a grandson through his mother of Rav Chaim of Volozhin. Although Reb Yitzchak Zev was not a Rav he was known as a baki in Shas and Shulchan Aruch. By the time Yosef Dov was ten he knew Mesechtas Bava Kama, Bava Metzia, Bava Basra, Brachos, Gittin and Kiddushin by heart and was already writing his own chiddushim. When he was 11 his father brought him to Volozhin to learn under his uncle, Rav Itzeleh, the Rosh Yeshiva and son of Rav Chaim of Volozhin. After his marriage, his father-in-law supported him for thirteen years. In 1849, Rav Itzeleh of Volozhin passed away. Less than four years later, his successor, Rav Eliezer Yitzchak Fried also passed away. The Rabbanim decided that two descendants of Rav Chaim of Volozhin, the Netziv and the Beis Haleivi, would lead the yeshiva. The Netziv would be Rosh Yeshiva and the Beis Haleivi would be assistant Rosh Yeshiva.The sefer Beis Haleivi is comprised primarily from the shiurim he gave in Volozhin. His derech halimud was something that was completely new and original to the Volozhiner Yeshiva and was very different from the traditional way that shiurim were given there. His sefer Beis Haleivi was published in 1863. In 1865, a delegation from the city of Slutzk came to the Beis Haleivi to present him with a ksav rabbanus that was signed by all of the respected members of the community and recommended by Rav Yitzchak Elchonon Spektor, the Kovno Rav. The Beis Haleivi served as Rav of Slutzk for close to ten years, but his unbending battle against the maskilim and the wealthy eventually forced him from the city. In 1865, a delegation from Brisk came to him and offered him the position of Rav to replace Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin who had just moved to Eretz Yisrael. The Beis Haleivi served as Rav in Brisk for 17 years until his passing.


“Lift Your footsteps to wreak eternal ruin, to avenge everything that the enemy has harmed in the Sanctuary (Psalms 74:3).” The fact that the nations did not destroy the Temple in Heaven was either because they did not truly desire to cause such destruction or perhaps they did so desire but were unable to do so.

We can examine this from the perspective of the Ten Levels of Sanctity: The Land of Israel is holier than all other lands. Cities in Israel that are surrounded by a wall are holier than other cities. Inside the walls of Jerusalem is more sanctified. The Temple Mount is more sanctified. The Sanctuary of Israel is yet more sanctified. The Sanctuary of the Kohanim is even more sanctified. Then there is the space between the entrance and the Altar, the Sanctuary, and the Holy of Holies (Mishnah, Keilim 1)

If we saw that the holier things were destroyed less than those things which were less holy we could have said that the nations did not want to destroy the Heavenly Temple because of its great sanctity. However, unfortunately, we see that those things which were more sanctified were destroyed even more and therefore we see that the nations of the world actually desired to destroy even the Temple in Heaven, but were unable to do so.

This is the meaning of the verse, “Everything that the enemy has harmed in the Sanctuary,” all of the evil of the enemy including his evil intention to destroy he the Temple on high, as the verse says, “the axes in the thicket of trees (Verse Five).”

We must understand the intentions of our enemies; they are not satisfied only in fighting us, but their true intention is to fight the Presence of God in the world.

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