Where It’s All At

Av 24, 5783
August 11, 2023
Candlelighting Time 7:43 PM 

We are prohibited from offering sacrifices randomly wherever we want. We must bring them to the Beis Hamikdash and offer them on the altar that is specifically prepared for that role. Chasam Sofer quotes his Rebbe, the Hafla’ah, who explains that this an allusion to the Sanhedrin, the ‘think tank’ of the nation where the greatest Talmudic scholars gathered and rendered their halachic decision which define our nation’s very character. The locale of the Sanhedrin is next to the altar upon which the sacrifices are brought. Certainly, it is no accident that the Sanhedrin is there. Perhaps we must suggest that where the offerings are brought is the strongest connection between this world and the celestial regions of the universe. That connection offers the elite members of the Sanhedrin that potential and probability of linkage so that when they are deliberating upon any given issue, their minds are supported by Divine inspiration and are functioning at a level incomprehensible to us.  Indeed, with that stimulus they merit that their brilliance in Torah shines and they formulate their understanding of Torah to deliver their package of decisions encompassing the entire gamut of Torah. 

Chasam Sofer cites the Talmud that Torah Sages wherever they study their immersion in Torah is equivalent to all the sacrifices offered upon the altar in the Beis Hamikdash. Based upon that analogy, when we are barred from sacrificing anywhere, only in the Beis Hamikdash, this indicates that when we are searching for those elusive conceptions of Torah, our pursuit of the truth should guide us to the Beis Hamikdash, or in other words, the Beis Hamidrash where we can consult with the outstanding minds of Torah scholars in our generation. There we will discover and uncover the hidden secrets of Torah and become privy to insights that otherwise we would not have known.

Subsequently, just as when we bring our sacrifices to the Beis Hamikdash we connect with Hashem in a manner which transcends the physical limitations of this world hemmed in by its corporeal boundaries, so too, when we ascend the rungs of the ladder of interpretation and clarification of various Torah topics, we are transported to a dimension that is beyond the realm of our sensory perception. We are truly existing in a domain that is celestial in nature and a reality that actually defines our nation in its most exciting and definitive posture. 

Chasam Sofer seems to add that when we are exposed to the essence of spirituality through our involvement in Torah, then automatically we experience a tremendous surge of connection to Hashem without the need to actually focus on that plateau of sensation. Rather it is the finale of that immersion in the sea of Talmud which perhaps we may suggest is tantamount to one immersing in a mikvah. The purity of the waters in both instances creates a reaction which our inner essence, the soul, feels and imbibes. This is the gift of Torah that Hashem has bestowed upon His nation.


The blessing that we recite in the morning that Hashem gave the rooster the perception to realize that it is daytime is an allusion to the intellect give to us to distinguish between good and bad.