Student Teaching in the New Millenium

Dvar Torah Parshat Shoftim 5771 2011 – It’s what’s inside that counts (via Torah Portion)

In Deuteronomy, ReBlogged on September 3, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Is a tree a tree?
Is a tree a trap?
A tree, a trap, a trapping?

This blog discusses the law in Deuteronomy 16:21 forbidding the planting of trees near the altar of Hashem. Torah Portion makes the point that it’s the recognition of the sanctity and holiness of the place that makes the experience, not the trappings.

I agree with this sentiment. But I ask: does this law still apply? Chazal may say the synagogue is the diminutive of the Temple, but is there a diminutive of the altar of Hashem? How can we plant a tree near the altar if there isn’t one?

Furthermore, is the law here against planting trees? Or against idol worship? In olden times, there may have been the temptation to worship at the tree alongside the altar. What about today? If it’s what’s inside that counts, is it the tree that matters, or your intent?

Is this taking away from the Law?

If the planting of trees near the altar is forbidden, should synagogues of wood also be forbidden?

A strange law prohibits Jews from planting trees by the Bet Hamikdash. LO TITA…KOL ETZ ETZEL MIZBACH HASHEM ELOKECHA…, “You shall not plant…any tree near the Altar of Hashem…” (Deut. 16,21) Why would this be prohibited? When we build a synagogue today it is recognized by Chazal as a Mikdash Me’at, a diminutive of the Temple. We try to beautify it and make it pleasant for those who worship in it. Yet the Torah says not to plant trees, implying tha … Read More

via Torah Portion


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: