The Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit
Jerusalem in the Bible
Yeshivat Har Etzion
#18: Portion of Binyamin the Inheritance of the Divine Presence (part
with what we covered in the previous shiurim concerning Moshe's blessing
to Binyamin, the first part of this shiur will present proofs that the
portion of Binyamin is indeed the portion of the Divine Presence. The second part will address the
parallel between Beit-El and Jerusalem, and its
that the portion of Binyamin is the potion of the Divine Presence
are several indications that God chose to rest His Presence in the portion of
1. Multiplicity of holy places in the
portion of Binyamin
inheritance of Binyamin is home to a great concentration of holy places: Gilgal,
Beit-El, Kiryat Ye'arim, Mitzpa, Giv'at ha-Elokim, Nov, Giv'on, and
Jerusalem. This is more than a mere
quantitative statement. It is possible to demonstrate that some of these places
are located at points right on the borders of the portion of Binyamin  (see
attached Map no. 1; concerning the outline of the border described here see
shiur no. 16 " The Portion of Binyamin the Portion of the Divine
Presence" part I).
In the north, on the border between Binyamin and Ephraim, "the south side of
Luz, which is Beit-El" (Yehoshua 18:13): Luz is located in Ephraim
(Shoftim 1:22), while Beit-El a holy place is located in Binyamin
In the south, on the Binyamin-Yehuda border, "the south side of the Jebusites,
which is Jerusalem" (ibid. 15:8-11): Jerusalem, the holy place, is
located in Binyamin.
In the west, again on the border between Binyamin and Yehuda, we find Kiryat
Ye'arim the place of the Ark's dwelling in Binyamin, in the city known as
Giv'at Kiryat (see Ibid. 18:28 and I Shemuel 7:1); Kiryat Ye'arim
itself is in Yehuda (Yehoshua 15:60; 18:14).
the border consistently lies in such a way that the holy place is located in
Binyamin, while the city associated with it is located in the portion of the
neighboring tribe (Yehuda or Ephraim).
concentration of holy places in the portion of Binyamin is noted in a surprising
assertion by Rav Dimi (Zevachim 118b) to the effect that ALL OF THE
STATIONS OF THE MISHKAN'S JOURNEY WERE LOCATED IN THE PORTION OF
Dimi said in the name of Rabbi: In three places the Divine Presence rested upon
Israel - in Shilo, in Nov, and in Giv'on - and the Temple. In all of these cases it rested only in
the portion of Binyamin, as it is written, "He shall cover him all the day"
(Devarim 33:12) all of God's "coverings" [of the nation] took place
only in the portion of Binyamin. When Abaye went and told what he had heard from
Rav Dimi to Rav Yosef, [the latter] questioned: Is it not written, "He abandoned
the Tabernacle of Shilo
" (Tehillim 78:60)? And is it not written, "He
forsook the Tent of Yosef and did not choose the tribe of Ephraim" (Ibid.
Ada said: What is the question here? Perhaps the Divine Presence is in the
portion of Binyamin, while the Great Sanhedrin sits in the portion of Yosef, as
we find in the case of the Temple that the Divine Presence was in the portion
of Binyamin, while the Sanhedrin was located in the portion of Yehuda.
said to him: "Even so, in that case the portions were adjacent to one another;
here they were not adjacent at all! (Rashi: Shilo and the border of the
inheritance of Binyamin).
here, too, they were adjacent. As
Rabbi Chama, son of Rabbi Chanina, taught: A strip protruded from the portion of
Yehuda and entered the portion of Binyamin; there the altar was built, and the
righteous [tribe of] Binyamin was sorrowful over (not having ownership over)
this enclave. Here, too, a strip
protruded from the portion of Yosef into the portion of Binyamin, as it is
written, "to Ta'anat Shilo" (Yehoshua 16:6). [Rashi: So named because Binyamin
mourned (mit'onen) over it.)
In response to
Rav Yosef's proofs that Shilo is located in the midst of the portion of Ephraim,
and therefore it is impossible that it could be considered part of the portion
of Binyamin, Rav Ada maintains that just as the border between Binyamin and
Yehuda at Mount Moriah includes a strip that protrudes from Yehuda (including
the altar and the place where the Sanhedrin sit) into the territory of Binyamin,
so a strip protrudes from the portion of Yosef into the territory of
Binyamin. This solution is somewhat
problematic, since the distance between Shilo and the southern border of Ephraim
(the Ephraim-Binyamin border) is several kilometers long a distance very much
further than that between Mount Moriah and the Yehuda-Binyamin border. Nevertheless, the Gemara adopts this
solution - and all for the purpose of incorporating Shilo into the portion of
Binyamin, so as to accommodate the view that all of the stations where the
Mishkan rested, without exception including even the distant Shilo must have
been part of the portion of Binyamin, which is the portion of the Divine
2. Ra2. Rabbinic sources indicating
that the Temple is in the portion of Binyamin
We learn in
Massekhet Zevachim (54b) :
What is the meaning of the verse, "He [David] and Shemuel went and dwelled in
in Rama" (I Shemuel 19:18)? What has Nayot to do with Rama? The
answer is that they sat in Rama but discussed the beauty ("noyo") of the
world [the Temple]. They said: It
is written, "You shall arise and go up to the place
" (Devarim 17:8);
this teaches that the Temple is higher than anywhere else in Eretz
Yisrael, and that Eretz Yisrael is higher than any other
country. They did not know where
its location was. They brought a
Book of Yehoshua. Concerning
[the borders of] all [of the tribes] the text says "descends," " the border
rises," "the border surrounds."
When it comes to the tribe of Binyamin, we read "ascends," but we do not
read "descends." They said,
"Apparently, this is its place." They wanted to build it in Ein Eitam,
which lies high up. They said, "Let
us make it a little lower, as it is written: 'Between his shoulders he shall
dwell' (Devarim 33:12)."
The joint study
of Shemuel, the prophet, and King David  in search of the site of the Temple
, led them to the conclusion that it should be built in a high place. They identified this place as the
portion of Binyamin on the basis of the verses in Yehoshua, in which the
word "va-yeired" ("descended") is omitted from the description of the
borders of this inheritance .
two midrashim, already at the time of the settlement of the land it was
known that the Temple was destined to be built IN THE PORTION OF YEHUDA OR IN
THE PORTION OF BINYAMIN, but it was not yet clear in which of these two portions
the Divine Presence would rest.
Once it became clear that the portion of Binyamin had been chosen, the
children of Binyamin came to claim the pastures of
When Bnei Yisrael divided up the land, they set aside the fat pastures of
Yericho, five hundred cubits by five hundred cubits. He said to him: Whoever [i.e., whichever
tribe] builds the Temple within his portion will receive the pasture of
Yericho. They gave Yonadav, son of
Rekhev, a first portion, and it sustained them for 440 years
And since the
Divine Presence rested in the inheritance of Binyamin, the children of Binyamin
came to take their portion. They
came and cleared it for them, as it is written, 'And the children of Keini,
father-in-law of Moshe
" (Shoftim 1:16). (Sifri Bamidbar piska
that the Temple was destined to be built in the portion of Yehuda and Binyamin;
therefore they set aside the pasture of Yericho from (the city of) Yericho
(itself). Who ate from it all of
those years? The children of Keini, father-in-law of Moshe, ate for 440 years,
as it is written: "The children of Keini, father-in-law of Moshe, rose up from
the city of the date palms" (Shoftim 1:16). But when the Temple was built, they took
themselves off and went away (Sifri Devarim piska
3. Locat3. Location of the portion of
Binyamin in relation to the surrounding tribes 
In his article
(see note no. 1), Rav Yoel bin-Nun demonstrates the change in location of the
tribe of Binyamin. In the desert, this tribe belonged to the camp of Ephraim, on
the west side of the Mishkan .
In Eretz Yisrael, the tribe of Binyamin settled at the very heart
of all of the tribes thereby, in fact, replacing the Tribe of Levi (who
received no inheritance in the land), which in the desert had encamped at
the center, surrounding the Mishkan.
Moreover, the four tribal inheritances surrounding Binyamin belong to the
four heads of the camps that surrounded the Mishkan in the desert: Yehuda,
Reuven, Ephraim, and Dan .
4. The Temple in the portion of
places  the Torah hints on either the literal or one of the more esoteric
levels that the Temple and the altar will be in the portion of Binyamin
- The Zohar
(Bereishit Rav 72) relates to the two verses that describe Yosef
setting his eyes upon Binyamin for the first time in
said: First it is written, "Yosef saw Binyamin with them"; afterwards the text
says, "He lifted his eyes and saw Binyamin his brother, son of his mother"
what (extra measure of) seeing is indicated here? He saw, with Divine
inspiration, that Binyamin's portion would be with them in the land, and that
the Divine Presence would rest in the portion of Binyamin and Yehuda, for he saw
that the Temple would be in their portion. And this is the meaning of, "Yosef
saw Binyamin with them": he saw him together with them, and Yosef who was his
brother - did not see him with them in that portion.
Yosef saw that
the Divine Presence would rest in Binyamin, and that the Temple would be built
in the portion of Binyamin and Yehuda.
verse, "He fell upon the neck of Binyamin, his brother, and he wept, and
Binyamin wept upon his neck" (Bereishit 45:14), Rashi quotes
the Gemara (Megilla 16b):
"How many necks
did Binyamin have?! Rabbi Elazar taught: He wept for the two Temples that were
destined to be built in the portion of Binyamin, and that were destined to be
- In Yaakov's
blessing to Binyamin we read: "Binyamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he
shall devour prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil" (Bereishit
49:27). From this verse, too, the
commentators deduce that the Divine Presence will reside in the portion of
Binyamin, where the Temple will be built and where the sacrifices will be
offered upon the altar. Thus, for
example, Targum Yonatan translates this verse as follows: "In his land
[portion] the Divine Presence of the Master of the world will dwell, and in his
portion the Temple will be built.
In the morning the kohanim will offer a sheep as a daily
sacrifice, during the first four hours [of the day], and towards evening they
will offer the second sheep, and in the night they shall divide up the remains
of the other sacrifices, and each [kohen] shall eat his
In Bereishit Rabba 99, the verse is rendered as
interpreted the verse as referring to the altar: Just as a wolf devours prey, so
the altar would devour the sacrifices.
"In the morning he shall devour prey" "You shall offer the one sheep in
the morning" (Bamidbar 28:4); "And in the evening he shall divide the
spoil" "And the other sheep you shall offer towards evening" (Ibid.)."
5. The census conducted by
Yoav is forced
to count Bnei Yisrael, by order of King David, but "Levi and Binyamin he
did not count among them, for the king's command was abhorrent to Yoav" (I
Divrei Ha-yamim 21:6). What
is the significance of the pairing of Levi and Binyamin in this
explanation offered by the Rishonim (Rashi, Radak and Metzudat David) is that
Yoav subservient and loyal to the king but appalled at the royal command that
he is forced to fulfill succeeded in evading its fulfillment in relation to
these two tribes. The reason for
these specific tribes being exempted is not difficult to imagine. Even in the
desert, Levi was not counted amongst Bnei Yisrael (Bamidbar 2:33),
and the Tribe of Binyamin was almost completely wiped out following the episode
of the "Concubine in Giv'a." "If they would be struck now with a plague, what
would be left of them?" (Rashi, ad loc.). But we may also propose another reason.
As discussed in our first shiur on this topic, in Moshe's blessing to the
tribes, Levi and Binyamin were juxtaposed (Devarim 33:8-12) because of
their common characteristic the Sanctuary: the Tribe of Levi performs the
Divine service in the Temple, while the portion of the Tribe of Binyamin houses
the Temple. From this perspective,
Yoav utilizes this connection in order to avoid counting Binyamin (along with
Levi, who would not have been counted anyway), since it, too, is a tribe
associated with the Divine Presence residing amongst Israel
B. Beit-El and Jerusalem 
It seems to be
no coincidence that Beit-El is located on the northern border of the portion of
Binyamin, with Jerusalem on the southern border. As we have seen in the past, Beit-El was
the natural sanctuary of the forefathers, while Jerusalem became the permanent
Temple of their descendants.
Avraham and Yaakov came to Beit-El , but only Avraham comes to
Jerusalem, to Mount Moriah.
However, despite its special status during the period of the forefathers,
Beit-El is not considered the "place that God will choose" .
We shall now
examine some parallels between Beit-El and Jerusalem, and discuss their
between Beit-El and Jerusalem
1. The only two commandments in the Torah
whereby an individual is told to go to a certain place and to serve God there,
pertain to these two places. Avraham is commanded to go to the land of Moriah
and to offer up Yitzchak; Yaakov is commanded, after the episode involving Dina,
to leave Shekhem, to go up to Beit-El and dwell there, and to fulfill his vow:
"Make there an altar to God Who appeared to you when you took flight from Eisav,
your brother" (Bereishit
2. In three places in its description of
the inheritances, the text juxtaposes Jerusalem with Beit-El or draws a parallel
- At the seam
in between the description of the inheritance of Yehuda and the lots for the
children of Yosef, the text presents Beit-El, which lies on the southern border
of the children of Yosef, as against Jerusalem, which is on the northern border
of the tribe of Yehuda:
"As for the
Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem the children of Yehuda were not able
to drive them out, so the Jebusites dwelled with the children of Yehuda in
Jerusalem, to this day" (Yehoshua
"And the lot of
the children of Yosef fell from the Jordon, at Jericho, to the water of Jericho
on the east, to the wilderness that goes up from Jericho by the mountain of
Beit-El, and emerges from Beit-El to Luz, and passes the border of the Arki to
description appears in Shoftim 1: 21 verse telling us, "The Jebusite,
inhabitants of Jerusalem, were not driven out by the children of Binyamin, and
the Jebusites dwelled with the children of Binyamin in Jerusalem to this very
day." Immediately afterwards
(Ibid. 24-26) we read of the unique conquest of Beit-El: it is spied out,
its entrance discovered, and then conquered . The text presents, alongside each other,
Jerusalem which had not yet been conquered by Binyamin and which was inhabited
by the Jebusites, and Beit-El - to which the children of Yosef ascended, and
which they conquered .
- We cannot
ignore the clear parallel between the description of the northern border of
Yehuda and the description of the southern border of
went up by the valley of Ben-Hinnom TO THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE JEBUSITES, WHICH IS
JERUSALEM" (Yehoshua 15:8);
went over from there to Luz, TO THE SIDE OF LUZ ON THE SOUTH, WHICH IS BEIT-EL"
addressing the topological significance of the descriptions of the borders, we
see the complete literary parallel between the verses. The structure of the
verses is identical: "To the side
"; there is the repetition of the word "side" and the direction
"to the south side" / "on the south"; and there is a parallel in terms of
position in the verse between Luz and Yevus the Canaanite names of these
cities prior to their conquest, and between Beit-El and Jerusalem the future
names that are destined to replace them.
It seems that
the text seeks to express hereby the complete parallel between the two borders
of the inheritance of Binyamin: Beit-El, the ancient sanctuary of the
forefathers on the border between Rachel's children, Yosef (Ephraim) and
Binyamin, and Jerusalem the future Temple of their descendants, on the border
between the children of Rachel and the children of Leah, Binyamin and Yehuda
and thereby to show that they represent a single entity, with the passage
between them passing through the portion of Binyamin.
3. There is a very interesting parallel
between the revelation of the sanctity of Beit-El and the revelation of the
sanctity of Jerusalem. In the first
revelation in Beit-El, we read concerning Yaakov as he realizes the sanctity
of the site: "He was afraid and he said: How awesome is this place; THIS IS
NOTHING BUT THE HOUSE OF GOD, AND THIS IS THE GATEWAY TO HEAVEN"
discovers that the threshing floor of Aravna the Jebusite is the site of the
Temple, he says: "THIS IS THE HOUSE OF THE LORD GOD, AND THIS IS THE ALTAR OF
SACRIFICE FOR ISRAEL" (I Divrei Ha-yamim 22:1).
Even at first
glance, we note that the cry of amazement that is common to Yaakov and David
upon their discovery of the place: Yaakov as he awakes from his sleep and his
dream, and David at the conclusion of the revelation of the angel, following
the census and the plague.
We also note
the similarity in the structure of the verses: two introductory arms starting
with the words "This
." The first arm describes the place of God's house and the
place where His Presence rests: the "house of God" or the "house of the Lord God." The second arm speaks of the place of His
service. For Yaakov, it is "the gateway to heaven" the ladder joining heaven
and earth; for David it is "the altar of sacrifice for Israel." This structure expresses the two aspects
of the Temple. One is the house of God, the place where He rests His Presence,
where He reveals Himself, where He appears and watches over and meets with man;
the other is the place where people come in order to worship God in His house,
the place to which people ascend in pilgrimage to appear before God, offer
sacrifices, etc. .
4. Aside from the parallel between the
above two verses, there is also a broader parallel between the story of the
revelation at Beit-El and the revelations to Avraham and David at Mount Moriah
and the threshing floor of Aravna the Jebusite. We addressed this in detail in the
shiur about the binding of Yitzchak, and the discussion touched on our
present subject. We shall therefore
mention very briefly just the following points:
- In Beit-El,
Yaakov sees a "ladder standing on the ground with its top reaching to the
heavens, and behold angels of God ascending and descending on it"
(Bereishit 28:12). David
sees, in the threshing-floor of Aravna, "an angel of God standing between earth
and heaven, his sword drawn in his hand, stretched over Jerusalem" (I Divrei
Ha-yamim 21:16). The connection
mentioned in both instances between the earth and heaven is of the very essence
of the Temple.
- In both
places there is a revelation of God and of an angel, a revelation of God, fear
of God, and the naming of the place.
- We have
explained the difference between the blessing of descendants given to Avraham
"like the stars of the heavens and like the sand that is upon the sea shore"
(Bereishit 22:17) and that
given to Yaakov "like the dust of the earth" (Ibid. 28:14), and the
differences between an altar and a monument, and between sacrificing a burnt
offering and pouring oil over a monument, as the differences between the
natural, primal Sanctuary of the forefathers and the chosen, permanent Temple of
5. Aside from the parallel between the
revelation at the threshing floor of Aravna and the revelation at Beit-El, there
is a fundamental connection between Yaakov founder of the Sanctuary of the
forefathers and the Temple of his descendants, whose site David sought and
discovered, and whose construction he initiated. In describing his longing and affliction
until he found the place of the Temple, David mentions that he "swore to God,
vowed to the MIGHTY ONE OF YAAKOV
until I find a place for God, the dwelling
place for the MIGHTY ONE OF YAAKOV" (Tehillim 132:2,5). Calling God, in this context, the
"Mighty One of Yaakov" refers back to God's revelation to Yaakov in the
establishment of Beit-El as a holy place .
goes on to be revealed in a prophecy concerning the exalted status of the
mountain of God's House at the end of days (Yishayahu 2:2-3; also in the
parallel prophecy in Mikha 4:1-3):
"And it shall
be, at the end of days, that the mountain of God's House shall be established at
the head of the mountains, and exalted among the hills, and all the nations
shall flow towards it. And many
peoples shall go and say, 'Let us go and ascend to the MOUNTAIN OF GOD, TO THE
HOUSE OF THE GOD OF ISRAEL, that He may teach us of His ways and that we may
walk in His paths. For Torah shall
come forth from Zion, and the word of God from Jerusalem."
At the end of
days, all the nations will stream to hear Torah and instruction at the mountain
of God's House and the House that is upon the mountain shall be called the
house of the God of YAAKOV, not the "house of the God of David and
Shelomo." When the future Temple is
standing, the full extent of Yaakov's activity for the sake of revealing the
Divine Presence will be expressed; although this was the case at the time in
Beit-El, it will now also be remembered in Jerusalem.
connection between Yaakov and the Temple is expressed in Chazal's
teaching that Yaakov was the first one to "call it a
taught: That which is written, "Many nations shall go and say, Let us go and
ascend to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Yaakov
the "God of Yaakov" and not the 'God of Avraham and Yitzchak?' Because it is
unlike Avraham, concerning whom we read that he called it a "mountain," as it is
written "Concerning which it is said this day, on the mountain God will see"
(Bereishit 22:14), and unlike Yitzchak, concerning whom we read that he
called it a "field," as it is written, "Yitzchak went out to meditate in the
field" (Ibid. 24:63).
Rather, it is like Yaakov, who called it a "house," as it is written, "He
called the name of that place Beit-El (the House of God)" (Ibid. 28:19)
The aspect of
"house" belongs specifically to Yaakov.
He was the founder of the family.
In him, the process of the selection of Am Yisrael was
completed; from him onwards, all of the children would belong to the nation of
Israel; all would be heirs of Avraham.
Yaakov begins this revelation in Beit-El, and as we have seen above
already there he speaks of the essential idea of a Sanctuary, a place that is a
"house of God," a place for the Divine Presence to rest, on one hand, and a
"gateway to heaven" a place for human worship on the other. Upon his return from Charan, Yaakov
returns to Beit-El and serves God there.
From here onwards the aspect of "house" accompanies Bnei Yisrael,
until its permanent and perfect manifestation in the era of his descendants, in
the form of the Temple in Jerusalem.
It continues to accompany Am Yisrael up until the rebuilding of
the future Temple, the "house of the God of Yaakov," at the end of
the parallel between Beit-El and Jerusalem
We must now
ask: what is the significance of the parallels that we have noted thus far?
Several possibilities come to mind:
parallel confirms and reinforces our assumption  that Beit-El is the site of
the natural Sanctuary of the forefathers.
connection between Beit-El and Jerusalem explains the replacement of Beit-El by
Jerusalem. Beit-El is an initial
place established by Yaakov during the period of the forefathers on the border
between the children of Rachel .
Indeed, Beit-El reflects the primal, initial, natural reality but not
the fixed, stable reality for all generations. At the same time, its significance is so
great that the prophets speak of the "house of the God of Yaakov" even in
relation to the permanent structure of the House of God in the days of David,
and even in the vision of the End of Days experienced by Yishayahu and
Mikha. The second level the
Temple that is revealed in the wake of searching and seeking, on the border
between Binyamin and Yehuda, expresses the permanent and perfect reality of the
connection between mortal kingship and the Kingship of
A third point
that cannot be ignored is the fact that both places are located on the borders
of the inheritance of Binyamin: Beit-El on the northern border, facing the
children of Yosef, and Jerusalem on the southern border, facing the Tribe of
Yehuda. Both places express, as it
were, the complete wholeness of the portion of Binyamin: the portion of the
Divine Presence stretching from Beit-El to Jerusalem, from the children of Yosef
and Mashiach ben Yosef, to the children of Yehuda and the kingship of the house
of David. The ancient place of
sanctity of the forefathers and the permanent place of sanctity of their
descendants are both part of the portion of Binyamin, and serve to define
it. The first, temporary Sanctuary
and the final, permanent one are both part of the portion of the Divine
understanding sits well with a teaching by Chazal in Sifri
Devarim 252, according to which the resting of the Divine Presence in
Binyamin does not dissipate at all; it is an eternal reality, just as the
sanctity of Jerusalem is eternal:
cover him all the day' this refers to the First Temple;
'All the day'
this is the Second Temple.
his shoulders He shall rest' rebuilt in the time to come
his shoulders He shall rest' whether it is destroyed or whether it is not
an interesting parallel between the resting of the Divine Presence throughout
the inheritance of Binyamin "Between his shoulders," according to one way of
understanding the verse and the resting of the Divine Presence in Jerusalem
and the Temple. The eternity of the
resting of the Divine Presence and its permanence in Jerusalem and the Temple
are set forth clearly by the Rambam (Laws of the Temple,
Why do I say,
concerning the sanctity of the Temple and of Jerusalem, that the initial
sanctity sanctified it also for the future? ... Because the sanctity of the Temple and
of Jerusalem arise from the Divine Presence, and the Divine Presence never goes
away. It is written, "I will make
your Sanctuaries desolation" (Vayikra 26:31), and the Sages taught: "Even
though they are desolate, they retain their sanctity" (based on the
Midrash Lekach Tov, Kedoshim 55).
And just as the
Divine Presence in Jerusalem and in the Temple is eternal, so the Divine
Presence "between his shoulders," in the portion of Binyamin, is
appears that aside from the stations of the Mishkan mentioned above, the resting
of the Divine Presence in Binyamin began with the establishment of the borders
of his inheritance as described in Sefer Yehoshua (18:11-28). And according to the understanding of
the Rambam and other Rishonim, its continuation is in the city of Jerusalem and
the Temple to this day.
shiur we examined proofs for the assertion that the portion of Binyamin
is the portion of the Divine Presence, and we addressed the parallel between
Beit-El and Jerusalem located on the northern and southern boundaries of
Binyamin, respectively and its significance.
this subject we shall turn our attention, in the next shiur, to the
question of why the Divine Presence rests in the portion of Binyamin, and the
significance of the portion of the Divine Presence.
background to this shiur is a thorough study by Rabbi Yoel bin-Nun
"Nachalat Binyamin Nachalat Shekhina," in "Lifnei Ephraim, Binyamin
u-Menashe," Midreshet Binyamin Ofra Field School, pp.
beautiful point is noted by Rabbi Yoel Elitzur, in his article, "The Border of
Binyamin and the Location of Beit Orot," in Kol Tzofayikh,
the Mishkan's move from Gilgal to Shilo was undertaken before the tribe of
Binyamin settled its portion i.e., before the borders of the portion of the
Divine Presence had been fixed.
Nevertheless, this fact does nothing to explain the astonishing assertion
by Chazal, who include Shilo within the portion of Binyamin despite the
great distance involved and even though this understanding would seem to deviate
from the literal sense of the text.
 We have
referred to this Gemara previously, in the context of our discussion of the
height of the Temple. Here we
address its other aspects.
 We shall
not elaborate here on the very interesting discrepancy between the narrative
presented here by Chazal concerning the actions of Shemuel and David at
Nayot, and the literal text (I Shemuel 19), according to which David came
to Shemuel in the midst of his flight from Shaul.
 When we
come to discuss the reign of King David, we shall hopefully elaborate on the
Gemara's simple assumption that David was unaware of the site of the
presents some difficulty, since the word DOES appear in the description of the
border of Binyamin in Yehoshua 18 (see, for example, verses
 See map no.
2: location of Binyamin, in the Mishkan and in Eretz
 It is no
accident that Binyamin, in whose portion the Divine Presence is destined to
dwell, is part of the camp of Ephraim, on the west side the "place of the
Divine Presence" (see Bava Batra 25a). The commentators note this: see, for
example, Rabbeinu Bechaye on Bamidbar 2:2 and, in a manner closer to our
discussion, the Maharal, Gevurot Hashem, chapter 42, where he writes: "Binyamin
went down first because he was closer to the sea (the West) and longed for it,
and for this reason he merited to have the Divine Presence in his portion,
because it was clear that he possessed the "power of the west," and the Divine
Presence is in the west."
requires extensive discussion, but the present shiur does not allow for
 We shall
not elaborate here as to the differences in direction between the positions of
the tribes in the desert in relation to the Mishkan and their positions in
relation to the inheritance of Binyamin in Eretz
 Some of
the sources discussed here are quoted in an article by Chava Lichtenstein,
entitled: "Hashra'at Shekhina be-Binyamin," Mikhlol 12, 5756, p. 7
 In the
coming shiurim we shall hopefully address in more detail the
Binyamin-Yehuda border in the region of the Temple, including the altar, as
perceived by Chazal.
 In his
article, Rabbi Yoel bin-Nun brings further proofs showing that the portion of
Binyamin is the portion of the Divine Presence. We shall mention two of them
a. Concerning the Giv'onim, whose four
cities fall within the portion of Binyamin, we are told, "Yehoshua made them, on
that day, hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the
altar of God, until this very day, for the place which He would choose"
(Yehoshua 9:27). Their
consignment to the altar and the Temple is justified on the basis of the
sanctity of this inheritance.
b. The bringing up of the Ark from Beit
Shemesh (in Yehuda) to Giv'a in Kiryat Ye'arim (in Binyamin) (Shoftim
6:20-7:1) may be explained as the response to the failure by the people of
Yehuda to establish a Sanctuary in Beit Shemesh, by bringing the Ark to the
inheritance of the Divine Presence.
 We have
already treated several aspects of this connection in shiurim 2-3, which
discussed the road to Jerusalem; that discussion is a complement to the
precisely Yaakov came to Beit-El itself, while Avraham came to "the east of
Beit-El" (Bereishit 12:8), or "between Beit-El and Ai" (Ibid. 13:3), but not to Beit-El
itself. This is related to the fact
that Avraham established Mount Moriah as a sanctuary, while Yaakov was the one
to establish Beit-El as a sanctuary.
My colleague, Itamar Nitzan, posits in a wonderful article entitled,
"The Status of Beit-El up until the Choosing of Jerusalem," Alon Shevut
162, Nissan 5763, p. 112 [Hebrew] that it is possible that Avraham sanctified
the "Sanctuary of Yehuda" at Mount Moriah, while Yaakov sanctified the
"Sanctuary of Yosef" in Beit-El.
See his article for further elaboration.
discussed this principle in shiur no. 12 "The Place Which God Will
Choose," note no. 12.
 It is also
interesting to note the connection between these two narratives from the
perspective of "seeing": Avraham calls Mount Moriah "Hashem yir'eh" ("God
will see" Bereishit 22:14), while in Beit-El God is revealed
("nir'eh") to Yaakov (Ibid. 35:1). We shall not elaborate
 It is
interesting that these verses describe Beit-El, too like Jerusalem as a
place that must be SEEN: "The guards SAW (va-yir'u) a man emerging from
the city, and they said to him: Please show us (her'enu) the entrance to
the city, and we shall be kind towards you. So he showed them (va-yar'em) the
entrance to the city, and they smote the city by the sword, and sent away the
man and all his family" (Shoftim 1:24-25).
should be paid to the fact that here, too (Shoftim 1) Jerusalem is
presented in the middle, between the Tribe of Yehuda and the children of Yosef.
In verses 19-20 we are told, "GOD WAS WITH YEHUDA, AND HE TOOK POSSESSION OF THE
and gave Hebron to Kalev"; in verses 22-26 we read: "The house of
Yosef, too, ascended to Beit-El, and GOD WAS WITH THEM." In between, in verse 21: "The Jebusite,
inhabitants of Jerusalem, were not driven out by the children of Binyamin, and
the Jebusite dwelled with the children of Binyamin in Jerusalem to this day."
God is with Yehuda conquering the
mountain range and Hebron, and with the house of Yosef, conquering Beit-El, but
Jerusalem in between them remains a city inhabited by pagans whom Binyamin
have not driven out.
subject is worthy of a shiur in its own right; we shall note here only
that the place of the creation of the world is identified by Chazal as
the Foundation Stone in the Holy of Holies, while the place of the creation of
man is identified with the external altar (i.e., the sacrificial altar). These represent the same two aspects. On
one hand, the house of God the whole world, whose beginning is in the Holy of
Holies; on the other hand the place where man worships God the altar. The structure of the Temple reflects
this idea. The Holy of Holies contains no vessels of worship, only the Ark, its
covering, and the keruvim.
From the days of Yoshiyahu onwards these were hidden; the Divine Presence
no longer rested there and the room was empty with no replacement content
until the destruction of the Second Temple. The Sanctuary is the inner place of
Divine service containing the incense altar, the Table, and the menora, while
the courtyard is the outer place of Divine service, with the sacrificial
altar. We shall not elaborate
 It is
interesting to note the appearance of this appellation in Yaakov's blessing to
Yosef ("By the hands of the Mighty One of Yaakov, from there the shepherd, the
Stone of Israel" Bereishit 49:24), since the Sanctuary in Beit-El is on
the border between Yosef and Binyamin.
We shall not elaborate further here.
assumption was discussed at length in shiur no. 2; we shall not repeat
all the details here.
special connection between Yaakov and Rachel, and afterwards between Yaakov and
Yosef, needs no elaboration.