1. This farbrengen is connected with Shabbos Mevarchim Av (or Menachem Av, as said in the text of the “Blessing for the New Month”). Shabbos Mevarchim is the “gate” for all aspects of the month which it blesses. In man’s personal service to G‑d, each Jew has a particular aspect of service and mitzvah peculiar to him, which serves as the “gate” through which all aspects of service pass, as written: “This is the Rate to G‑d

There are two factors to this “gate.” On the one hand, it is only an external feature to the place wherein one wishes to enter — it is but the gate to the place. Moreover, the aspects of service which pass through this “gate” may be of a much loftier nature than the service which serves as the gate. On the other hand, all aspects of service must pass through the “gate.”

The daily offering, for example, is the “gate” for all the offerings. Even the loftiest of offerings, even that of Yom Kippur, was brought only after the morning daily offering was brought — for it is the “gate” and opening for all sacrifices.

Shabbos Mevarchim, too, serves as a “gate” — for all aspects of the month it blesses. Although there may be lofty days in that month, such as Rosh Chodesh, the 15th of the month, festivals, and auspicious days, the “gate” for all these things is Shabbos Mevarchim. It extends blessing to all the month’s aspects, blessings stemming both from the inherently lofty nature of Shabbos — which is “sanctified of itself,” and from the increase in that lofty nature effected by Jews service.

In addition to this concept of Shabbos Mevarchim — that it serves as the “gate” to the whole month — the Shabbos Mevarchim of each month Possesses an individual concept unique to the month it blesses. The special nature of Menachem Av is expressed in its very name, “Menachem Av.”

The principal name of this name is “Av.” But since it is the Jewish custom to call it “Menachem Av,” the extra “Menachem” has special meaning, similar to the idea that “the words of the Sofrim (sages) are more dear than the words of Torah.” Moreover, a custom is “words of Torah,” for “a Jewish custom is Torah.”

Further, the idea of “Menachem Av” is emphasized in connection with Shabbos Mevarchim. The very concept of Shabbos Mevarchim came into being only because of the exile. When the Beis HaMikdash existed, the new moon was sanctified by visual testimony, and it was therefore impossible to know on the Shabbos beforehand which day would be Rosh Chodesh. There was thus no such thing as Shabbos Mevarchim When the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed and the exile became intense, a calculated calendar replaced sanctification by visual testimony. The custom of Shabbos Mevarchim was then instituted: On the Shabbos before Rosh Chodesh, when all the Jews were assembled in synagogue, announcements were made which day would be Rosh Chodesh.

Hence, although Shabbos Mevarchim came into being because of the exile, it nevertheless had a good effect: Blessings for all aspects of the coming month flow from it; and the previous Rebbe instituted that a farbrengen be held on Shabbos Mevarchim, at which Jews assemble and bless each other.

The name “Menachem Av,” too, came into being as a result of the exile. “Menachem” means “comfort,” and this name was given to it after the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed in the month of Av, for then comfort was needed for this great tragedy. While the Beis HaMikdash existed, this comfort was, of course, unnecessary. This, then, is the connection between the idea of Shabbos Mevarchim and Menachem Av.

Let us now analyze the concept of “Menachem Av.” This name expresses the idea of comfort for the exile — meaning that the purpose of this great downfall is the heights that as a result will ultimately be reached, heights that will be loftier than before this downfall.

This mirrors the idea of “double consolation:” This means that not only are there two types of consolation, just as there was “double catastrophe,” but the consolation is double that of the “double catastrophe” — i.e., four times as much.

Of course, the heights that will be achieved through the descent into exile does not mean Jews are resigned to the sorrows and afflictions of the exile. The reverse is true: Jews are ready to forego all the lofty reward of the exile, to leave the exile a moment earlier! We find a similar attitude expressed by the Jews in the Egyptian exile. When Moshe Rabbeinu told them of the great reward and wealth they would have when they left Egypt, they told him that they would prefer to leave right then even if it meant foregoing the wealth.

The special nature of Menachem Av, then, is that comfort is given for the destruction and exile: the tragedies of this month are transformed into good, and the true and complete redemption is effected, when full comfort will be found — “double consolation.”

The service that brings this consolation into being is an increase in all aspects of Torah and mitzvos with joy and a good heart. The Munkatcher Rebbe interpreted our Sages’ saying, “When Av enters we decrease in joy” as meaning that we decrease in the tragic aspects of Av through joy.

Naturally, the joy must be in a manner permitted by Shulchan Aruch. In general, this means the joy of Torah and mitzvos, of which it is said: “The orders of G‑d are upright, making the heart joyous.” The Alter Rebbe says this refers to Torah study, as well as the fulfillment of mitzvos — the literal meaning of “orders of G‑d.”

A farbrengen mirrors the same idea. The previous Rebbe instituted that a farbrengen be held on every Shabbos Mevarchim, including Shabbos Mevarchim Menachem Av — a joyous event for all its participants, which in-turn elicits joy Above.

By increasing in all aspects of joy, then, joy of Torah and joy of mitzvos, we effect consolation for the exile — “Menachem Av” — which is the redemption.

For a Jew to yearn for the consolation of the redemption, he must feel the sorrow and tragedy of the exile. This is sometimes difficult for a person who is involved in worldly matters. Because he is so used to dealing with worldly things, it is very difficult for him to free himself of them and to concentrate on spiritual matters.

Dealing with the world is a directive from Torah, as written: “The L‑rd your G‑d will bless you in all that you do” — one must first work, honestly, and then G‑d’s blessings, greater than the amount of work invested, flow to the person.

Some people think that since one’s livelihood comes from G‑d, one need do absolutely nothing to receive his sustenance. The story is told of the Baal Shem Tov that once, when he needed something, he went to a person’s house, rapped on the window shutter and then straight away went home. He was asked by others why he did this: If he needed something from the person and therefore rapped on his window shutter, he should have waited until that person opened the shutters and asked him what he wanted. Why did he rap on the shutters and then immediately return home?

The Baal Shem Tov replied that G‑d wants a person to do something. For the Baal Shem Tov, just the knocking on a mortal’s window shutter is a sufficient deed to warrant G‑d’s blessing. These people, however, claim that even such an action is superfluous, and they want to receive their sustenance from G‑d Himself without doing — anything themselves.

The retort to such people is that Torah says: “The L‑rd your G‑d will bless you in all that you do”: G‑d wants a person to make a “vessel” to receive His blessings — a vessel via natural means, not just one that is sufficient for someone of the Baal Shem Tov’s stature. It is not enough to open one’s store, for example, and then return home to recite Tehillim or study Torah the whole day. Such conduct is not for everyone, as the Talmud says: “Many tried to do ... as Rashbi (whose sole occupation was Torah), but were not successful.” A Jew who is not “experienced in miracles” as Rashbi must work for a livelihood via natural means, especially since G‑d has placed him in the category of Zevulun, whose function is to transform physical things into vehicles for G‑dliness.

Torah exhorts only that when working with worldly matters, one’s heart and mind should be in Jewish matters, Torah and mitzvos. But it is a directive from Torah to work in worldly things.

That a Jew must deal with the world via natural means is a result of the exile. When the Beis HaMikdash existed, exerting its holy influence on the whole world, the G‑dly vitality in the world was on a very lofty plane, especially concerning Jews. They did not need natural means, and they had no worries about sustenance.

In exile, when the G‑dly vitality in the world is much less, even Jews need to work with the world via natural means. Because a Jew is thus accustomed to deal with worldly matters six days a week, dealing also with non-Jews and non-Jewish matters, he finds it difficult to sever his ties to worldly matters and to ascend to a spiritual plane even on Shabbos and the other special days of the year when it is easier to immerse oneself in spirituality.

Similarly, in the period between the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av, he finds it difficult to feel the anguish and pain of this time and to long for the redemption. Since he is totally caught up in his business dealings, and sees that G‑d grants him success, he doesn’t feel that he is lacking anything.

Since, however, G‑d does not request of Jews something they are unable to carry out, it follows that even if it is difficult, every Jew can achieve this objective. A Jew who is engaged in worldly matters must remember that his real existence, even in this low, corporeal world, is his soul, and his dealings with worldly matters is only for the purpose of carrying out the higher goal of elevating and refining his part of the world.

Realizing this, a Jew, while engaging in mundane matters, will have his heart and mind concentrated on soul-matters, spiritual things, Torah and mitzvos. Then, at those times when he is freed from dealing with worldly matters, he will automatically dedicate his time to spiritual pursuits.

The same applies to the period between the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av (“Bein Hametzorim”). True, G‑d has blessed a Jew with success for children, life and abundant sustenance, and will surely increase in that blessing. Simultaneously, however, knowing that his true essence is the soul, he still feels the sorrow of exile — especially at this time — and therefore longs for the consolation of the redemption.

One could ask, “Why is it necessary to mention at a farbrengen that we are now in the period of ‘Bein Hametzorim,’ and thus sadden people? Is this the purpose of a farbrengen?” On the other hand, though, the previous Rebbe instituted that a farbrengen be held on Shabbos Mevarchim, including Shabbos Mevarchim Menachem Av — and the foremost topic for discussion should be something associated with the present time.

The resolution of this paradox is “Menachem Av”: At this farbrengen one should speak of things which bring consolation and the abolition of the tragedies of this period — i.e., an increase in all aspects of Judaism, Torah and mitzvos, with sincere joy and a good heart.

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2. Another aspect of this Shabbos is that on it we read parshas Maasei. Parshas Maasei is always read in the period of “Bein Hametzorim,” close to the nine days. Some years it is read together with parshas Matos, and sometimes these parshahs are read separately.

“Matos” and “Maasei” represent two opposite concepts in service to G‑d. “Matos” (“staffs”) represents utmost firmness in one’s position; “Maasei” means “journeys,” the exact opposite of remaining firm in one place.

This year, when parshas Maasei is read separately, it emphasizes the idea of “journeys” alone, without any other concepts. But the very fact that “journeys” is stressed in this parshah is puzzling, for after every stage in the journeys there was an encampment, as this parshah itself records. Indeed, the last thing Scripture says in connection to the journeys is “they encamped in the plains of Moav.”

Although the name of this parshah follows its beginning which states: “These are the journeys of the children of Israel,” this merely transfers the question to Scripture itself. If there was an encampment after every journey, why does Scripture say “These are the journeys of the children of Israel” and not “These are the encampments of the children of Israel” — or at least “These are the journeys and encampments of the children of Israel?”

The question is intensified by Rashi’s explanation of why these journeys are recounted in Scripture: “It may be likened to a king whose son was ailing, and he took him to a distant place to cure him. When they were returning, the father began to enumerate all the journeys, saying to him: “Here we slept, here we caught cold, here your head ailed, etc.” Since these events happened at their places of encampment (and not on the actual journey), surely Scripture should have emphasized the encampments, not the journeys.

The verse says: “These are the journeys of the children of Israel” because of the lofty nature of a “journey” — which is that a Jew must constantly be moving, rising from level to level, ascending ever higher. This is the idea of the journeys undertaken by the Jews in the desert: Rising from level to level until they reached Eretz Yisrael, “the land which the eyes of the L‑rd your G‑d are continually upon from the beginning of the year until the end of the year.”

The purpose of the journeys, then, is to leave the desert wilderness which is full of snakes and scorpions and without water — symbolizing the exile — and to come to the redemption, both one’s personal redemption and that brought by our righteous Mashiach. And this is its connection to Shabbos Mevarchim Menachem Av, which also is the idea of achieving the redemption through one’s personal service.

In greater analysis: The concept represented by “Maasei” helps a Jew avoid falling into depression. One becomes depressed over one’s low spiritual state only if it is impossible to improve one’s position. “Maasei” instructs a person, and grants him the strength, to escape his present level and reach a higher one.

Maasei teaches further that one need not remain satisfied with just one journey, lifting him from the lowest level. Maasei means “journeys,” plural tense, implying that even when on the lowest of levels a Jew is required to constantly climb, from level to level, in an infinite ascent. Moreover. this should be apparent even at the first step: A Jew on the lowest level must, at the time he is preparing to make his first journey, realize that he should eventually make an infinite number of journeys and ascents.

We find a parallel to this in halachah. When one prays, the law is that “if he is standing outside Eretz Yisrael, he should turn his face toward Eretz Yisrael ... and have in mind also toward Yerushalayim, and toward the Beis HaMikdash, and toward the Holy of Holies.” In other words, even when a Jew is on the level of “outside Eretz Yisrael,” he should turn his face not just toward Eretz Yisrael in general, but also toward Yerushalayim, the Beis HaMikdash, and toward the ultimate in holiness, the Holy of Holies. Moreover, although prayer involves the heart principally, a physical effect also takes place: One must actually turn his face toward Eretz Yisrael.

Similarly, a Jew who is on the loftiest of spiritual levels must also perform service in the manner of Maasei. One may think that it is sufficient for a Jew who is replete with good deeds, full of Ahavas Yisrael, to remain on his present high level. Maasei teaches that no matter how high that level may be, he must always be journeying — constantly, from level to level in an infinite manner (Maasei — plural).

The lesson from parshas Maasei, then, is that all aspects of service, especially those associated with Menachem Av, must be in the manner of Maasei — to constantly rise from level to level. This applies to all Jews: to the simplest — that they can achieve this; and to the loftier — that they should do so.

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3. Parshas Maasei relates the journeys made by the Jews in the desert, and the events, good and bad, which happened during their travels. Chapter 33, verse 9, relates one of these journeys: “And they journeyed from Marah and came to Eilim; and in Eilim were twelve springs of water and seventy palms; and they camped there.”

At first glance, a good event seems to have occurred at this journey. Before they reached Eilim the Jews were journeying in the desert, a desolate place without water or growth. When they came to Eilim they found water springs and date palms.

A simple question crops up here: Finding twelve springs of water is indeed a good thing, for even one spring gives an unceasing water flow, enough for everyone; and certainly twelve-springs would be enough for all the Jews. But the seventy date palms is a different matter. Among the Jews there were 600,000 adult males alone, and together with the women and children the total population reached the millions. Seventy palms could not provide enough dates for millions of people — so what was the good fortune of being in a place that had seventy palms? The reverse would seem to be true: The insufficient number of palms could generate friction and squabbles and jealousy.

The same information is given in parshas Beshallach (Shmos 15:27): “They came to Eilim and there were twelve springs of water and seventy palms.” However, the question posed above does not apply here, for in parshas Beshallach this information is related in the context of the previous events, in which the Jews had traveled from a place where there was no water or growth. Thus parshas Beshallach is emphasizing the qualities of the place, not the good it could have provided for the Jews. Our parshah, however, relates events which happened to the Jews, as Rashi writes (33:1): “Why were these journeys written? ... It may be likened to a king whose son was ill, and the king took him to a distant place to cure him

When they were returning, the father began to enumerate all the journeys, saying to him: ‘Here we slept, here we caught cold, here your head ached, etc.”‘ Thus the question arises: What good did millions of Jews have from seventy palms?

The Explanation

Rashi, on the verse in parshas Beshallach, explains the significance in the twelve springs of water and the seventy palms. He says that the “Twelve springs of water, corresponding to the twelve tribes, were prepared for them, and seventy date palms corresponding to the seventy elders.”

Even without Rashi’s comment we know that the number of springs and date palms must have some significance, for in parshas Nasso Rashi explains the meaning behind the number of sacrifices brought by the princes. Hence we see that a specific number has significance.

Thus, besides the fact that Rashi in parshas Beshallach has explicitly written that the twelve springs correspond to the twelve tribes and the seventy palms to the seventy elders, one would anyway know to what these numbers are alluding. For one has learned about the twelve tribes on many occasions, and likewise about the seventy elders — as Rashi notes in parshas Beshallach (11:26) that there were seventy elders (although that means that among twelve tribes, two of the tribes would have only five elders and the rest would have six).

The good event the Jews encountered when they reached Eilim, then, is not (so much) that they could drink the water and eat the dates, but that the number of springs and palms corresponded to numbers important to the Jews

This emphasizes the lofty nature of Jews. The springs and palms they encountered in Eilim existed long before the Jews came there. When they arrived there they saw that G‑d had from long ago caused twelve springs of water and seventy palms to be in that place, numbers corresponding to Jewry in general: the twelve tribes — the Jewish people; the seventy elders — the intermediaries between Moshe Rabbeinu and the people.

This distinction is further emphasized when one takes into consideration that the place they left to come to Eilim was Marah. (“They journeyed from Marah and came to Eilim”). In Marah, the Jews had complained against Moshe (Shmos 15:23-25). Yet, despite this, the first place they arrived at after Marah was Eilim, where the lofty nature of Jews was emphasized!

4. There is another difficulty in this parshah. In enumerating the journeys made by the Jews, Scripture states (33:38): “Aharon the priest ascended Mt. Hor at G‑d’s command; he died there in the fortieth year of the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month.

The difficulty here is that this is the only instance in the whole of Chumash that the date of a person’s death is recorded. We do not find such a thing in the cases of Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov, nor earlier in the cases of Moshe Rabbeinu (Aharon’s brother) and Miriam (Aharon’s sister). Why is the exact date given in the case of Aharon?

True, we know the dates of Moshe’s and Miriam’s passing, the 7th of Adar and 10th of Nissan, respectively — but only from the Oral Torah. Aharon’s is the only death which is explicitly recorded in the Written Torah.

The reason for this may be understood by recalling what happened at Aharon’s death. Scripture states (Bamidbar 20:29): “And all the congregation saw that Aharon was dead, and all the house of Israel wept for Aharon thirty days.” Rashi comments, “The men and women [wept], for Aharon used to pursue peace and bring love among men of strife and between a husband and his wife.”

This quality of Aharon’s, that he “used to pursue peace and bring love,” was not found in Moshe, Miriam, Avraham, Yitzchok, Yaakov (Avraham — quarreled with Nimrod; Yitzchok — with Yishmael; Yaakov — with Eisav), Noach or Adam. It was a quality found only in Aharon.

Because Aharon possessed a quality not possessed by any other, it is no wonder that Torah attaches special significance to his death by telling us the exact date.

Further, since “all the congregation” were present at Aharon’s death, and all wept and mourned for him, it follows that on the anniversary of his passing the next year everyone assembled to remember the sad event, and to ponder how to Properly follow in Aharon’s ways.

Because Aharon’s death was an event which affected all the Jews, something remembered every year, Torah recorded the exact date of his death. At the deaths of Moshe and Miriam, in contrast, not everyone was necessarily there, and thus not everyone remembered it the next year. Torah therefore does not record the dates of their deaths.

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5. We have said in years past that one should engage in the study of topics associated with the Beis HaMikdash during the three weeks between the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av. We shall therefore analyze a subject in Rambam’s “Laws of Beis HaBechirah” (Beis HaBechirah — the Beis HaMikdash).

The beginning of Chapter 6 states: “The Sanctuary as a whole was not on level ground, but on the slope of the Mount. One entering from the East Gate of the Temple Mount would walk on level ground till the end of the Rampart. From the Rampart he would ascend 12 steps to the Court of Women, the height of each step being half a cubit and its tread half a cubit. He would then walk the entire length of the Court of Women on level ground. From there he would ascend 15 steps to the Court of Israelites, which was the beginning of the Court proper. The height of each step was half a cubit and its tread half a cubit. He would then walk the entire length of the Court of Israelites on level ground. From here he would ascend one step a cubit high to the Court of Priests. Upon it was a platform which had 3 steps, the height of each step being half a cubit and its tread half a cubit. Thus the Court of Priests was 2 1/2 cubits higher than the Court of Israelites. He would then walk the entire length of the Court of Priests, the altar and between the Ulam and the altar on level ground. From there he would ascend 12 steps to the Ulam, the height of each step being half a cubit and its tread half a cubit. The Ulam and the Heinha] were all on the same level.”

Rambam begins with the words: “The Sanctuary as a whole was not on level ground, but on the slope of the Mount” — first negating that it may have been on ground-level, and not saying only “The Sanctuary as a whole was on the slope of the Mount” — for he wishes to draw a distinction between the Sanctuary and the Mishkan built by Moshe Rabbeinu. Since the Mishkan was on level ground, one may think that the Sanctuary should be built as the Mishkan — also on level ground. Rambam therefore first of all negates this theory and says: “The Sanctuary as a whole was not on level ground.

The Sanctuary, Rambam writes (Laws of Beis HaBechirah 1:1), is a “House for the L‑rd, prepared for the offering of sacrifices therein and for making thereto a pilgrimage three times a year.” — In terms of spiritual service, it is the drawing near of Jews to G‑d through the sacrifices and through the pilgrimages when Jews came to see G‑dliness.

Thus every detail of the Sanctuary — in our case the different levels — is connected with the resting of the Divine Presence on the Sanctuary. This is expressed in the physical slope of the Sanctuary, in that when one wished to enter a part of the Sanctuary in which there was a loftier level of manifestation of the Divine Presence, one had to ascend “steps” — i.e., reach a higher level .

But this raises several questions:

1) The different levels of manifestation of the Divine Presence existed also in the Mishkan

Why then was the Mishkan on level ground? Why weren’t the different levels of G‑dliness expressed in different levels in the physical place (a slope)?

2) Why in the Beis HaMikdash was “The Ulam and the Heichal all on the same level” — i.e., why wasn’t the Holy of Holies on a level higher than the Heichal? If the difference between the Court of Women and the Court of Israelites (and the differences between the other sections) was expressed in one being physically higher than the other, then certainly the Holy of Holies, which was the most holy place in the whole Sanctuary, should have been differentiated in height Yet, “The Ulam and the Heichal were all on the same height.

The service of the sacrifices differs from other mitzvos in that it can be done only in the Beis HaMikdash, whereas other mitzvos can be fulfilled even when the Beis HaMikdash does not exist. The reason for this is that although all the mitzvos have the purpose of making this physical world into a dwelling place for G‑d, the service of the sacrifices is special in that they openly show the unity between physical matter and G‑dliness. The physical sacrifice was consumed by Heavenly fire, and thereby G‑dliness was infused into the four categories of created things, all of which were present at a sacrifice: inanimate matter — the salt which accompanied the sacrifice; plant life — the meal offering and libations; animal life — the animal or bird used; humankind — the Priests, Levites and Israelites who were present. It is for this reason that the service of the sacrifices could be performed only in the Beis HaMikdash.

The revelation of G‑dliness effected by other mitzvos, in contrast, is mainly in the soul, for the object used in a mitzvah does not change. For example: The parchment used in tefillin does not change when a person dons the tefillin — unlike the sacrifices which were consumed by Heavenly fire.

In other words, although the principal aspect in all mitzvos is the physical object — for their purpose is to affect the corporeality of the world — there are differing levels in the types of mitzvos. The sacrifices have an actual effect on physical matter, whereas that of other mitzvos, compared to sacrifices, is reckoned as the “spirituality in physical matter.”

This difference is analogous to that between the Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash. Although both had the purpose of infusing physical objects (of which they were built) with the Divine Presence, this purpose was achieved more by the Beis HaMikdash then by the Mishkan. For the Mishkan was a “temporary dwelling place” for G‑d, whereas the Beis HaMikdash was a “permanent dwelling place.” Thus, although the Mishkan infused sanctity into the site where it was set up, that sanctity did not remain when the Mishkan was moved; the desert earth remained as before. The sanctity of the site of the Beis HaMikdash remained even after the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed.

The above was expressed also in the materials used in the construction of the Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash. The former was built mainly of wood — plant life — whereas the latter was built by stone — inanimate matter, the lowest category. Thus the infusion of G‑dliness even to the lowest levels was achieved by the Beis HaMikdash.

Now we can understand why the Mishkan was on level ground and the Beis HaMikdash on a slope. Because the Beis HaMikdash had a permanent effect even on inanimate matter, the physical site of the Beis HaMikdash was also changed: The higher the sanctity of a section, the higher the place. The sanctity of the Mishkan, in contrast, did not permeate to the lowest levels, and it did not have a permanent effect. Thus it had no effect on the site on which it was situated; it was on year Round .

The only question left remaining is why the Holy of Holies was not higher than the rest of the Heichal. Differences in the heights of the sections of the Beis HaMikdash apply only when the sections have some connection between them: The greater the sanctity, the higher the place. But a level of sanctity that is incomparably loftier than any other, to the extent that it transcends the terms higher or lower — will not be expressed in — physical height, since the difference between it and other levels cannot be measured in terms of higher or lower.

In our case, the differences between the sections of the Beis HaMikdash which had a connection one with another — the Court of Women, the Court of Israelites, etc. — were expressed in differences of height: the higher the sanctity, the higher its site. To reach a higher level, one had to ascend “steps,” commensurate to the ascent in sanctity — 3 steps, 12 steps, or 15 steps.

The sanctity of the Holy of Holies, however, is incomparably loftier than the sanctity of other sections — and therefore it could not be expressed by merely being physically higher than the other sections. Its level transcends the categories of higher or lower, such that one cannot ascend to the Holy of Holies by “steps” — even a thousand of them