In the Torah portion of Re’eh , the Beis HaMikdash (the Holy Temple) is referred to1 as “the site that G‑d will choose for His name to rest there.” In describing the Beis HaMikdash , the Rambam notes2 that it was built on a slope with steps leading from level to level.

The Beis HaMikdash was a successor to the Mishkan (the Tabernacle), and, as such, was to be similar to it in all important details.3 This being so, why was the Mishkan on a level surface while the Beis HaMikdash was built on a slope?

One of the differences between the Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash was that the former was but a temporary edifice4 and traveled from place to place, while the latter was to stand forever on a fixed site. This gave rise to a difference between them regarding their sanctity. The main sanctity of the Mishkan was a reflection of the components from which it was constructed, and not of the ground upon which it was placed, while the sanctity of the Beis HaMikdash extended to the actual physical site — “the site that G‑d will choose.”

Because the sanctity of the Beis HaMikdash extended to its very site, the different levels of sanctity within it were reflected in its different elevations — the more sacred, the loftier the location.

Yet within the Beis HaMikdash itself, the Holy and the Holy of Holies were on the same plane. According to the previous explanation, there should have been a marked difference in height, reflecting the marked difference in sanctity between the Holy and the Holy of Holies.

However, the notion that a more holy spot will be marked by a higher physical elevation than a less holy one applies only when the degrees of sanctity involved are comparable; when a spot’s sanctity is incomparably higher than any other’s, it defies the very concept of “higher” and “lower,” and any difference in physical height cannot serve as an indicator of its holiness.

Herein lay the difference between the Holy of Holies and all other parts of the Beis HaMikdash : All the other parts could be compared to each other as to their degree of holiness. It was thus possible to allude to these differences by locating one section above or below another.

The Holy of Holies, however, was that place wherein the unlimited essence of G‑dliness was revealed;5 it was of an infinitely greater degree of holiness than any other part of the Beis HaMikdash — exalted far beyond the confines of “higher” and “lower.”

This discussion also applies when considering the various levels of sanctity in the spiritual Beis HaMikdash which resides within each and every individual6 and with regard to the levels we achieve in our spiritual quest.

Under ordinary circumstances, whenever a person desires to attain a higher spiritual level, it is incumbent upon him to “climb the steps” and elevate himself through his spiritual service.

But when a person seeks to attain the highest of levels, the Holy of Holies, he must abandon all awareness of “self” or “seeking” and attain a state in which everything exists for him in a state of “absolute equality.”

When a person attains this state, he is in touch with his soul’s essence7 — a level beyond the very concepts of “higher” and “lower,” and on which he is completely nullified before G‑d’s will.8

Such a person has attained the Holy of Holies.

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIX, pp. 71-78