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By: Rav David Milston

The Talmud in Massechet Sanhedrin (20b) when discussing the issue of Malchut explains:

"Rabbi Yehuda says: Three Mitzvot were given to Israel to perform upon entering the Land; To appoint for themselves a King, to destroy Amalek, and to build the Bet Hamikdash".

Even though there are differing opinions in the gemara as to whether or not the appointing of a king is a Mitzva or not, Rambam at the very start of Hilchot Melachim decides in favor of Rabbi Yehuda as stated above. If we look at the two preceding parshiot we see that Parashat Shoftim dealt with the mitzvah of the monarchy, Parashat Ki Teize dealt with war, culminating in the war with Amalek, and finally at the start of this weeks Parasha we reach the climax, the bringing of the first fruit to the Bet Hamikdash.

This climax was defined in the parasha immediately preceding Shoftim - Parashat Re'eh. In Parashat Re'eh, our goal was defined - "Hamakom Asher Yivchar Hashem". The Parasha seems to continually return to Yerushalayim and the Mikdash as the ultimate goal of Am Yisrael. Having established the goal the following three parshiot take us stage by stage to the actual realization of our dream; Malchut, Amalek, and finally Ki Tavo - the Bet HaBechira.

When we look at Neviim Rishonim, we see the very same pattern. Shaul is our first King. Having been established as King of Israel, he is expected to move on to the next stage - i.e. to wage war against Amalek. However, as we know only too well, Shaul fails in the second task, and as a result of his failure he loses the right to the throne.

David Hamelech follows Shaul as King. It is surely no coincidence that at the same time that Shaul is being defeated, David is destroying Amalek (See Shmuel Alef Chapters 30 and 31). The clear message from the Tenach seems to be saying that David will be King because he has succeeded where Shaul failed - in the destruction of Amalek.

Yet David Hamelech, though succeeding in destroying Amalek, was never permitted to fulfill the ultimate goal - the building of the Bet Hamikdash. That most holy task was left for Shlomo Hamelech the son of David. From the structure of our parshiot, and from Neviim Rishonim, we can see that these three mitzvot, are three distinct stages. Each of the stages is an achievement in its own right, yet at the same time, there is an overall objective - Ki Tavo - the Bet HaBechira. If this is a national reality, then we can also understand it from the perspective of an individual in his or her relationship with HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

The first stage of our relationship with Hashem is to accept Him as King of the world. The Baal HaTania., in his work on Teshuva, otherwise known as the Tania Katan, explains that even the slightest transgression is an expression of rebellion against G-d. Before we can in anyway ascend the heights of Har Hashem, we must accept G-d to be the King of Kings. Malchut is therefore the prerequisite to our truest form of Avodat Hashem.

The second stage is the destruction of Amalek. As we all know the gematria of Amalek (240) is the same as that of the Hebrew word Safek - doubt. Amalek and the word "mikre" - coincidence always seem to arise together. The ploy of Amalek was to neutralize the objective of Am Yisrael. Our job as a people is to make G-ds name known to the world. Amalek, whenever possible will try to annul our achievements. It is Amalek who challenge Bnei Yisrael at a time when the rest of the world stood in awe. They are prepared to give up life itself, just to neutralize us from our objectives.

Having accepted upon ourselves the Kingdom of Heaven, having accepted Hashem as King of the world, we have reached an incredible height. However, as David Hamelech says - It is not enough to reach the heights of Har Hashem - "Who will stay there?"

The challenge before us having established Malchut Hashem, is the destruction of all doubts. The King is king but must be established on His throne in absolute terms.

Only after this stage, only after the true affirmation of G-d as King of all, without any doubt, only then can we reach the level of Bet Hamikdash. The climax of bringing the holiness of Shamayim down to this world. The incredible achievement of mankind when it has reached a level of spirituality that makes it possible for a Bet Mikdash to exist.

And so, in the same way that our people have a stage-by-stage process, beginning with the monarchy, followed by the destruction of Amalek, and culminating in the building of the Mikdash. So too each and everyone of us has a an individual process involving the acceptance of G-d as the Almighty King, the removal of any doubts that we may have, followed by the climax of spiritual achievement - spiritual dominion in a physical world - the Bet Hamikdash.

The very same pattern can be seen in the month of Tishrei. Rosh Hashana is Malchut. The essence of the first days of the Asseret Yemai Teshuvam, is accepting G-d as King of Kings - "Hamelech"! Having declared Hashem as King on Rosh Hashana, we work intensively until Yom Kippur in order to remove all doubts. Our Rabbis tell us that Yom Kippur is "KePurim" - like Purim. In what way is Yom Kippur similar to Purim? In the same way that on Purim we see that even what appears to be coincidence, is under the direct instruction of Hashem. On Purim we destroy Amalek, after reading the Megillah, after reading events that took place over nine years in forty-five minutes, it becomes clear that there is no such thing as coincidence - on Purim all doubt is destroyed. In the same way on Yom Kippur having previously established Hashem as King, we are like angels, totally spiritual, there is no doubt, there is no questioning. It is only at the end of Yom Kippur that we can truly exclaim "Hashem Hu HaElokim". It is not enough to crown G-d; we must confirm the coronation of Rosh Hashana on Yom Kippur by removing all doubts.

It is only after these two most Holy days that we reach Simchat Bet Hashoeva - Sukkot - "Vehayita Ach Sameach" - The Bet Hamikdash. Once again the climax of our three stages, having confirmed Hashem as the Almighty, having declared without a doubt that G-d is the L-rd, we reach the ultimate, the Bet Hamikdash. It is specifically the Bet Hamikdash on Sukkot that our Rabbis describe as being the utmost form of simcha to have ever been experienced in this world.

May it be the will of Hashem that we merit the heights of Bet Hamikdash in our life time.

Shabbat Shalom.


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