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Learning Halachah

Likutei Halachos on Parshas Shoftim

Translated by Dov Grant 

Devarim 17:8 “If something will be concealed from you in judgment…then arise and ascend to [the Temple]"

Despite the fact that true tzaddikim leave this world, nevertheless their chiddushim (original Torah thoughts) – the halachos/laws that they revealed – remain for us.

Similarly, even though the Temple was destroyed, nevertheless, all the Torah and halachos that occupied the Rabbis of the Lishkas Ha’Gazis (“the room of hewn stone”) in the Temple, remain for us. For all the halachos of the Torah that we are aware of at this time were received from the Temple. Thus it states: “For from Tzion/the Temple the Torah goes forth” and “if something will be concealed from you in judgment…ascend to [the Temple]”. For the main clarification of the halachos that were received from Moshe could only occur once the Temple was built. The Great Sanhedrin sat there and elucidated for us all the halachos in order to vitalize us to this day.

And so we find that the enemy was not able to exercise his might over the gates of the Temple – on account of the honor that was accorded the Holy Ark, as Chazal/our Sages teach. For the revelation of halachos are related to “gates”, in the sense that they open the gates of wisdom and holy knowledge of Hashem. This is reflected in the teaching “Hashem loves the gates of Tzion more than the Sanctuaries of Ya’acov”- that He loves the gates that are me’tzuyanim/distinguished by halachah”. Thus Chazal teach that the verse “they will not be embarrassed when enemies speak at the gate” refers to scholars occupied in learning Torah. Consequently, the enemy was unable to control the Temple gates; they sunk into the ground of their own accord. This shows that the gates – which relate to the halachos that were revealed in the Temple – were insurmountable by our enemies, because they [the halachos] alone remain for us, albeit sunken in the ground, so to speak.

Nevertheless, the true tzaddikim in every generation raise and reveal all the [sunken] gates of halachah. For this was the purpose of the sinking of the Temple gates, rather than being overwhelmed by the enemy: In order to enable anyone that has the desire to reveal them and raise them from the dirt.

Choshen Mishpat Hilchos Chalukas Shutafim 5:13