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Geshmack Dvar Torah of the Week: The Kruvim

Thursday, 18 February 2010

The Kruvim

There is a Gemara in Baba Basra 99 that discusses the Kruvim (cherubs). It brings down conflicting psukim, that faced each faced the other, or whether they faced the wall ie away from each other. The Gemara concludes that when the Jews were righteous they faced each other, and when they sinned, they turned away. The symbolism is clear.

There is a Gemara in Yuma 54 that when the Temple was destroyed, the Gentiles who burst in found them hugging. Many commentators query this: the only reason the Temple was destroyed was because the Jews sinned, so why were they even facing each other, let alone hugging?

There are three answers, which have overlapping themes.

The Ritva explains that Hashem punishes us exactly, and when the punishment is finished He loves us again, we have gotten our due. The Temple was destroyed, and G-ds anger had subsided.

The Klausenberger Rebbe says that this occurred so as not to disgrace the Jews, as clearly the position of the Kruvim was noteworthy, so if the punishment was to see the destruction of the Temple, then further embarrassment would be pointless if word spread that the Kruvim were facing opposite direction, ie that G-d was angry with the Jews.

The Arizal says that the Gentiles were not the subject of G-d' anger, the Jews were. As such, the Gentiles, who were just the objects through which G-d implemented His judgement. In this regard, they were insignificant, and could not hold a candle to the Jews, as it were.

During the destruction, there was a traitor called Yosef of Meshisa who informed for the Romans. As a reward for his treachery, he was allowed to walk into the Temple and take a treasure for himself. He went in and took the Menorah, but was informed that the Romans were unaware of the aesthetic beauty the treasures, so he could not have it, but could go back in and take something else. He refused, and said it had been bad enough he'd angered his G-d once, and would nto do so again. He was tortured, and killed, but it is noteworthy that just going into the Temple had affected him so much so that he was now willing to die rather than betray his people and religion again. There was something that was supernatural about the Temple, that Gentiles were not party to.

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