Parshat Re’eh: The Secret
פרק י״ב פסוק ה
״כִּי אִם־אֶל־הַמָּק֞וֹם אֲשֶׁר־יִבְחַ֨ר יְהֹוָ֤ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶם֙ מִכָּל־שִׁבְטֵיכֶ֔ם לָשׂ֥וּם אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ שָׁ֑ם לְשִׁכְנ֥וֹ תִדְרְשׁ֖וּ וּבָ֥אתָ שָּֽׁמָּה.״
״But only to the place which the Lord your God shall choose from all your tribes, to set His Name there; you shall inquire after His dwelling and come there.״
Moshe gave over the commandment to build a Bais HaMikdash but did not reveal the location. The Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim, says that after Avrohom Avinu went to Har HaMoriah for the Akeidah he called it Har Yeira’eh and this holy ground was revealed as the place for the Bais HaMikdash. Moshe surely knew this so why did he purposely hide its location and not reveal it. The Rambam gives three reasons why.
- He didn’t want the other nations to know about this. He was worried that they would get their first and build a Temple to their idols because of the Kedusha of the area. This would give them a historical precedence.
- The local people might destroy the area knowing that it is designated to be the pinnacle of Jewish spirituality and authority.
- The most important and true reason, says the Rambam, is that Moshe did not want the Shevatim to know where the Beit HaMikdash would be because he was scared the Shevatim in whose territory it wasn’t, would wage war on the Shevet that received that territory. Moshe wanted to avert a civil war. Therefore only after there was a King with firm control over Am Yisrael, did Hashem reveal the location to Dovid HaMelech.