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Role Reversal on Har HaBayit

The relationship between Jews and Hashem revolve around the pivotal events on Har Moriah, the mountain on which Avraham offered Isaac to Hashem, the same mountain where Yaakov had his dream of angels ascending and descending on ladders, and the very same spot where the mizbeach, the altar, of the Beis Hamikdash was built.

In the Akeidah. Avraham brings the fire, and as he explains to Isaac, “Hashem will provide the offering,” which he eventually does in the form of a ram.

But in the Beis Hamikdash, the roles are reversed. Man brings the offering – but Hashem brings the fire. What happened to invert the relationship?

I have argued previously that G-d hates pillars, matzeivos, because they represent a misunderstanding of the relationship between man and G-d. Everywhere in the Torah where man and G-d are spoken of as man and woman, mankind is feminine, and Hashem is masculine. Everywhere, that is, except in the language of the Beis Hamikdash – where the Cohen is male, and the divine presence, the shechinah, is given in the female. The roles in the Beis Hamikdash are reversed.

One possible explanation is that the only pivotal event on Har HaBayis between the time of the Akeidah and the Beis Hamikdash being built was Yaakov’s dream. Following that dream, Yaakov built the only matzeivo ever built by the Avos for devotional purposes (the other two were built as landmarks). That matzeivo, presumably shaped as it was in the classic phallic shape of all ancient obelisks, and expressly built for the purpose of marking the spot where Yaakov’s descendants would build a House of G-d, the Beis Hamikdash, allowed for an inversion of the normal relationship between Man and G-d. Our role as a nation is feminine; but on that spot, Yaakov (for better or worse) turned things on their head. Instead of the Akeidah, where Avraham brought the earthly fire and G-d supplied the masculine ram as the offering, we have the Beis Hamikdash, where the Cohen brings the offering, and Hashem provides divine fire.

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