Holy of Holies

Holy of Holies

Holy Of Holies


If you learned Rambam, in the laws of the Temple, one of the sections of those laws is called the laws of entering the Temple. When the Priests and the High Priest are allowed to go into the Temple and when they are not allowed. The similarities between these laws and intimacy between husband and wife are quite interesting. A Priest is not allowed to go into the temple if he has had a few drinks. You are not allowed to be intimate with your wife if you have had a few drinks. You cannot come into the Temple with dirty clothing. What is dirty clothing? Selfish thoughts. thought, speech and action are the garments of the soul. 

The best lesson is, if the High Priest has unholy thoughts in the Holy of Holies, he would die. In some places it says he would die in the Holy of Holies and they would have to have a rope to pull him out. The question is, what kind of unholy thoughts would a High Priest have in the Holy of Holies, on Yom Kippur, when he is only there for about fifteen minutes? He is not even enough of a mentsch? He is doing something unusual, only once a year, he is busy doing what he's doing, where does he get unholy thoughts? And it became so common, that when the High Priest did come out alive, ti was a big celebration. What is that? Do we expect the average High Priest to have unholy thoughts and we are surprised that he comes out alive?
So, what are these unholy thoughts that he might have?
If you were to ask the High Priest "Are you the guy who goes into the Holy of Holies?"
He would say, "What are you talking about? Nobody goes into the Holy of Holies. Holy of Holies means, nobody goes there."
"But you are the exeption, you go there,"
"G-d forbid, nobody goes there."
So you say to him, "But last week was Yom Kippur. Did you go there?"
He says, "Yes."
"And the year before?"
He says, "Yes."
"So, you are the guy that goes there"
"G-d forbid, nobody goes there."
This makes sense to a Chossid. The High Priest is saying, "G-d forbid, if I would think that I could go there, for such a thought I would die. The unholy thought of the High Priest wasn't that he was thinking about food, or even about his wife. Fifteen minutes, even an average person can concentrate for fifteen minutes when you are doing something unusual that you are not used to doing every day.
The unholy thought would be, I'm a High Priest, I come in here. No, you don't come in here. When you are called, you come, but this is not your place.
So why would he die if he had an unholy thought? Seems a little harsh, no? An unholy thought is not punishable by death. If he was thinking about his wife we would say..not nice, inappropriate, he wouldn't die from that. He dies because the Holy of Holies cannot be cheapened.
If you cheapen the Holy of Holies, it doesn't work. How do you cheapen a Holy of Holies? If you start to feel like this is your place. It is not your place, it is G-d's place. So it is very much like if you invite someone to your house. You want them to be there, you want them to feel comfortable. But if they start thinking that it is their house, you don't invite them back, because now they are violating your privacy. So you invite somebody to stay in your house and you find out that he sold the couch? He didn't like it, it didn't fit, so he sold it.
You say, "Excuse me, what are you doing?"
He says, "What, don't you want me to feel comfortable?"
"Yes, I want you to feel comfortable in my house, on my couch. When it starts being your couch, then I don't want you to be comfortable, you are not invited anymore. As long as you don't sell my couch, you are not violating my comfort and you arenot violating the privacy. When you start to think it is your house, now you are destroying my privacy."
The Holy of Holies remains Holy of Holies because the High Priest doesn't sell the furniture. He doesn't walk in saying, "I'm back, hello, it's me. Who is you? this is the Holy of Holies, you do not belong here.
The result is that even those High Priests during the Second Temple, who were not on the same level as the previous ones and knew that they might die, were willing to do it. Because, to be in the Holy of Holies was so awesome, that they risked their lives. 
Why is it so awesome? Imagine having a holiness that is too big for you to own. The fact that this is not your place makes this experience so much more intense and so much higher. You are in a place that is way too holy for you, yet you were invited and you have a service to do there.
It's a two dimensional experience. The pleasure of being there and the fright of being there. Whereas all other pleasure, if you like it, you like it. It's one dimensional. The High Priest going into the Holy of Holies, that is intimacy. 
Real intimacy is too holy for you and that is why, whatever you feel, whatever innocence, whatever selflessness you feel at that moment, it's not going to last. It's not you.
It is interesting that it says in the Code of Jewish Law, that after husband and wife have been intimate, you wait around a half hour and then you go back to your bed. It's almost like, you did your service, now leave, this is not your place.
That sensitivity, that is the holiness of the intimacy. To never feel like this is mine, I own it. You don't own intimacy. 
It's like the Holy of Holies. When there is a service you need to do, you're invited, but don't start selling the furniture. Don't let it become, like it could become: "She's there all the time, I see her all the time, what's the big deal?"
This is so dangerous. There are many non-Jews who want to go to the Mikvah, women who want to practice the whole thing. Two weeks separate, two weeks together. Why do they want to do it? To save their marriage. We don't realize what a powerful, positive think this is. I have no doubt when Moshiach comes, everybody is going to keep Mikvah. It simply makes so much sense. it is so necessary for simple, practical, real life in this world.

The content of this page is produced by mikvah.org and is copyrighted by the author, publisher or mikvah.org. You may distribute it provided you comply with our copyright policy.