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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Devarim: Parashat Reeh: As a Nation

Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi

"Rather, only at the place that Hashem, you God, will choose from among all your tribes to place His Name there, shall you seek out His Presence and come there." (Deuteronomy 12,5)

In Hebrew, the final words in this verse are: "Leshichno Tidrishou Oubata Shama." The translation of the verse loses some of the flavor of the verse. "Tidrishou," which is translated as "shall you seek," is really written in Hebrew in plural form. "Oubata," which is translated as "and come there", is really written in Hebrew in singular form.

And so we ask the obvious question: Why does the Torah begin in plural and then change to singular?

To answer this question we must first explore the context that our verse is in. The prior verse tells us that must not treat Godly holy artifacts in the destructive manner that we are commanded to treat artifacts of idolatry. As it is written:

"You shall break apart their altars; you shall smash their pillars." (Deuteronomy 12, 3)

Our holy artifacts must be kept secure and safe. Where are these holy items kept? ".at the place that Hashem . will choose ." – Hashem will designate a place for us to keep His holy artifacts. A place that will be later deemed the House of God- the Bet Hamiqdash.

Now that we understand the context of our verse, we can revisit our initial question. Why the change from plural to singular ("Tidrishou" to "Oubata")?

We must note that the verse used the word "Tidrishou", to seek out. The verse tells us that Hashem will designate a place to dwell. We know that the Bet Hamiqdash was chosen, however, today is has been destroyed. Why was the second Temple destroyed? Our rabbis tells us that "Sinat Hinam" or unjustified hatred between Jew caused the destruction of the second Temple.

Now we can answer our question: "Tidrishou", to seek out, written in plural, that we must seek out and understand the reason why the Temple is not here. Bnei Yisrael at the time were "plural" meaning that they were each individualistic in their behavior, placing their needs above the needs of the whole. There were many "individuals", hence the plural form of "Tidrishou", which let to hatred between Jews, and ultimately the end to the Temple.

How can we usher in the building of the third and final Temple?

"Oubata", in singular form- meaning that when we shall all live together as one people, as one community, and as one nation. If each of us was preoccupied with thinking of the Klal, the community overall, many of the problems we face today amongst our youth and adults, will begin to fade away.
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