Book Review: Hilchos Beis Habechirah

Ever since the Rebbe launched the Mikdash-study campaign, he dedicated a “slot” of time of the Farbrengen during the “Three-Weeks” to analyze and study a Halachah from the Rambam’s Mishneh Torah on the laws of the Beis HaMikdash. The result is a 340 page book.


הלכות בית הבחירה להרמב”ם
עם חידושים וביאורים
HILCHOS BEIS HABECHIRA L’HARAMBAM im CHIDUSHIM UBEIURIM
Hardcover / 8.5X10.5” / 341 pp. Vaad L’Hafotzas Sichos $20.00


Leaders teach more with example than with words.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe would hold a “Farbrengen” – a chasidic gathering – on Shabbos at least twice in a month. In the summer months, a Farbrengen could last up to seven hours!

In addition to words of inspiration related to the time and the weekly parshah and comments about timely events, the unofficial “program” included an analytical talk on a commentary of Rashi on the weekly parsha, a talk expounding on a Kabbalistic note or gloss authored by the Rebbe’s father on Zohar or Tanya, a paragraph of the daily Rambam (after 5744) and in the weeks between Pesach and Rosh Hashanah the Rebbe regularly would explain a Mishnah in Pirkei Avos in depth.

Ever since the Rebbe launched the Mikdash-study campaign, he dedicated a “slot” of time of the Farbrengen during the “Three-Weeks” to analyze and study a Halachah from the Rambam’s Mishneh Torah on the laws of the Beis HaMikdash.

Transcripts of these were later published in a revised Talmudic-discussion format, including hundreds of comments and references to various works discussing the same topics, all personally edited by the Rebbe. The talks were published as weekly pamphlets called Likkutei Sichos, published by Va’ad L’Hafotzas Sichos, the publishing committee of the Rebbe’s edited works.

These essays were compiled by the Va’ad and first published in 5746 (1986), freely translated to Hebrew, under the title Hilchos Beis Habechirah LehaRambam im Chidushim U’Beurim as an anthology of analytical studies arranged around the Rambam’s rulings concerning the construction and the design of the Beis HaMikdash.

These talks make up the first part of the book – Chelek HaHalachah, 22 full length Halachic studies on the Beis HaMikdash and another 26 shorter notes.

The book includes a second part, Chelek HaAggada, including many more studies on Beis HaMikdash related matters, albeit not directly explaining the Rambam’s rulings, they are of more Aggadic nature based on Mussar, Kabbalah and Chassidus. This part includes another 24 essays.

The essays are all supplemented with additional sources and studies in an appendix prepared by the book’s editors.

The book opens with a reprint of the Rambam’s text along with the classic commentaries. A unique and original addition to the text of the Rambam are references to the sources of the Rambam’s rulings in the Mishnah, Talmud, Midrashim and other works of the Rambam, something the Rambam himself regretted he didn’t include in his manuscript. It is followed by the studies themselves. (Rambam’s Responsum – Lipsia ed., vol. 1, siman 140)

Additional appendixes to the book are Tractate Middos of the Mishnah, which includes the measurements and design of the second Beis HaMikdash, as well chapters 40-43 of Yechezkel which include the plan and design of the third Beis HaMikdash, both with the classic commentaries and maps.

The book first appeared in print in 5746 (1986) and was reprinted several times since. The latest edition of 5771 included a new typeset of the Rambam, the Mishnah and the chapters of Yechezkel, as well is detailed indexes with references to classic Jewish texts.

Read a detailed overview of central themes in these teachings here.

Purchase Here


SEEK OUT THE WELFARE of JERUSALEM:
Analytical Studies by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, on the Rambam’s rulings concerning the construction and the design of the Beis HaMikdash
Hardcover. 169 pp. SIE Publications. $20  


In 5754 (1994), an adaptation and translation into English of a select 25 studies were published by Sichos in English, the organization responsible for publishing the Rebbe’s talks in English, under the name Seek out the Welfare of Jerusalem, a name that encapsulates the need and motif of such studies. This is in fact the verse from Tehillim which the Rambam chose to place at the opening of the book of Avoda, the seventh of his fourteen volume Mishne Torah which includes the laws of construction and worship in the Mikdash.

Translated and adapted by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger, edited by Ben Baird.

Available to read and purchase @ SIE.org