Lecture 48: The Territory of Binyamin - The Territory of the Shekhina (Part IV)

  • Rav Yitzchak Levy

Mikdash

 

 

Lecture 48: the territory of binyamin – the territory of the shekhina (part iv)

 

Rav Yitzchak Levi

 

 

            After having demonstrated how the territory of Binyamin is the territory of the Shekhina, I wish now to examine the uniqueness of the tribe of Binyamin. Why did Binyamin merit to be the tribe chosen by God to rest His Shekhina in its midst, and what is the significance of the fact that Binyamin's territory is the territory of the Shekhina?

 

1.         WHY DID THE SHEKHINA REST IN THE TERRITORY OF BINYAMIN?

 

The plain sense of Scripture teaches us very little about Binyamin himself. The one fact that distinguishes Binyamin is that he is the youngest of the tribes, and as opposed to his brothers, he was born in Eretz Yisrael. It seems, however, that we can point to a particular trait that characterizes him, namely, his silence. On various occasions described in the Torah, one might have expected to hear from Binyamin, but he utters not a word. Thus, for example, Binyamin knows about the sale of Yosef, but nevertheless remains silent.[1] When Yosef's cup is found in Binyamin’s sack, he says nothing, even though he is the main character in the story. He similarly fails to express his own position about going down to Egypt, while Yaakov and his brothers debate his fate.[2]

 

This characteristic accords well with his mother Rachel and her modesty, as is attested to by Chazal in the following midrash:

 

"Esther had not yet made known her kindred" (Esther 2:20) – this teaches that she adopted silence, like her ancestor Rachel who made silence her duty. All of the greatest of her descendants adopted silence. Rachel made silence her duty when she saw her nuptial presents in the hand of her sister but remained silent. Her son Binyamin adopted silence. Know [that this is true], for his stone on the choshen was jade (yashpeh), teaching that he knew about the sale of Yosef, yet remained silent: there is a mouth (yesh peh), but it remains silent. Shaul her descendant – "But the matter of the kingdom he did not tell him." Esther – "Esther had not yet made known her kindred." (Esther Rabbah, sec. 6)

 

            Rachel's quality of silence is connected to the trait of modesty that manifests itself in her handing over the signs to Leah. The midrash connects this trait to her descendants – to Shaul who did not reveal the matter of his kingdom (as explained in Megilla 13b) and to Binyamin. It seems that this modesty highlights the inner dimensions of Binyamin's personality.

 

            Binyamin's personality manifests itself in another point as well. Two tribes stand out in the book of Bamidbar as being exceedingly few in number – Levi and Binyamin. This emphasizes that the role of these two tribes is directed inwards, and they therefore do not stand out in their externals. Their role is one of connection to sanctity, as we shall see below, and to a certain degree this corresponds to the fact that they are few in number.[3]

 

            In addition to these explanations, we see from the verse in Devarim (33:12) that Binyamin is "the beloved of the Lord," a unique appellation that certainly teaches that he possesses a degree of righteousness that justifies his being called by that name.

 

THE VARIOUS EXPLANATIONS IN CHAZAL

 

            The Torah itself does not explain why the Shekhina rested in the portion of Binyamin, and we must therefore examine various sources in rabbinic literature that try to explain the matter.

 

1)         Sifrei Devarim states as follows:

 

Why did Binyamin merit that the Shekhina would rest in his portion? This may be likened to a king who from time to time visited his sons. Each of them said: He will stay with me. The youngest of them said: Is it possible that Father will leave my older brothers and stay with me? He went and stood up, his face hidden and his soul grieving. His father saw him standing with his face hidden and his soul grieving, and said: I will eat and drink by you [the brothers], but I will sleep by him. So, too, said the Holy One, blessed be He: The Temple will be in the portion of Binyamin, and the sacrifices will be from all the tribes.

 

Another explanation: Why did Binyamin merit that the Shekhina would rest in his portion? Because all the [other] tribes were born outside Israel, whereas Binyamin was born in the Land of Israel.

 

Another explanation: Why did Binyamin merit that the Shekhina would rest in his portion? Because all the [other] tribes were involved in the sale of Yosef, whereas Binyamin was not involved in the sale of Yosef. The Holy One, blessed be He, said: If I tell them to build the Temple, when they pray before Me, I will not become filled with compassion for them. I will not rest My Shekhina in their portion, for they showed no compassion to their brother.

 

Another explanation: Why did Binyamin merit that the Shekhina would rest in his portion? This may be likened to a king who had many sons. When they grew up, each one went and found his place. The youngest of them – his father loved him, ate and drank with him, leaned on him when he went out, and leaned on him when he came in. So, too, the righteous Binyamin was the youngest among the tribes, and Yaakov our father ate and drank with him, leaned on him when he went out, and leaned on him when he came in. The Holy One, blessed be He, said: The place where this righteous man set his hands, there will I rest My Shekhina. Therefore, it is stated: "He shall dwell between his shoulders" (Devarim 33:12). (Sifrei, Ve-zot Ha-berakha, sec. 352)

 

            Let us analyze the four explanations brought by the midrash and try to understand from them the conditions that are necessary for the resting of the Shekhina.

 

            The first explanation rests on Binyamin's modesty: Either Binyamin is distressed by the fact that God will rest upon him and not upon his older brothers, or he thought that it was impossible that the Shekhina should rest in his portion and not in that of one of the tribes that came before him.

 

            The connection between modesty and the resting of the Shekhina requires no explanation (see, for example, Sota 5a). What is more, the principle of modesty is also connected, as we have already seen (lecture no. 45 – "The Territory of Binyamin – the Territory of the Shekhina, part 1), to the Divine selection of Mount Moriya, one of the lower mountains in the proximity of ancient Jerusalem. This selection gives expression to the modesty of God Himself, and is reflected also in the selection of Mount Sinai, which had been torn away from Mount Moriya according to the midrash cited in that lecture:

 

"At the mountain which God has desired for His abode" (Tehillim 68:17) – My desire is exclusively for Sinai, which is the humblest of all of you. As it is stated: "I will dwell on high and in a holy place, yet with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit" (Yeshayahu 57:15)… And from where did Sinai come? Rabbi Yose said: It was torn of [Mount] Moriya, like challa from dough. (Midrash Tehilim, ibid.)

 

            According to the Sifrei, there is an inner connection between the humility of Binyamin the person and his entire territory – which is an especially low region between Mount Efrayim and Mount Hebron – and especially Mount Moriya, one of the lower mountains in that region.

 

            The second explanation is that Binyamin was the only brother born in Eretz Yisrael. On the simplest level, the entire land of Israel is the territory of God, the place where God chose to settle His people. In a certain sense, therefore, someone who was born in Eretz Yisrael has a more significant and deeply-rooted connection to the resting of the Shekhina.

 

            The mishna in Keilim (1:6-9) specifies "ten levels of sanctity" – ten circles closing in on the site of the resting of the Shekhina and increasing in their sanctity. These levels start with Eretz Yisrael, which is more sanctified than all other lands; pass through the walled cities, within the walls of Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount; and end with the various areas of the Mikdash, until the Holy of Holies.[4] For our purposes, the assertion that "Eretz Yisrael is more sanctified than all other lands" implies that someone who was born in Eretz Yisrael has a greater connection to the territory of the Shekhina than someone who was born outside of Eretz Yisrael.[5]

 

            The third explanation is that Binyamin was not involved in the sale of Yosef; the rest of the tribes, who were involved in it, were denied the possibility of the Shekhina resting among them, owing to the great cruelty that they had demonstrated. The converse is also implied: the trait of loving-kindness and mercy is also connected to the resting of the Shekhina. Indeed, we find many contexts in which the resting of the Shekhina is connected to loving-kindness and mercy.[6]

 

            The fourth explanation is that Binyamin was rewarded for the honor that he showed his father. Perhaps honoring one’s parents – two of the partners in a person's coming into the world – allows and naturally creates a more respectful relationship with God, the third partner, by way of the person's recognition of those who provided him with life and existence; this recognition makes it possible to merit the territory of the Shekhina.

 

2)         The Baraita in tractate Sota (36b-37a) cites various views as to who was the first to jump into the Red Sea:

 

As it was taught: Rabbi Meir would say: When Israel stood next to the sea, the tribes were arguing among themselves, this one saying, I will go down first into the sea, and this one saying, I will go down first into the sea. The tribe of Binyamin jumped and went down first into the sea. As it is stated: "There is Binyamin, the youngest, ruling them (rodem)" (Tehillim 68:28) – read not "rodem," but rather "red yam" ("go down into the sea"). And the princes of Yehuda stoned them. As it is stated: "The princes of Yehuda stone them" (ibid.). Therefore, the righteous Binyamin merited becoming the host of God. As it is stated: "He shall dwell between his shoulders" (Devarim 33:12).

Rabbi Yehuda said to him: It did not happen this way, but rather this one said, I will not go down first into the sea, and this one said, I will not go down first into the sea. Nachshon the son of Aminadav jumped and went down first into the sea. As it is stated: "Efrayim encompasses Me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Yehuda still rules ["rad," which can also be read as 'go down'] with God" (Hoshea 12:1). This is explained in the later books: "Save me, O God; for the waters are come in to my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing…. Let not the water-flood overwhelm me, nor let the deep swallow me up" (Tehillim 69:2-3, 16).

 

            According to Rabbi Meir, the tribesmen of Binyamin were the first to leap into the sea, and owing to this deed, they merited becoming the host of the Shekhina. In other words, the way to merit the resting of the Shekhina is through total dedication, which expresses itself in the readiness to sacrifice one's life.

 

            The connection between total dedication and the resting of the Shekhina is found first and foremost in the Torah's demand, "There you shall seek Him, at His dwelling, and there shall you come" (Devarim 12:5); the very revelation of the site of the Mikdash depends on the people of Israel's dedication to find it.[7]

 

            David also merited finding the site of the Mikdash in the wake of his total dedication to that mission: the search, the yearning, the readiness to sacrifice his life during the plague, the discovery and the building of the altar, and later the preparation of the workmen, the materials, the plans, the mishmarot and ma'amadot – and all this was done when he already knew that he himself would not build the Mikdash. David's dedication to the building of the Temple was so great that it was called by his name, even though he himself did not build it (see Bamidbar Rabba 12, 11).

 

3)         Midrash ha-Gadol on Parashat Miketz (Bereishit 44:12) discusses the discovery of Yosef's cup in Binyamin's sack:

 

"And the cup was found in Binyamin's sack" (Bereishit 44:12). When the cup was found in Binyamin's sack, they immediately became angry, and said to him: A thief the son of a thief, your mother shamed our father, and you shame us. He said to them: … Are there brothers here who sell their brother? Immediately, "They rent their clothes" (ibid. v. 13). Rabbi Yose said: May my portion be with those who are suspected of something, and it is not true. Know this, for surely Binyamin was suspected and it was not true, and they were beating him between the shoulders. What did he merit? The Shekhina rested in his portion, and he was called beloved of God. As it is written: "The beloved of the Lord; he shall dwell in safety by Him; He shall cover him all the day long, and He shall dwell between his shoulders" (Devarim 33:12).

 

            Rabbi Yose's position, that Binyamin merited the Shekhina resting in his portion because he had been unjustly suspected of stealing with respect to Yosef's cup, is quite interesting.[8]

 

4)         Yalkut Shimoni (I Shmuel, sec. 126) discusses the guarantee that Yehuda gave for Binyamin in the context of the battle between David and Golyat:

 

"And take a token (arubatam) from them" (I Shmuel 17:18) – their surety. Rabbi Yuda the son of Rabbi Simon said: That tribe was accustomed to serve as surety for others. As it is stated: "I will be surety for him" (Bereishit 43:9). Yishai said to his son David: Now is the time for you to go and fulfill the surety of your ancestor Yehuda, who was surety for Binyamin for his father. As it is stated: "I will be surety for him." Go and remove him from his surety. What did David do? He went and fulfilled the guarantee and killed Golyat. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him: By your life, just as you risked your life in place of Shaul, who is of the tribe of Binyamin, as your ancestor Yehuda did, as it is stated: "Let your servant remain instead of the lad" (ibid. 44:33), so too will I place the Temple in the portion of Yehuda and Binyamin. What is more, all of the tribes will go into exile, but the tribes of Yehuda and Binyamin will not go into exile with them. Why? For these two tribes believed in Me and sanctified My name at the sea. As it is stated: "There is Binyamin, the youngest, ruling them [read as: going into the sea], the princes of Yehuda, their council" (Tehillim 68:28).

 

            According to this midrash, it was because of Yehuda's guarantee for Binyamin that the two tribes merited the resting of the Shekhina in the Temple, which stood in their portion. And similarly, it was by way of the guarantee, together with their dedication to go down first into the Red Sea, that they merited not going into exile together with the other tribes. The connection between the surety and the building of the Mikdash is clear: it is related to the unity and mutual concern of the tribes one for the other.[9]

 

It should be emphasized that the position of the midrash that the Mikdash was built in the portions of Yehuda and Binyamin accords with the view of Chazal in other places that in the area of Mount Moriya a strip protrudes from the portion of Yehuda into the portion of Binyamin, and that the mountain was divided between the two tribes.[10]

 

5)         Esther Rabba (sec. 7):

 

What did Mordechai say to those who said to him, Why do you violate the king's command? Rabbi Levi said: Mordechai said to them: Our master Moshe admonished us in the Torah: "Cursed be the man that makes any carved or molten idol" (Devarim 27:15), and this wicked man makes himself into an idol. And the prophet Yeshayahu admonished us: "Cease from man, though his breath be in his nostrils; for in what is he to be accounted for" (Yeshayahu 2:22). And what is more, I am the knight of the Holy One, blessed be He, for all of the tribes were born outside the Land and my ancestor was born in Eretz Yisrael. They said to him: We will tell him. Immediately, "They told Haman, etc." (Esther 3:4). Haman said to them: Tell him that his ancestor bowed down to my ancestor. This is what is written: "Then the maidservants came near… and after came Yosef near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves" (Bereishit 33:6). They raised an objection: Binyamin had not yet been born! They said to him: This is what is written: "They told Haman."

 

            It follows from the midrash that Mordechai gloried in the fact that Binyamin had not bowed down to Esav. The reason for this fact, however, is quite simple - Binyamin had not yet been born at the time - but Mordechai nevertheless brings this as justification for his own conduct.[11]

 

Summary: We have brought the main explanations found in the various midrashim for the Shekhina's resting in the portion of Binyamin. We can divide up the explanations into two groups. One group of explanations consists of Binyamin's character traits and of actions taken by Binyamin himself: modesty, honoring parents, mutual guarantees, and total dedication. On the other hand, there are a series of explanations that are not direct consequences of Binyamin's efforts: his birth in Israel, his absence from the sale of Yosef, the fact that he had been unjustly suspected of stealing, the fact that he had not bowed down to Esav (because he had not yet been born!).

 

The explanations belonging to the second group refer to things regarding which Binyamin did nothing, but he nevertheless merited because of them that the Shekhina would rest in his territory. Perhaps we can say that God granted him these things, this itself being a revelation of the Shekhina. Binyamin merited the resting of the Shekhina not because of things that depended on his efforts and because of actions in which he was involved, but because of occurrences concerning which he exerted no effort, and because of his absence from certain events.

 

BINYAMIN AS UNIFIER AND JOINER

 

            Now that we have examined the words of Chazal, I wish to propose another understanding, but we must first survey several important points regarding Binyamin's person and essence.

 

            Binyamin is the youngest of the brothers, and with his birth the unit of twelve tribes, which together constitute the people of Israel, was completed.

 

            One of the most important events in clarifying the role of Binyamin is his appearance with his brothers before Yosef in Egypt.[12] Following the discovery of the cup in Binyamin's sack, Yosef wishes to take Binyamin as a slave, but Yehuda, in the wake of the guarantee that he had given his father regarding Binyamin (Bereishit 43:9, "I will be surety for him; of my hand shall you require him"), beseeches him: "Now, therefore, I pray you, let your servant remain instead of the lad a slave to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brothers" (ibid. 44:33). This surety of Yehuda for Binyamin is the surety referred to in the midrash cited above (Yalkut Shimoni I Shmuel 126), and by virtue of it the Temple was built in the portions of Yehuda and Binyamin.[13] In any event, Binyamin's arrival and the discussion between Yosef and Yehuda led, in the end, to the reunification of the family.

 

            Here too, Binyamin plays no active role, and the discussion is conducted between Yosef and Yehuda. This situation perfectly matches the location of Binyamin's territory in Eretz Yisrael, a territory that joins together the two most important forces in the nation: Yosef (Efrayim) to the north and Yehuda to the south.[14]

 

            In light of this, let us go back once again to the relative lowness of Binyamin's tribal territory, situated between two territories of a higher altitude: the territory of Yehuda in the south and the territory of Efrayim in the north. I wish to argue that this topographical reality alludes to a spiritual reality. As might be recalled, the midrash that was brought from the Sifrei (Devarim, sec. 352) characterizes Binyamin as humble. This quality expresses itself, according to our approach, in the lowness of Binyamin's territory relative to the neighboring territories (and this is also the reason that Jerusalem is lower than the rest of the territory of Binyamin). In order to join and unite the two neighbors – the two central forces in the nation – modesty and humility are required; only a modest person, who holds little of himself, can join together two such different and opposite forces.

 

            This understanding of Binyamin's role as a unifier is emphasized in various sources. The Zohar (Bereishit 158b) states:

 

When Binyamin was born, the Shekhina became connected to all the tribes.

 

            Rabbenu Bachye, in his explanation of Yaakov's blessing to Binyamin (Bereishit 49:27), writes in a kabbalistic vein:

 

"Binyamin is a ravenous wolf" – Binyamin embraces two qualities which embrace the entire structure… and so too the Shekhina which rests in his portion embraces all. And he likened him to a ravenous wolf who eats of the daily offering brought in the morning and of the daily offering brought in the evening. And since he embraces the ten, he sired sons in their number and corresponding to them. This is the meaning of "he shall divide the spoil"… And this is the Shekhina. And based on this, Onkelos translated: "The Shekhina shall dwell in his land." Understand this… And Benyamin who embraced all the qualities – his stone was yashpeh, which is comprised of many colors.

 

            That is to say: Binyamin is unique in that he embraces all the qualities of all the tribes.

 

            In a letter to his teacher, Rav Yeshaya Bassan, in which he clarifies the special roles of Yosef and Yehuda in the establishment of the kingdom of Israel, the Ramchal relates to another faculty that is needed to unify them into a single tree:

 

And now I will explain who joins them, for it is Binyamin who joins them, and therefore he took the first kingship so that the two would be joined together. However, because Shaul himself did not engage in proper repair, the matter was put off to the end of days, and the repair will be at the time of the redemption, "And they shall become one in your hand" (Yechezkel 37:17).[15]

 

            In this context, it is interesting to note that the first king was from the tribe of Binyamin. The Rambam in Hilkhot Melakhim writes regarding the king that "his heart is the heart of the entire congregation of Israel" (Hilkhot Melakhim 3:6). The essence of the kingdom is unity, and therefore it can be proposed, building on the words of the Ramchal, that for this reason it was appropriate for the kingdom to appear first in the unifying tribe. According to the Ramchal, the objective of Binyamin's assumption of the kingdom was to join Yosef to Yehuda.

 

            If so, it seems that we can propose as follows: From the perspective of the natural connection, Binyamin as the son of Rachel is clearly closer to Yosef, who expresses the natural and material dimension of the world. From the perspective of his selection, however, it seems that Binyamin is closer to Yehuda, who expresses the spiritual dimension of the world, the dimension of kingship and rule. The resting of the Shekhina is essentially a joining of heaven and earth, a joining of the mundane dimension of the world and its more noble spiritual dimension. Binyamin as the unifying tribe joins heaven and earth, and thus advances the resting of the Shekhina in Israel.

 

            In a certain sense, the kingdom of Shaul, from Binyamin, was an internal attempt on the part of the tribe of Binyamin to combine these two dimensions. In Yonatan's words to David, "You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you" (I Shmuel 23:17); there is an attempt to join the sons of Rachel to the sons of Leah, the king from Yehuda, and the vice-king from Binyamin. It is possible that this proposal was an ideal model that combined and united in the proper proportions the different forces that are needed to build a perfect Israel.

 

            Binyamin, then, joins together the two leading forces in the nation – Yosef and Yehuda. It does this first by way of its territory, which is situated between Efrayim to its north and Yehuda to its south, and second, by way of the kingship of Shaul between the leadership of Yehoshua (Efrayim) and the kingdom of the tribe of Yehuda (David). In a certain sense, the kingdom of Binyamin makes possible the transition from the house of Yosef to the house of David.

 

II.         WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TERRITORY OF THE SHEKHINA

 

            One last point that must be clarified is the significance of the assertion that the territory of Binyamin is the territory of the Shekhina. This is the way that Rav Yoel Bin Nun explains the phenomenon that we saw in this and in the previous lectures: [16]

 

                      · The tribal territory of Binyamin is a central and inner territory, surrounded and well-protected by the tribes who stood at the head of the four banners in the wilderness, and it shares no borders with any of Israel's external enemies. Building the Temple in such a territory stands in opposition to the idolatrous idea of border temples that mark out the territory of the ruling God, the ruler of that territory.

 

                      · The area of the Mikdash is an internal, priestly area, set apart from the kingdom and its wars. The borders of the Mikdash are borders of peace, as opposed to the borders of the Land, which result from war. This is one of the many expressions of the connection between the Temple and peace. In this context, mention should also be made of the prohibition to lift a sword over the stones of the altar and to hew them; of the timing of the building of the Temple – after rest from the enemies is achieved and after Amalek is wiped out (see Sanhedrin 20b); and of the service of the tribe of Levi, which does not fight, does not receive territory, and does not share in the spoil.

 

                      · The Mikdash's character as a Temple of peace and its internal location unconnected to borders mean that the Mikdash's influence is not limited by any borders, and that its sanctity impacts on the entire world. Borders only find expression with respect to the increase of sanctity – and the additional mitzvot that this obligates (e.g., mitzvot that depend on the Land of Israel - as one draws closer to the site of the Mikdash.

 

(Translated by David Strauss)



[1] It should be noted that the verses themselves give no indication that Binyamin was aware that the brothers had sold Yosef, and it is certainly possible that the brothers concealed this from him as well. Nevertheless, the midrash in Esther Rabbah cited below understands that Binyamin did, indeed, know about the sale of Yosef, but remained silent.

[2] Attention should, of course, be paid to Binyamin's age at the time. The older he was, the less understandable is his silence (it may be assumed that he was at least thirty years old and that he already had ten children at the time, as is brought by Rashi in his commentary to Bereishit 43:30).

[3] R. Shlomo Gutel deals with this issue in his article, "Minyan Benei Binyamin Ve-Achdut Yisrael," Ha-Ma'ayan (Tamuz, 5760), pp. 7-18. Our comments on the significance of Binyamin and Levi's small numbers are taken from this article.

[4] The territory of Binyamin is not listed as a separate sanctity because the mishna only lists those circles of sanctity that have halakhic significance.

[5] Chazal expand on the virtues of living in Eretz Yisrael: "Anyone who lives in Eretz Yisrael is like one who has a God; and anyone who lives outside the Land is like one who has no God" (Ketubot 110b); "Happy are those who reside in Eretz Yisrael, for they have no sins or iniquities, neither in their lifetimes nor in their deaths…" (Midrash Tehillim, 85). Our understanding, however, is based on the plain sense of Scripture.

[6] In Bereishit Rabba (99, 1), Rabbi Akiva offers a similar explanation for the building of the Temple in the portion of Binyamin on the verse, "Why do you look askance, O high peaked (gavnunim) hill" (Tehillim 68:17): "When Shlomo said to build the Temple, the tribes ran around arguing among themselves, this one saying, It will be built in my territory, and that one saying, It will be built in my territory. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to them: Tribes, why do you look askance? You are all tribes, you are all righteous, but you are 'gavnunim.' What is 'gavnunim'? Thieves (ganavim) – you were all partners in the sale of Yosef. But Binyamin, who did not participate in the sale of Yosef – 'at the mountain which God has desired for His abode' (Tehillim 68:17). And so, too, you find that four hundred and seventy year in advance, the sons of Korach prophesy about it that in the future it would be built in the portion of Binyamin. This is what is written: 'My soul longs, indeed, it faints' (Tehillim 84:3); and similarly it is stated: 'Lo we heard of it at Efrat' (Tehillim 132:6). Rabbi Yehuda says: The Temple was built in the portion of Yehuda, as it is written: 'The son of that Efrati of Beth-Lechem Yehuda' (I Shmuel 17:12). Rabbi Shimon says: In that of the one who died in Efrata. Who died in Efrata? Rachel. You might say in the portion of Yosef, who is one of her sons. Therefore, it says: 'We found it in Sedeh-Ya'ar' (Tehillim 132:6) – in the portion of the one who was likened to a beast of the forest (ya'ar). Who was likened to a beast of the forest? As it is written: 'Binyamin is a ravenous wolf' (Bereishit 49:27)."

[7] In this context, mention should be made of the Sifrei on the verse, "There you shall seek Him, at His dwelling, and there you shall come" (Devarim 12:5): "You might say that you should wait until you are told by a prophet. Therefore, the verse states: 'There you shall seek Him, at His dwelling, and there you shall come' – seek and find, and afterwards the prophet will tell you" (Sifrei Devarim, Parashat Re'eh¸ sec. 62).

[8] This assertion requires clarification: Why does the mistaken suspicion grant Binyamin that the Shekhina should rest in his portion? It must be that such suspicions testify to the uprightness of the suspected party, but the matter requires more precise formulation.

[9] Unity as a critical factor for the building and maintenance of the Temple was discussed in lecture no. 4.

[10] The details and significance of this division will be discussed in the lecture dealing with the border between Yehuda and Binyamin.

[11] Parallel to this, the Midrash Ha-Gadol (on Bereishit 33:3) says about the seven times that Yaakov bowed down to Esav: "Corresponding to them seven things were taken away from him, namely: the Tent of Meeting, Gilgal, Shilo, Nov, Giv'on, the first Temple and the second Temple." That is to say, for each prostration, one sanctuary was destroyed. What this means is that bowing down to a human being involves a certain dimension of idol worship – or at the very least recognition of the lordship of another person – something that constitutes a frontal contradiction to the recognition of the kingdom of God, and thus to the existence of the Mikdash. In light of this, we can understand why the fact that Binyamin did not bow down to Esav earned him the resting of the Shekhina in his portion, for he was subject to God alone, and to no other force.

[12] Yosef's objective is clear: to clarify whether the brothers had mended their ways regarding their attitude to Rachel's second son. It was for this purpose, among other things, that Yosef's cup was put in Benyamin's sack.

[13] The continuation of this surety finds expression in Binyamin's siding with Yehuda when the kingdom is split, as opposed to the other option of joining with the descendants of Rachel, Efrayim and Menashe.

[14] The Maharal of Prague, in his Gevurot Ha-Shem, explains that the Shekhina rested in the last tribe "because all last things involve completion, and therefore it was proper that the Shekhina should rest in the portion of the tribe which completes the tribes… For the Mikdash stood at the end of the tribal territory of Binyamin and at the beginning of that of Yehuda, and the end was connected to the beginning, for the beginning of the tribes is Yehuda, who is first in all places, and Binyamin is the last. And every completion is at the end, and therefore that is where the Shekhina was."

[15] I thank Rav Chanan Porat for referring me to this source.

[16]  Harav Yoel Bin Nun., "Nachalat Binyamin Nachalat Shekhina"' in the collection": Before Efrayim, Binyamin and Menasheh, Midreshet Binyamin, Bet Sefer Sadeh Ofra, pp. 25-46.