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The New Covenant


Rabbi Chaim Tabasky

28 Av 5764
What does it mean when it says in the scripture of one of the prophets that G-d will make a new covenant, not like the covenant that he made when he led Israel by the hand out of Egypt? If there is a new one referring to the covenant through Moses, what will become of this covenant? And knowing that scripture can’t lie because it came from G-d then what will the new covenant be? And Also in the scripture where it says that how will man make a house for Him for G-d has made all things? Will G-d made his own house? And lastly in the scripture it says that G-d will provide a sacrifice, what sacrifice is it referring and if G-d provides a sacrifice why isn’t the sacrifices stated by the law of the covenant sufficient.
Important questions. 1. Yirmiyahu (Jer. 31:30) refers to a reaffirmation of the covenant. The new covenant refers not to a new content but rather to a new form of expressing it. When G-d took us out of Egypt the covenant was imposed by force, (this may refer to the "force" of the events, or to actual coercion as described in the Midrash) but in the end of days the G-d will place the Torah in our midst and inscribe it in our hearts, and He will be our G-d and we will be his people. (See Jer. 31 verses 30-32) 2. The passage in Shmuel II ch. 7 instructs us that the tabernacle and temple were not constructed as a dwelling place for the Almighty but rather as a meeting place, a place for man to encounter the Divine presence which is manifest in that holy place. We must not think that G-d requires a dwelling, rather it is man who requires a place where Hashem allows him to approach G-d. This is a crucial concept. Though G-d is everywhere, we are generally not on a level to fully appreciate His presence. This requires preparation and concentration. Having a special place helps. The above in no way diminishes the profound sanctity of the place G-d choses to reveal His presence to us. 3. I assume you refer here to the verse before the binding of Isaac. Yitzchak asks his father "where is the lamb for the offering?" Abraham responds that G-d will show us the offering. This is a difficult verse with a multitude of interpretations I will suggest two: A. Ultimately it is G-d who decides what acts of man are required. Though we have commandments to fullfill, it is G-d who makes demands and measures our deeds. B. My son, if G-d wants a lamb, he will provide one, and if he does not, I will sacrifice you. In any case, this verse is written before the Torah was given and the formal rites established. It serves as a remainder the formal sacrifices represent the idea that we must give of ourselves to Hashem.
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