במות

In פרשת ראה, the central place of the Beit Hamikdash is mentioned. This was the only place where sacrifices were permitted to be offered.

Based on this idea, there is a Torah commandment forbidding the building of במות, or temporary altars. From the time that the Mishkan was constructed, the קרבנות had to be offered either there or in the בית המקדש. The Mishkan changed locations when the Jewish people entered Eretz Yisrael. It was first in a place called Gilgal, which was not far from Jericho. For a time it was housed in Nov and Givon and finally in שילה, for 369 years.

There was a brief period, when the Mishkan was not available for sacrifices. During this period, there was היתר במות, permission to construct personal altars. The sacrifices called קדשים קלים, or lighter sacrifices such as תודה and שלמים, thanksgiving and free will offerings.

Through our Parsha, we learn how important the בית המקדש was in Jewish life. This realization and longing on our parts, will help us see the rebuilding of the third Temple. May it come speedily in our days.