Melachim Alef Perek 6

The Abarbanel asks a question based on the pesukim. After the description of Hashem appearing to Shlomo, the passuk once again describes Shlomo continuing the building of the Beis Hamikdash (Melachim Alef 6:14). The beginning of the building has already been described before Hashem appeared to Shlomo. (Pasuk 1 and 9) Did Hashem appear to him right in the middle of the building? What are we meant to learn from this?

The Abarbanel explains that Hashem appeared to Shlomo during the building the Beis Hamikdash, to make one hundred per cent sure that the project continued with pristine intentions. When one throws himself fully into a project and becomes totally engrossed in it, it can be very difficult to maintain the correct outlook. In the middle of Shlomo’s massive, international (see 5:25) project to build the Beis Hamikdash, Hashem had to remind him that it was Bnei Yisrael`s Avodas Hashem that would ensure its future. Indeed, note that in Parashas Terumah, the general instruction to ‘Make for Me a Mikdash for Me to dwell in you’ was relayed in between the instructions to donate various items, i.e. once the project had started.

Just as one can forget Hashem`s true conditions for the success of a project one is involved in, Rav Chaim Volozhin, in Nefesh Hachaim, states that even in the middle of  a spiritual a project we are liable to forget the reason and context for that project entirely! Despite Rav Chaim being critical of those who spend the entire day learning Sefarim about fear of Heaven etc, without learning Gemara, Halachah etc, (Nefesh Hachaim 4:1), he writes that in the middle of one’s learning, one should stop to rethink about the fear of Heaven, and then continue his learning (Nefesh Hachaim 4:7). One can become so engrossed in his Gemara that he can forget the connection to Hashem that the whole learning process is based on. And Rav Dessler writes that if one is not careful, one can see one’s love of Torah eclipse his love of G-d!