The Temple, Idolatry and Exile | “The Place The Lord will Choose”

By Yonah Bar Maoz

“The Temple, Idolatry, and Exile | “The Place The Lord will Choose“. Parashat Va-Yelekh mentions for the last time the demand to come to the Lord’s Sanctuary. This location is defined in Deuteronomy as “the place the Lord will choose” (Deut. 31:11), a definition that appears twenty-one times in this book. This multiplicity of references is similar to the continual and varied repetition of the prohibition against idolatry. Indeed, having a unique site for the Sanctuary is part of the struggle against paganism, and first appears along with the command to destroy the sites of pagan ritual: You must destroy all the sites at which the nations you are to dispossess worshipped their gods…obliterating their name from that site. Do not worship the Lord your G-d in like manner, but look only to the site that the Lord your G-d will choose amidst all your tribes as His habitation, to establish His name there. There you are to go (Deut. 12:2-5).

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