So, the story goes that bnei yisrael are taken out of Egypt, and are then chased by the Egyptians, and escape through the sea, leaving the Egyptians to drown...and we live happily ever after (well at least until amalek come). This was the climax of yetzias mitzrayim; when it says 'they believed in HaShem and Moshe His servant' ie they reached a new level of emunah which was not created by the 10 plagues. And each of them saw a propehcy greater than yechezkal. The question is simply how could bnei yisrael have ever sinned after that ; and we know they did sin eg the manna, complaining, etc. How could one have sinned after such a clear revelation of Divine providence?

The key is in a line Bnei Yisrael said in the shirah after they crossed the yam suf; 'ze keli veanveihu' - "this is my God and I will glorify Him." (shemos 15;2) The Targum translates this as 'this is my God and I will build Him a mikdash.' Why was it at this point in time that Bnei Yisrael were talking about building a beis hamikdash??

The answer is given based on a Ramban in Mishlei. He says that in order to keep inspiration alive one must make a kli (physical vessel) for it before it flows away, ie to take on something practical to do. Thus, bnei yisrael knew they were expriencing massive miracles and inspiration, but they wanted to make sure that they made it all part of them by making a physical vessel; a project to put their inspiration into - to build a mikdash. But if this was the plan, how could they have sinned later on in the wilderness; surely they successfully internalised this experience?

Well, the gemarra sotah 30b says that the shirah was sung responsively; Moshe said a line and bnei yisrael repeated it. Based on this, I heard it suggested that Moshe put in the line of commitment 'to build a mikdash' to ensure bnei yisrael would not lose this experience, but when the line was repeated by them, this full internalisation was not achieved, and so the inspiration faded over time, allowing for future sins to occur.

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