The Ayutthaya Kingdom, a Siamese kingdom that existed from 1350 to 1767 centered on the city of Ayutthaya, the precursor of modern Thailand. Some historians speculate that armies from that kingdom sacked and destroyed the ancient city, about the size of modern day London, of Angkor Cambodia. The construction of grand stone Temples and the complexity of this extinct Cambodian civilization surpasses or rivals any known civilization attributed to human achievement till perhaps the modern era. Yet like the Mayan ruins, the forest consumed this once prosperous, yet abandoned empire.
On the 9th of Av, we Yidden, likewise mourn the destruction of our extinct grand stone Temples. The din of g’lut, exemplifies the Torah vision of בראשית and the exile of Adam from Eden. What did king David command his son Shlomo to build? The last commandment which Moshe strove to obey before he passed from this world, to establish 3 of the 6 cities of refuge. What determines the urgency of this commandment? The Torah Constitution stands upon the יסוד of justice, not grand stone buildings of architectural design and skill. King Shlomo like so many others preferred short term grandeur over long term shalom.
Perhaps this key decision best defines the meaning of avoda zara. The first priority of government leadership, to prevent the outbreak of Civil War among ones’ people. As the preservation of life has priority over observance of all mitzvot, so too and how much more so – justice defines the meaning and purpose of keeping all the commandments לשמה. Herein defines the revelation of the Torah at Sinai – reduced to a simple sentence.
The mitzva of מחילה incumbent upon our people as a Torah obligation in matters of justice. This learns from the repetition of וירא as found in בראשית יח:א,ב. A good eye plays a tremendous psychological function required for healing wounds and damages. The family of Lot, lacked this essential good eye. Hence Moshe excluded the family of Lot from any portion of the brit Cohen people.
This most essential ‘good eye’ separates, distinguishes, and defines the commandment of David which obligated Shlomo to build the Temple. Had Shlomo consulted with the prophet Natan, he would have understood the wisdom to establish the Federal Sanhedrin Courts system as the k’vanna of the Davidic commandment to build the Temple. But alas, neither Shlomo nor his heir Rehav’am, who in turn succeeded Shlomo, (and journeyed to Sh’Cem to receive the Moshiach anointing to sanctify his rule), neither of these men exercised the ‘good eye’ of obeying the council given by the tohor elders servants of the previous kingdom.