What is the Significance of “Mizmor Shir Chanukas Ha’bayis

Dear Rabanit Cohen,
I bumped into your website, and was very inspired by your wise and sound words! Every day we recite (in the Nusach Ashkenaz) before the tefilah of “Hodu,” the words of Tehilim, “Mizmor Shir Chanukas Ha’bayis.” I was wondering what significance that has. ?

Lewis Freund, Brooklyn, NY


Dear Friend,

Thank you so much for taking the time to log onto this inspirational site and for asking such a wonderful question. I will do my best to answer and will add that I double checked with Rav Pinchas Friedman (shlit”a) in Eretz Yisrael to make sure I am offering the appropriate response. Of course, there are many more answers but this is the most popular among the Rabbis.

Rashi Ha’kadosh (a”h) states that this particular mizmor was composed by David Ha’melech (a”h) towards the end of his life in hopes that it would be sung in honor of the Chanukat Ha’bayit – at the inauguration of the Holy Bet Mikdash that was destined to be built by his son, Shelomoh.

The Rabbis added the Mizmor shir Chanukat Ha’bayit Le’David to our formal Sidur to be recited upon the completion of the Korbanot section of tefilot where we request Hashem to rebuild the Bet Ha’mikdash.

The Midrash states:
(במדבר רבה יב ט):
אין הקב”ה מקפח שכר בריה. בכל מקום שאדם יגע ונותן נפשו על הדבר, אין הקב”ה מקפח שכרו. רצונך לידע, שלמה בנה בית המקדש שנאמר (מלכים א ו) ויבן שלמה את הבית ויכלהו, ובשביל שנתן דוד נפשו על בית המקדש שנבנה, שנאמר (תהלים קלב) זכור ה’ לדוד את כל ענותו וגו’, אם אבוא באהל ביתי וגו’, אם אתן שנת לעיני וגו’, עד אמצא מקום לה’ וגו’, ולא קיפח הקב”ה שכרו אלא הכתיבו על שמו (שם ל) מזמור שיר חנכת הבית לדוד, לשלמה אין כתיב כאן אלא לדוד, הוי נוצר תאנה יאכל פריה.

The summary of this paragraph is that Hashem rewards the intentions of a person when he sets out to do something, build something. In our case, the son of David Ha’melech, Shelomo (a”h) built the Bet Hamikdash. Although Shelomoh built the Bet Ha’mikdash, because David yearned so much to see it built and he even composed a song in its honor, he was given the credit as though he actually did actually inaugurate the Bet Ha’mikdash. Hence, “Mizmor shir Chanukat Ha’bayit le’David.”

We learn from here the importance of good and holy intentions. Therefore, when we daven (pray) three times a day, those prayers are symbolic of the three Temples (two that were previously built and the one that will be built in the future B’ezrat Hashem).

כנגד קרבן תמיד של של שחרית ושל בין הערבים

By praying three times a day we are expressing our desire to one day offer the sacrifices again in the future Bet Ha’mikdash. Therefore, we begin with

“מזמור שיר חנוכת הבית לדוד”

Therefore, although David Ha’melech did NOT build the Bet Ha’mikdash but because he gave his heart and soul to build it, the inauguration song is called in his name. The same holds true for us. We are asking the Ribono Shel Olam to consider our davening as though we wish to build the future Bet Mikdash.

This is the reason why in our davening we mention the following words quite a number of times:

“יהי רצון מלפניך ה’ אלקינו ואלקי אבותינו שיבנה בית המקדש במהרה בימינו”

This is something the Ramban (a”h) discusses. He asks: Why is the Bet Ha’mikdash associated with David (Mizmor Shir Chanukat Ha’bayit le’David), even though it is Shelomo his son who actually built it?

Chachamim explain that because David completely dedicated his life to its construction and he yearned to see it built, his pure intentions were taken into consideration by Hashem and it was deemed in Hashem’s eyes as though David, dedicated the Bet Ha’mikdash.

The same is true with regards to Moshe Rabeinu (a”h). The Torah quite often is referred to as, “Torat Moshe” although it is Hashem’s Torah. Why? Because Moshe Rabeinu was fully committed to and sacrificed most of his life to the teachings of Torah.

The Gemara of Sanhedrin states that when Shelomoh wished to inaugurate the Bet Ha’mikdash, the gates refused to open and allow him inside. Shelomoh appealed to Hashem saying, “Hashem Elokim, al tashev pnei meshichecha, zachrah le’chasdei David avdecha – Hashem, do not turn away Your anointed one, remember the kindness of David Your servant.”

After this appeal the gates opened.