"Here I am sending an angel ahead of you." (Ex. 23:20)

Israel could be expected to say to G‑d that it cannot understand the reason for the three pilgrimages to Jerusalem and why the first ripe fruit has to be brought to Jerusalem.

Why this insistence on Jerusalem…?

Since G‑d owns the whole earth, is present everywhere, and can be found by those who seek him anywhere, why this insistence on Jerusalem, as if there were no other place G‑d could be found and worshipped? Would this not create the impression that G‑d's effectiveness is limited to a certain place?

The Torah addresses itself to this query in the above passage. "Here", i.e. "here [specifically] I am sending an angel. My name is within him, i.e. I am everywhere. Nevertheless, Mount Moriah, the site that Jerusalem will be built upon, the site of the Temple, will be holier than any other place on earth. As long as you are not yet in the Land of Israel, it is below My dignity to personally guide you. Hence an angel will have to do. His whole purpose will be to bring you to the place which I have prepared."

This of course reinforces the question, seeing that up until now G‑d had personally been guiding Israel: What had changed? If nothing had changed, would that not reinforce the perception that the Shechinah is at Mount Sinai and not at Mount Moriah? Therefore, G‑d says that the site at Mount Moriah had been prepared by Him as a permanent residence, with a constant presence of the Shechinah. At other sites, however, G‑d's presence had only been of a temporary character, so to speak.

…Mount Moriah had been prepared… with a constant presence of the Shechinah

Mount Moriah is the true gateway to heaven, as Jacob had named it. The situation may be compared to that of body and soul. There is no doubt that the soul fills the entire body. No single limb or organ is devoid of that life-force. Man would be unable to move a muscle if that muscle were devoid of that life-force, known as the Nefesh.

Similarly, Mount Moriah has been designated to serve as the principal outlet for the Shechinah.

[Translation and commentary by Eliyahu Munk.]