This week’s parsha ends with the עקידה, and Avraham’s dedication of the site:
I want to look at that expression, אשר יאמר היום בהר ה׳ יראה.
I would understand it as a kind of breaking the fourth wall. The narrator is reminding us that they exist in a particular time: today, as I write this, it is said “G-d will be seen on His mountain”. The implication is that at the time of Moshe, they knew that the בית המקדש (המקום אשר יבחר ה׳) would be at the site of the עקדה.
That is certainly what happened; the עקדה was in ארץ המריה and Shlomo builds the בית המקדש on הר המריה. But the idea that the site was known at the time of the writing of the Torah is inconsistent with ספר דברים, as we’ve discussed. And it’s inconsistent with חז״ל's understanding:
And in תנ״ך, until the time of David, no one seems to care much about Jerusalem:
[We will define עד היום הזה more precisely later.]
So I don’t understand Rambam, ואכמ״ל. Sforno makes the implication a little weaker:
Moshe is saying, nowadays we say בהר ה׳ יראה, whereever that might be, and Avraham was saying something similar. It’s still breaking the fourth wall, but it doesn’t mean the בית המקדש has to be in Jerusalem.
The Vilna Gaon has a similar approach, based on an aggadah:
[that paragaph does not appear in the standard (Sefaria) אדרת אליהו. It is from the undated and anonymously edited edition we have in shul, published by Sinai Publishing in the 1950’s or 1960’s, “בהוספות רבות מכתבי יד”.]
So Avraham’s comment, ה׳ יראה, is a prayer that the שכינה would remanifest on earth, and Moshe adds אשר יאמר היום, today, בהר ה׳ יראה, it did manifest on הר סיני, and will continue to manifest in the משכן.
That is nice, but it is getting very far from the פשט. Rashbam takes the entire sentence as Avraham’s words (no fourth-wall breaking):
אשר יאמר היום is the explanation for naming the place ה׳ יראה. We see this formulation frequently in the Torah:
Rashi also takes this as all Avraham’s words.
So the name reflects Avraham’s prayer, that this place become the place for עבודת ה׳ in the future. But אשר יאמר היום doesn’t mean “as is said today”. We are misinterpreting היום:
This is important. Rashi says that throughout תנ״ך,
עד היום הזה doesn’t mean “until today”, referring the the time of the author. It is statement of intent or prayer, meaning “from now on”. It means “until the ‘today’ of the reader”. That’s what the text means when בנימן and יהודה left the יבוסי in Jerusalem עד היום הזה: they walked away with no intention of ever going back to try to conquer it.
Similarly, Moshe’s grave is unknown עד היום הזה. If the Torah was completed by Moshe or by Joshua immediately after his death (as per בבא בתרא טו,א), then “until today” means “for the next 15 minutes or so”. It makes no sense.
But the translation of “no one would know his burial place from then on” fits perfectly.
In the Torah, היום means more than a particular day. Understanding that has halachic implications:
And it determines our relationship to the Torah itself:
Every day is היום, and every day is one in which we pray, בהר ה׳ יֵרָאֶה.