In the days before the temple was built, two brothers, Shimon and Levi, inherited a large field from their parents. This field was on Mount Moriah, in the heart of the Promised Land. Instead of dividing the land into separate fields, however, the two brothers decided to work the field together. Every morning they got up early and worked the days together. At harvest time, they would cut the wheat, bind it into sheaves, and divide it equally into piles. Then each brother would carry his pile into his own storehouse.
One year, after harvesting all day in the sun, the brothers decided to sleep beside their piles of sheaves instead of carrying them to their storehouses.
But late that night Shimon could not sleep. He kept thinking of his brother Levi. “It isn’t fair that the harvest is divided equally between us. Levi has a family to support, but I am alone… Why should I take so much? It is better that he receive a bigger portion.” So Shimon got up, gathered up as many sheaves he could from his pile, and surreptitiously placed them on his brother’s stack. He then went back to his own pile of sheaves and slept sweetly.
Awhile later, Levi awoke from a dream. In his dream, he saw his brother Shimon as an old and sick man. He thought, “It isn’t fair that the harvest is divided equally. Shimon is all alone. He has no wife or children to care for him when he gets old. He will need more grain to help him prepare for his future. It is better that he receive a bigger portion.” So Levi got up, gathered up as many sheaves he could from his pile, and surreptitiously placed them on his brother’s stack. He then went back to his pile of sheaves and slept sweetly.
When daylight came, the two brothers went to load their wagons but amazed to see the same number of sheaves in their piles as before. Perplexed, they quietly finished their work and went home.
But neither brother could sleep that night. Each kept thinking of the needs of the other. Finally, each went to his storehouse, took as many sheaves as he could carry, and began walking quietly to his brother’s house. Suddenly, halfway between their homes, the two brothers saw each other in the moonlight. In an instant, they both understood the other’s heart. Embracing, they gave each other a kiss of brotherly love.
And it was on that spot, atop Mount Moriah, that God chose the site for His Holy Temple.