From Calling in Truth (#135) by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
The Torah says “Vhaya machanecha kadosh — Your camp should be holy.” Hakadosh Baruch Hu shouldn’t see anything unsightly, because if he does, “Vshav meiacharecha — He’ll depart from you. So we learn from this, something in addition to what we always thought, that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is close to people who are saintly.
He frequents only places where he is honored. If the camp is not a dignified place, and if there are spots here and there where refuse is dropped, and flies gather, so the camp is not considered worthy of the presence of Hakadosh Baruch Hu, and the Shechinah departs. We see the Shechinah (Divine Presence) requires not only virtue, but also respect. If there's lack of respect, then the Shechinah will not come. Now the Torah says: what will happen if the Shechinah goes away?
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“Pen yireih bicha ervas davar -- If the Shechinah sees something unsightly among you, “vshav meiacharecha -- It’ll turn back from you.” And he explains: because your safety, your victory in battle depends on that.
“Ki hashem elokecha mishaleich bikerev machanecha -- Because Hashem is walking amidst your camp — lihatzilcha meioivecha -- to rescue you from your enemies.” But if he sees something unsightly in the camp — something undignified; it doesn't mean he sees anything wicked, but there's something that’s not clean — it’s not respectful to the Shechinah. That’s sufficient reason that “vshav meiacharecha -- the Shechinah will depart,” and Hakadosh Baruch Hu will not aid you in battle. It’s worth thinking about that: There must be respect, if you want the Shechinah to be with you.
Just as it’s considered disrespectful that the place of the Shechinah shouldn’t be clean, certainly it’s disrespectful if there are bad manners. Imagine a synagogue, where a man comes in and he yawns aloud. Or he raises up his arms and stretches. That’s very bad manners. It’s done always; that’s why the Shechinah is absent.
The Shechinah requires not only virtue, but also respect
The Shechinah is only in a place where people don’t kibitz, where they don’t joke around, and where they stand with derech eretz (basic respect). In a synagogue or a beis hamedrash of a yeshiva you must demonstrate that you want the Shechinah to come. If you're going to stand around, even in the back, and joke around, and talk in a loud voice — laughing aloud makes the Shechinah depart. There must be respect.
It’s a kal vchomer: here’s a soldier; he's not doing anything disrespectful. He can’t deny his natural urges. So he goes out someplace, and he performs his needs. But he didn’t cover up, that’s all. What's the sin in that? But it’s disrespectful and the Shechinah won’t come, and it means the difference between victory or defeat in battle.
In a synagogue, or in a yeshiva, the Shechinah will be absent if there's a lack of respect.