28 March 2016

Fascinating Factual Information About Har Habayit – Part Three

Part Three

Engraving on Western Wall

On the western wall of the Holy Temple Mount, we can still see until today what one of these Jewish pilgrims engraved (after the destruction of the Second Holy Temple) from the prophecy of the prophet Isaiah found in the chapters on consolation: “And when you see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like young grass...” (Isaiah 66:14a). These words were taken from the prophecy of Isaiah that speaks about the rebuilding of the Holy Temple which will indicate the redemption of Israel, Jerusalem and the Holy Land given by G-D to His people Israel. It is not an accident that this Jewish traveler engraved these words on the wall of the Holy Temple Mount. He knew clearly, like everyone did, that this is the location of the First and Second Holy Temples and the location of the Third Holy Temple soon to be built. This is one of the most exciting archaeological discoveries that has been identified on the Holy Temple Mount.

Noach

When the righteous man Noah built an altar for G-D after the flood and he sacrificed on the altar in honor of G-D, it was on the location of Mount Moriah, next to the 'foundation rock'. Later when the Holy Temple was built, the altar of the Temple was built on the location of the altar of Noah. This is also the place where G-D made for the first time a covenant with His creation through His Words to righteous Noah. It appears in Genesis 8:20 and 9:8-17.

Avraham Avinu

Later G-D sent Abraham to Mount Moriah, which is the same location as the 'foundation rock' on the top of the mountain which is the Holy Temple Mount, where Abraham bound and nearly sacrificed his son, Isaac, the son whom he loved (Genesis 22:1-18).

Yaakov Avinu

The 'foundation rock' on the Holy Temple Mount is the place where Jacob had his godly dream when he saw angels ascending and descending on a ladder from heaven to earth. When Jacob awakened and saw this place on the peak of Mount Moriah, later to become the location of the Holy Temple Mount, he said that this is the gate of heaven from where the angels went up and down and he called the place the 'House of G-D' ('Beit El' in Hebrew). Jacob anointed the place to become the location of the House of G-D, the Holy Temple. Let us allow Jacob to share with us his words: “And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! This is no other than the house of G-D, and this is the gate of heaven....and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be G-D's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth to thee” Genesis 28:17, 22. This place was the 'foundation rock' that still exists until today and is also the same 'foundation rock' that will be located inside the Holy of Holies of the soon to be built Third Holy Temple.

A very ancient tradition shares with us that as long as the Holy Temple existed, this gate from heaven that Jacob saw from this holy ground (later called the Holy Temple Mount) was 'open' and through it G-D shared His Word and His Shekina (Divine Presence) with His chosen people Israel. This gate was closed after the destruction of the Holy Temples. The historical message was that this gate will again be opened when the Holy Temple is rebuilt.

King Shlomo

[...] The location of the 'foundation rock' on the top of Mount Moriah was shown to King David to be the location of the Holy Temple that would later be built by his son, Solomon. Indeed, King Solomon built the First Holy Temple, approximately 3,000 years ago, exactly on the same location and the holy 'foundation rock' was located in the midst of the Holy of Holies. G-D appointed this place to be the location of His Holy Temple forever and it can never be changed or moved not even one inch from this place to another.

The First Holy Har Habayit

The First Holy Temple, as was the Second Holy Temple, were the destination for pilgrimages of the children of Israel who are called by G-D to come to the Holy Temple three times a year during the three festivals of Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot (Passover, Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles). In Hebrew, the word 'pilgrimage' is called “a'alot l'regal” which means 'to walk up with your legs' to the Holy Temple of G-D. This walk started from the City of David and continued along the ascending slope up to the top of the mountain, where the Holy Temple Mount is located until today, in order to worship with love and joy the G-D of Israel.

The Second Holy Har Habayit

The Second Holy Temple that was built in the year 516 BCE was constructed according to biblical law exactly on the same location as the First Holy Temple on the Holy Temple Mount, whose location was very well-known to the Jewish people. Some of the ruins of the First Holy Temple still remained on the 'foundation rock' on the peak of the Holy Temple Mount, which is the top of the slope of the mountain where the City of David is located. Jewish people continued to make pilgrimages to the Second Holy Temple exactly as they had done to the First Holy Temple.

King Herod

The size of the area of the Holy Temple Mount of both the First and the Second Holy Temples was a square of five hundred cubits length. During the Second Temple period, the numbers of Jewish pilgrims coming to the Holy Temple Mount became so great that the area of the Holy Temple Mount itself was not large enough to include all of the pilgrims. King Herod, who was the greatest among the ancient builders in the Land of Israel, enlarged the surface area of the Holy Temple Mount to the south and to the north so that in the midst of it was located the Holy Temple, and this allowed a half-million pilgrims to ascend onto the Holy Temple Mount. On both the southern and northern areas of the Holy Temple Mount, Herod extended the platform length. The southern extension was constructed with vaults and with the addition of new walls that still exist today.

The Hulda Gate

On the new southern wall, Herod built additional gates from where the pilgrims who ascended from the City of David could enter. These gates exist until today and are known as the double gate at the western side of the southern wall and the triple gates toward the eastern side of the southern wall. The double gate was called the Hulda Gate, named after the First Temple period prophetess Hulda, who was very much appreciated and admired by the people of Israel. From the double gate, the pilgrims who ascended from the sloped City of David, entered onto the Holy Temple Mount from one gate and exited from the other gate. In this way, the pilgrims who entered unto the Holy Temple Mount could meet on their way those who were descending from the Holy Temple Mount and they could take time to bless and congratulate those who had marriages in their families and also to comfort those who experienced death in their families.

1 comment:

Hayim Regensberg said...

The second Bais HaMikdash was completed in the year 352 BCE, not 516 BCE.

The first Bais HaMikdash completed in the year 832 BCE, stood for 410 years and destroyed in the year 422 BCE. After 70 years of Galus, the 2nd Bais HaMikdash was built in 352 BCE, and stood for 420 years....destroyed in the year 68 CE.

May it be built SPEEDILY and in OUR days NOW.