Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Tour of the Temply By Rabbi Yoav Elan
Print Version

Email this article to a friend


Class 2: Walls of the Temple Mount

Both the Temple Mount and the courtyards within it were surrounded by tall walls, 40 cubits (60 feet) in height. These walls stood 5 cubits (7 feet) thick at their base and tapered slightly as they rose to give them greater stability. In King Solomon's First Temple the walls were composed of a repeating pattern of three courses of stone followed by one course of wood. In the Second Temple, the Persian king Darius who was the one to grant the Jews permission to rebuild the Temple commanded that the walls mimic that original design but with the following changes: 1) the walls should begin with one course of wood and then three courses of stone, 2) the wood should not be set completely within the walls, and 3) the wood should not be covered with plaster. No mortar was used to hold the massive stones together rather they were carefully fitted to one another and then locked into place with iron braces.


Line of sight from Mount of Olives
to the opening of the Sanctuary
The eastern wall of the Temple Mount was much lower than the others and stood less than 26 cubits (39 feet) high. The reason for this was a Scriptural requirement connected to the Parah Adumah [red heifer, whose ashes have the ability to purify people and objects from corpse-tumah]. The Parah Adumah was prepared on the Mount of Olives, located due east of the Temple, and the Torah writes that while the Kohen is carrying out the preparations he must have a direct line of sight to the opening of the Sanctuary. From his vantage point in the east the Kohen would look over the lower eastern wall of the Temple Mount, through the eastern gate of the Women's Courtyard, and through the Nikanor Gate to the opening of the Sanctuary.

The Temple was not squarely centered within the four walls of the Temple Mount but was offset towards the northwest corner. In the space between the walls of the Temple Mount and the Temple itself were numerous chambers, storehouses, workshops, and offices which were necessary for the day-to-day operation of the Temple.
_______________

For more information on this topic, and to submit questions or comments for the author, please visit the blog post of this class.



 






ARTICLES ON VAYEITZEI AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

It's Good For You
Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden - 5763

I Did Not Know
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

Going the Extra Mile
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

Looking for a Chavrusah?

A Torah Perspective
Shlomo Katz - 5766

Tower of Strength
Shlomo Katz - 5769

Fourteen Sleepless Years
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Torah Education
Rabbi Wein - 5768

To Achieve Your Goals and not Cause Jealousy
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

Days of Eight
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

> Perseverence
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5762

Angel or Demon?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

Performances and Customs
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

ArtScroll

The World of Learning
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

A Little Oil Goes a Long Way
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

In All Honesty
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5761

Whew! What a Message!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information