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.



View Complete List

Forcing the Issue
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5761

Battle and Survival
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5760

Maintaining Balance
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Honoring Parents: Parental Guidance
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

All... Most
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

The Key To Something More
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762

> The Attribute of Being "Alone"
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

Shadowy Existence
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Yosef Recognizes His Brothers
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773


The Lost Jewel
Shlomo Katz - 5765

Chanukah, Chutzpah, and Coming Close to G-d
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Days of Eight
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Hasmoneans Take a Stand: A History of Chanukah, Part II
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5774

Animal House
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

Reuven's Lesson
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5766

Born to Lose
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5767

Project Genesis Home

Torah Portion

Jewish Law



Learn the Basics




Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base


About Us

Contact Us

Free Book on Geulah! Home Copyright Information