intended to increase the knowledge, interest, and
anticipation of the reader, thereby hastening the realization of our hopes
and prayers for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Beit HaMikdash.
"Opalescent Palace of Peace"
We frequently wonder how exactly Bayit Shlishi, the Third Temple, will be
rebuilt. Our sages are not of one mind as to the chronological sequence. We
recall the famous Rashi in Sukka 41a, "The Mikdash of the future - which we
anticipate built and complete (Banui Um-shuchlal) will be revealed and come
down from heaven."Not surprisingly, the Zohar agrees. "Binyana Dekudsha
Brich Hu" - The Holy One Blessed be He will build the Third Temple (Chelek
3:121,1). One Midrash even says that "Mashiach will stand on the roof of the
Beit HaMikdash and announce 'Humble ones, the time of your redemption has
arrived", i.e., The Beit HaMikdash will be built even before the redemption.
But Rambam rules, "Melech HaMashiach will arise and reestablish the Kingdom
of David as it was in former times. He will build the Beit HaMikdash and
gather in the dispersed of Israel. All the earlier statues will be restored
as they were. Sacrifices will be offered… (Hilchot Melachim11:1). Besides,
as Rambam emphasizes in the beginning of Hilchot Beit HaBechirah, building
the Beit HaMikdash is a great Mitzva. If the Beit HaMikdash descended from
heaven "built and complete", would not the Jewish people be deprived of that
great Mitzva? Over the centuries, many attempts have been made by Rishonim
and Acharonim alike to bridge the gap. Devorah Ahavah Gerszoff of Cherry
Hill, N.J. - who obviously belongs to the same school of thought as Rashi
and the Zohar - sent me an original poem envisioning her conception of
Binyan Bayit Shlishi, the building of the Third Temple. I want to share it
with TT readers.
Picture clouds that, instead of
begin to form a preconceived pattern in the sky.
Opalescent, luminescent mountains of moisture lit by the sun...
See them start to descend to earth, one by one.
As they make their way downward, lower and lower,
they solidify into special stone, gradually, slower and slower.
The Creator-Choreographer does nothing by chance.
This is heaven and earth united in most glorious dance!
These white-clouds-turned-stone, with each taking its place,
are the architect's building blocks for His own special space.
This is final fulfillment, promised and planned!
This is the THIRD TEMPLE - come NOW to take its stand!
G-d does not depend on man. It is the other way around;
Who builds His House on earth, alone, constructs His building on shaky
The only human possession made to last
is trust in G-d and faith that is held unto fast.
G-d gives and gives. The only thing we can give Him
is the light of love and praise that refuses to dim.
As sunlit clouds call our eyes to gaze up and above,
look towards His future House internally lit with supernal love!
Though man has groped in darkness, flirting with chaos, destruction and
there will soon exist a Palace of Peace that will never be destroyed!!
This is a an email (slightly condensed) pertaining to my column “Sermons in
Stone” (TT 654, Mishpatim, Feb. 4-5, '05) which I received from Josh Even-chen,
a guide who works in both the Kotel Tunnels and the Davidson Center.
(1) There seems to be some confusion as to what is east and what is west in
your article. Here are some examples: The main commercial street is located
to the west, not the east of the Kotel HaMa'aravi. The eastern side of the
Kotel is Har Habayit! The remains of Robinson's Arch are to be found both as
an integral part of the southern side of the Herodian western wall, and the
area due west of it. The shops of the street are the western pier of
(2) I’m sure you’re aware of
the partiality of the inscription found on the uppermost corner stone "L'BAYIT
HATEKIAH KAHAV/KOF" Although I too assume that your interpretation is
correct, it is still not the full inscription…
(3) Most archeologists do not
“surmise that Robinson’s arch is a remnant of a bridge…” – this is the
description most would give to the great bridge that ends with Wilson’s
arch. Although Robinson believed he discovered the remains of a bridge, it
was Wilson, 30 years later, who proved… that this was the remains of a great
staircase, or overpass, a theory that has been proven beyond doubt by
excavations carried out since 1967.
(I wrote, “Most archeologists
surmise that Robinson’s Arch is a remnant of a bridge that once led from Har
HaBayit to the adjacent residential areas located on the other side of Kotel
Drive”, my name for the Herodian Street immediately to the west of the Kotel.
I did not intend to give the impression that I was describing a bridge to
the Upper City. That theory, as Josh Even-chen correctly notes, has been
disproved. TT reader Avraham Greenhaus more accurately describes it as “a
mammoth staircase which led up to Har HaBayit” passing over Kotel Drive.
However its lower starting point, as I noted, was adjacent to residential
areas located on the western side of Kotel Drive”, and on the same level.
(4) “…spectacular find: a
Mikveh from the time of the Mikdash” – spectacular, true, just like some 50
other mikvaot uncovered in the area of the southern excavations. In my
humble opinion, the more amazing discovery is the abundance of mikvaot.
(The discovery of more than 50
Mikva’ot in the area of the southern excavations is indeed amazing. The
importance of these Mikva’ot is that they are a monumental demonstration
that Am Yisrael strictly observed the injunction of immersing in a Mikveh
before entering Mikdash grounds (Yoma 3:3). But what impressed me about this
particular Mikveh was the partition on the stairs “because” as the Mishna
says, “the way leading down is not the same as the way leading up.” I “saw”
Shekalim 8:2 right in front of my eyes! C.S.)
(5) There are “two sealed
gates, double and triple in the southern wall” – there is another
lesser-known gate as well – known as the single gate.
(6) The “pool and water conduit built by the Chashmona’im in the Kotel
Tunnels” – not quite. The conduit is Hasmonian. The pool is Herodian, part
of the moat around the Antonia fortress, roofed by Hadrian in the end
(7) Last thing, what you call
“Kotel Drive” - because of the commercial nature of the street adjacent to
the Western Wall, is sometimes called “Wall Street”!
(Excellent. I thank Josh Even-chen for his cogent comments. Mikol Melamdai
Catriel's book in progress: The
Temple of Jerusalem, A Pilgrims Prospective; A Guided Tour through the
Temple and the Divine Service
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