20 Jun 2006

[f., pl., “Bamot”]; an altar made on a high place, for the service of HaShem or the service of idols.

There was a time of “heter habamot,” a time when it was permitted to worship HaShem using “bamot,” but after a certain period, after the “Mishkan,” the Tabernacle, the temporary transportable Temple, moved to Shiloh, and certainly once the designed-to-be permanent Temple stood in Yerushalayim, there began the period of “Issur HaBamot,’ in which “bamot” were prohibited even for the Service of HaShem.

But they were so ingrained into the ritual life of the Jewish People that it was almost impossible to eradicate their use, and the Bible would often comment about one of the Kings who had been relatively good in terms of observance of the Torah, “but he could not eliminate the ‘bamot.’ ”