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The Beit Hamikdash: The Temple and The Holy Mount

The center of Jewish longing and aspiration. Throughout millennia, Jerusalem has occupied a central place in the hearts and minds of the Jewish people.

reviewed by Rafi Goldrich

The Truth about Syria by Barry Rubin

The Beit HaMikdash: The Temple and the Holy Mount, by Rabbi Zalman Menachem Koren.

Throughout millennia, Jerusalem has occupied a central place in the hearts and minds of the Jewish people. From the time it was dedicated by King David, through its destruction by the Romans in the first century, and until this very day the city was and is the spiritual focal point of the land of Israel. And if Jerusalem was the focal point of the land of Israel, the Beit HaMikdash the place in which God's presence was clearly discernible -was the focal point of Jerusalem. Indeed, more than 2,000 years later, Jews the world over continue to mourn the Temple's destruction and yearn for the day it will be rebuilt.

Having been intrigued with the Beit HaMikdash for some time, this week finally I bought a copy of The Beit HaMikdash -- The Temple and the Holy Mount, which turns out to be a magnificent new work. The author, Rabbi Zalman Menachem Koren, is a true, and well-known scholar who has dedicated many years to study the Temple and the Temple Mount.

For me Judaism's holiest site comes very much to life on the printed page. The book was written in conjunction with the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which is responsible for preserving and developing the Western Wall and the Kotel Tunnels, and it includes hundreds of photos, maps, illustrations and citations to validate the Jewish presence on the Temple Mount spanning nearly 1,000 years, from 833 BCE-70 CE.

This work is especially relevant today when the world is awash with Muslim claims that there never was a Temple of any kind on the 34-acre complex. This book is a culmination of the author's research which began over 30 years ago with his book detailing the borders of the Temple Mount and the site of the Temple according to Jewish law. To me it is obvious that the Temple existed on this site 2000 years ago, but it is important that there is a book on the market for the rest of the world that proves just this point.

The book comprises three main sections: firstly a focus on the significance of the Temple and the importance of studying its laws; secondly, a detailed description of the Temple and Temple Mount; and finally, an exploration of the Temple model built by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation which is on display inside the Western Wall tunnels, which have revealed a wealth of historical artifacts. The author shows how modern archeology fully corroborates with Talmudic data. Also, in an unexpected disclosure, the book cites Jewish sources proving that the ancient Jewish Temple was a place of prayer for non-Jews as well, as the prophet Isaiah put it, "a house of prayer for all the nations" (Isaiah 57:7).

This book is an oversized, art-quality volume for which ArtScroll/Mesorah-Shaar Press is well known. It will help the reader understand the design and function of the Temple, the surrounding topography, and the biblical and historical importance of modern-day archeological discoveries. It also includes pull-out panoramic diagrams of the Beit HaMikdash from many different perspectives.


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