When the Holy Temple Stood
Designed by the word of G-d Himself, the Holy Temple was erected atop what became known as Har Habayit, or the Temple Mount. In Hebrew, the Temple was called the Beit Hamikdash, meaning the “house of holiness.” The Temple was as physically beautiful as it was spiritually meaningful, constructed from the most exquisite materials in the world. The Temple’s aesthetics, however, were not its distinguishing mark, since the Temple actually housed the Shechina, which is the presence of G-d. It was the place where a person could connect to G-d in the deepest way possible.
The First Temple
The First Holy Temple was built by King David’s son, King Solomon. It was completed in the year 827 BCE and stood for 410 years. A magnificent structure which took seven years to build, the First Holy Temple was considered one of the seven wonders of the world. The Babylonians destroyed it in 586 BCE.
The Second Temple
Erected 70 years after the First Holy Temple’s destruction, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zerubavel spearheaded the construction of the Second Holy Temple when the Jews returned to Israel from the Babylonian exile. The Second Holy Temple stood for 420 years, until the Romans seized control and mercilessly burned it to the ground. Currently, its only remnant is a partial wall on one side of the Temple Mount known as the Western Wall, or Kotel in Hebrew.
The Miracles of the Beit Hamikdash
The ten constant miracles that G-d maintained in the Beit Hamikdash made it an otherworldly place that imbued people with an unparalleled closeness to and reverence for G-d.
These miracles demonstrated to all that the Temple was a place beyond nature. The miracles’ number, ten, alludes to the concept in Judaism of full development and completion. This number also indicates that the miracles encompassed the entire realm of the supernatural.
In Ethics of the Fathers (5:7), the Sages list the miracles in the following order:
1. No pregnant woman miscarried because of the Temple’s aroma of roasted meat.
2. Meat never spoiled in the Temple.
3. No fly was ever present in any section of the Holy Temple, including the slaughter area.
4. On the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the High Priest was never disqualified due to a specific type of spiritual impurity.
5. The Temple’s raging fire always burned on the Altar in the open and rain never extinguished it.
6. The wind never swayed the pillar of smoke that arose from the burning Altar.
7. No defects were ever found in the barley offering, the two loaves, or the showbread.
8. Despite crowding in the Temple on Yom Kippur, there was plenty of room when the service called for people to prostrate themselves.
9. Not a single snake or scorpion caused harm in Jerusalem while the Temple stood.
10. Despite the millions of people who came to visit the Holy Temple during the festivals, no person ever said, “There isn’t enough space for me to stay overnight in Jerusalem.”
It is our fervent prayer that the Third and Final Holy Temple will stand in Jerusalem once again – Next Year in Jerusalem!
The Jerusalem Coin depicts with the utmost detail the temple era “City of Gold”, surrounded by ancient stone walls and magnificent archways. The holy city of Jerusalem is crowned with a beautifully envisioned Third Temple standing on high on the Temple Mount. The words “Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem” both in Hebrew and English, ring the exquisite artwork. This beautiful piece of art will serve as a reminder of the Holy City for generations to come!
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