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Posted November 29, 2005

Book: Carta’s Illustrated Encyclopedia Of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem
Authors: Israel Ariel and Chaim Richman
The Temple Institute, Carta Jerusalem, 2005, pp. 270

An Excerpt from the Introduction:

Visual representation is an important element in the learning process. This is all the more ture when treating topics such as the Holy Temple. Even Moses, the greatest of all prophets, set about building the desert Tabernacle and its furnishings only after he was first granted a heavenly vision of this structure in fine detail — as Scripture states, “They shall make me a Sanctuary, and I will dwell among them. You shall make the Tabernacle and all of its furnishings according to the plan that I show you.”

In days gone by, when the people of Israel would journey to the Holy City to celebrate the Pilgrim Festivals, they would stand awestruck at the sight of the Temple. The Talmud describes how priests would go out of their way to display the Temple’s beauty to the many visitors. For example, they would open the Holy of Holies and allow the celebrants to see the cherubim atop the Holy Ark embracing like man and wife. Their embrace indicated Divine predilection, and the priests would therefore exclaim before the people,”See how greatly you are cherished before God.”

This, indeed, was one of the objectives of the pilgrimages — to make an indelible impression of the Temple on all who saw it. Visitors, however, would be moved not only by the outer, physical beauty of this imposing edifice; they would be awed by its inner, spiritual content – the all-pervasive Divine Presence.

This profound idea is supported by the words of Maimonides when he tells us that “just as the people of Israel would come to the Temple to appear before God, so they would come to see His splendorous sanctity and the house of His Divine Presence.”

Though laid waste many hundred years ago, the Temple has survived in the mind of man. Jews of all generations have persisted in exploring every aspect of its magnificent and complex structure and intricate sacred service. Many have pondered and probed as best they could the mysteries of the Holy Temple, yet they lacked the instruments needed to give concrete form to their studies.

A huge number of thoroughly researched paintings and scaled-to-size gold and silver reproductions of Temple vessels, instruments and vestments are on display at the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, and may be viewed by the public. These amazing works of art have been fashioned by accomplished, contemporary craftsmen. They patiently await the day when the priests will take them and ascend the Temple Mount to perform the sacred service in the Holy Temple of God, as in days of old.

The Temple Institute and Carta are proud to present the reader with a panorama of illustrations and photographs, and so provide a detailed visual representation of the Holy Temple. The outstanding and often moving artwork presented here is the fruit of years of effort and patience by scholars and artists under the guidance of Rabbi Israel Ariel.

Much of the material in this book appears here for the very first time. Presented in an organized, systematic, and comprehensive form, it allows all – father and son, teacher and student, scholar and layman – to delve deeply into the subject of the Temple and its vessels. Now, all can partake in a vision of the Temple and its vessels with their own eyes – not unlike Moses himself.

An Excerpt from the Book:

The harp was one of the musical instruments played by the Levites in the Holy Temple. This harp was designed according to an archaeological discovery in the Meggido area. It has twenty-two strings, corresponding to the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

Table of Contents:

The Temple: Where History Begins

The Temple’s Timeless Blueprint

The Temple Service: Drawing Near to God

Women in the Service of God

Rosh Hashanah’s Call to Remembrance

Yom Kippur’s Divine Heritage

The Sukkot Festival: “Rejoice Before the Lord”

The Passover Festival: A Joy that Unites

The Shavuot Festival: “These Are The First Fruits”