The Temple Institute: Breaching of the Soreg



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Breaching of the Soreg

On this day (the 23rd day of Cheshvan), the soreg, (the outer fence surrounding the Temple Courtyard), was broken by the enemy. (Tractate Ta'anit)

The sanctity of the Holy Temple and the Temple Mount is very great, and thus entry into various sanctified areas on the Mount is forbidden for those who are ritually impure.

Permission was granted to Gentiles to enter into the Temple courtyard up to the designated boundary, which was a fence called the soreg. This fence had pillars that featured stone tablets which bore the following inscription in Greek and Latin: "A stranger may not continue past this point.He who enters bringsd a desath penalty upon himself." When the Greeks invaded the Temple and entered into the Sanctuary, they broke through the soreg in thirteen places, to publicize that they now proclaimed the prohibition against Gentile entry to be null and void. When the Hasmonean priests returned to Jerusalem and purified the Holy Temple once again, (the story of Chanukah), they enacted a decree that all who come up to the Temple should prostrate themselves opposite these breeches towards the direction of the Holy Temple, in order to deepen the feeling of sanctity and reverence for the Holy Temple amongst all those who come to the hallowed courts of the House of the L-rd.

To learn more about the soreg, please go to The Illustrated Tour, and click on Part I:The Soreg.


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