WORK CONTINUES APACE ON THE NEW COPPER LAVER being produced by the Temple Institute, and this past Wednesday, (19 Av, 5768/August 20, 2008), an important step forward was taken:
the copper keter, or ornamental crown, which will be affixed to the top of the laver, was completed and delivered to the Acco based factory of Shlomo Buchbut, where the laver is being prepared.
THE BEAUTIFULLY CRAFTED KETER IS THE WORK OF CHAIM ODEM, renowned Israeli metalsmith. Chaim has taken part in the design and manufacture of many of the metal vessels produced by the Temple Institute, most notably the golden menorah. For months Chaim has been busy at work on the keter, a process which began with his own artistic rendition of a crowning ornament worthy of adorning the Holy Temple-bound copper laver. Once having acheived a suitable design, Chaim then had to create molds and templates, only after which did he begin the painstaking task of hammering by hand the design into the copper sheet.
AS CAN BE SEEN IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS ABOVE, taken at the Acco metalwork factory of Shlomo Buchbut, Chaim Odem delivered the keter in sections, which were then pieced together in the factory, where it will next be permanently fastened to the top of the upper section of the laver, known as the muchni.
THE LAVER IS A SANCTIFIED TEMPLE VESSEL, and as such, it is forbidden to store water in the laver itself overnight. A Second Temple High Priest by the name of Ben Kattin devised a separate reservoir which sat atop the laver, in which the water could be stored, thereby improving the efficiency of the laver, while maintaining the vessel's sanctity. This reservoir was called the muchni. It is upon the muchni's modern-day equivalent that the ornamental crown will sit.
THE LAVER, AS IS THE CASE WITH ALL TEMPLE VESSELS being prepared by the Temple Institute, is designed and manufactured in strict accordance with the requirements of Torah-based Jewish law, (halachah). However, ornamental flourishes have been encouraged from the time of the First Temple, and to this aim the craftsman enjoys complete artistic freedom.
THE ABOVE PHOTOGRAPHS REVEAL FOR THE FIRST TIME the beautifully crafted details of the copper keter. They also show off the modern metalworking factory of Shlomo Buchbut, (whose other standing orders include missile casings and medical equipment). The visual contrast between fine craftsmanship and modern industrial precision as seen in these pictures expresses perfectly the Temple Institute's embrace, in the spirit of the 3000 year tradition of the Holy Temple, (and the Tabernacle before it), of strict adherence to Torah commandment married to the spirit of innovation and adoption of contemporary technology.
SEEN IN THE ABOVE PHOTOGRAPHS ARE CHAIM ODEM, Shlomo Buchbut, and his son Eyal, a Torah sholar who is overseeing the technical and halachic aspects of the construction of the copper laver, literally hand-in-hand, carefully assembling the crown. Also seen are factory workers and young visitors, all getting a close-up first-hand look at history in the making.
Click to read about and see photographs taken earlier this year showing the production of the copper laver.