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The Temple Institute (in Hebrew, Machon HaMikdash), founded in 1987, is a non-profit educational and religious organization located in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem's Old City. The Institute is dedicated to every aspect of the Biblical commandment to build the Holy Temple of G-d on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. Our short-term goal is to rekindle the flame of the Holy Temple in the hearts of mankind through education. Our long-term goal is to do all in our limited power to bring about the building of the Holy Temple in our time. Thus, the Institute's efforts include raising public awareness about the Holy Temple, and the central role that it occupies in the spiritual life of mankind. The many areas of activities conducted by the Institute combine research, seminars, publications, and conferences, as well as the production of educational materials.

The major focus of the Institute is its efforts towards the beginning of the actual rebuilding of the Holy Temple. Towards this end, the Institute has begun to restore and construct the sacred vessels for the service of the Holy Temple. These vessels, which G-d commanded Israel to create, can be seen today at our exhibition in Jerusalem's Old City Jewish Quarter. They are made according to the exact specifications of the Bible, and have been constructed from the original source materials, such as gold, copper, silver and wood. These are authentic, accurate vessels, not merely replicas or models. All of these items are fit and ready for use in the service of the Holy Temple. Among the many items featured in the exhibition are musical instruments played by the Levitical choir, the golden crown of the High Priest, and gold and silver vessels used in the incense and sacrificial services. After many years of effort and toil, the Institute has completed the three most important and central vessels of the Divine service: the seven-branched candelabra, or Menorah, made of pure gold; the golden Incense Altar, and the golden Table of the Showbread. To view a video showing the menora being moved to its current location, please click here. To see photographs of the kiyor - the copper laver currently under construction, please click here.

The Institute has completed the sacred uniform of the Kohen Gadol, the High Priest. This project was the culmination of years of study and research. The High Priest's Choshen (Breastplate) and Ephod have been completed. To learn more about these garments and how they were created, and to view photos and illustrations, click here. Most recently, the tzitz - golden crown of the High Priest has been completed. To view a short video about the tzitz, click here.

Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, founder and head of the Temple Institute, served in the paratrooper brigade which liberated the Temple Mount in the Six Day War of 1967, and was one of the first soldiers to reach the Mount. Rabbi Ariel was the Rosh Yeshiva and spiritual leader of the city of Yamit in the Sinai, which was dismantled as part of the peace accords with Egypt. Rabbi Ariel is a scholar of great renown, and is also the author of many Hebrew works, including the highly acclaimed "Atlas of the Biblical Boundaries of the Land of Israel."

Based on his extensive Torah knowledge and wisdom, Rabbi Ariel clearly demonstrates in his writings, the belief and conviction, as emphasized by Torah scholars and luminaries of earlier generations, that every generation is obligated to do all within its power towards rebuilding the Holy Temple. This, as opposed to those who believe that we must wait for the messiah to arrive before it can be rebuilt. For an insight into the inspiration behind the establishment of the Temple Institute, we paraphrase Rabbi Ariel's own words, as they appear in his Siddur HaMikdash (The Holy Temple Prayerbook). The story picks up after the liberation of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount during the Six Day War:

"It is so very difficult to describe the feeling that filled us during that extraordinary time in the life of the nation. The words "ringing the bells of the Messiah" express in a limited way what was being felt in the heart."

"This lead to a certain sense of letdown that so many of us experienced. After all, we have arrived at the threshold of the Holy Temple: we are standing at the Western Wall - where is the Messiah?"

"In the passing of time as I pursued my studies, I discovered that our expectations were simply misplaced."

"Through the years, the more I studied the more I began to understand that we had only ourselves and our own inaction to hold accountable: G-d does not intend for us to wait for a day of miracles. We are expected to act. We must accomplish that with which we have been charged: to do all in our power to prepare for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, and the renewel of the divine service." (page 526, Siddur HaMikdash, translated from the Hebrew).

Yordechai Prinze

The Temple Institute: Laying the Foundations of Research
for the Third Temple

The Temple Institute was founded on the principle of action. Its goal is to provide a basis in research, planning and infrastructure for the Third Temple.

The basis of the Institute's work is the commandment given to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, "And they shall make for Me a Sanctuary, and I will dwell amongst them" (Ex. 25:8). The Institute's efforts towards preparing for the Temple in our time can be compared to the preparations that were done in the days of the tabernacle and later, by King David.

Research Department

A team of rabbis, scholars, scientists and other experts in various fields are presently occupied with the study of various Temple-related subjects. The results of these studies are published periodically by the Temple Institute.

The conclusions of this research form the basis for the creation of the sacred vessels and priestly garments that are fashioned by the Institute's Restoration Department, comprised of experts representing a wide range of fields and professions: gold and silversmiths, weavers, gemologists, musicologists, carpenters, painters, graphic artists, architects and more.

These craftsmen prepare their work based on the findings and conclusions presented to them by the scholars of the Research Department. Once the plans for the vessel or item have been completed, the craftsman or artist sets about the execution of the project accordingly, with his own emphasis on the artistic aspects.

In this manner, over sixty sacred Temple vessels have already been restored, including some of the most difficult and complicated projects, such as the Menorah and the precious stones of the High Priest's breastplate. The stones of the breastplate - recently created - were investigated with the help of professional gemologists, geologists and other experts. The wide range of material necessitated the examination of over 30 differing viewpoints for establishing the criteria for identifying the stones.

Another example of research currently underway involves the topography and makeup of the Temple Mount and the structure of the Holy Temple, as well as a working architectural plan for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple on Mount Moriah, according to modern building standards and with the best materials and technology available.

A panel of experts has labored to assemble all relevant data and sources from the Talmud and commentaries as well as from historical writings and archaeological sources which aid in pinpointing the exact halachic location of the sanctified Temple Mount area. The same efforts are made to establish the proper location of the structure of the Temple and all of its chambers.

About the Artists

The Temple Institute's collection of original oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings, numbers over two hundred. In the case of each and every painting, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel personally commissioned and oversaw the work. Rabbi Ariel would first explain to the artist the scene he wished to depict, in each case basing his description on specific citations either from the Tanach, (Torah, Prophets and Writings of the Hebrew Scriptures), the Mishnah or Talmud, or Midrashic literature. Rabbi Ariel saw to it that each painting was executed with precision and accuracy, according to the sources. The artists were, by and large, Russians who immigrated to Israel in the late 1980's and early 1990's with the great wave of Soviet and post-Soviet aliya. For a number of the artists, this was their first real contact both with the subject of the Holy Temple, and with their own Jewish roots. One needs to view these paintings in order to appreciate the enormity of their accomplishments as artists, and their inestimable contribution to the Jewish people, and to all people who are intent on furthering their understanding and appreciation of the history and the promise of the Holy Temple. Following is a list of artists whose works are included in The Temple Institute's collection:

Dmitry Baranovsky, z'l
George Berdichevshy
Dmitry Havadnevich
Yitzchak Pressburger
Michael Putilov
Ilya Rubin
Zalman Smekhov
Alexander Timofeyev
Grigory Vechlis

 

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