The Altar of the Jewish Holy Temple

Breaking Israel News reports on an altar that has been built by the Temple Institute. You can read the report here.

The altar built by the Temple Institute to be used in service in the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple. (Photo: The Temple Institute)
Priests carrying vessels near the Ramp of the Altar

According to this report, the Temple Institute in Jerusalem has completed the construction of the stone altar required for the sacrificial service in the Holy Temple. One thing that makes this altar unique is that it was designed to be disassembled and quickly reassembled in its correct position on the Temple Mount. According to the Temple Institute,

“The people of Israel are required to build an altar exclusively on the site of the original altar on Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount. When circumstances become favorable, this new altar can be quickly re-assembled on the proper location, enabling the Divine service to be resumed without delay.”

It was a little strange to see the red tiles and bricks, but they are supposed to be the outer layer only, while the inner part was built with natural stones.

A few years ago, the Temple Institute asked me for lectures regarding the layout of the Temple and the location of the Altar. They appear to agree with our plan as shown in our new Temple Mount guide book. In our book we show a plan of the altar in relation to the Dome of the Rock and also a photograph with its location:

This plan shows Herod’s Temple, courts and Altar (beige) in relation to the Dome of the Rock and the Dome of the Chain (blue). The Rock inside the Dome of the Rock was the Foundation Stone of the First and Second Temples on which the Holy of Holies was built. The Dome of the Chain stands on the former Porch that was built in front of the magnificent Temple built by Herod and the great Altar of Burnt Sacrifices stood to its east.
A view of the Dome of the Rock, looking west, with the Dome of the Chain to its east. The Altar stood in the open space between the Dome of the Chain and the steps that lead up to the Raised Platform from the east.

One wonders when and how the Temple Institute will be able to build this altar in its original location.

6 thoughts on “The Altar of the Jewish Holy Temple”

  1. Thank you for the Update. Even the Jewish News sites have not brought this news to the fore.

  2. Are the Temple Institute altar dimensions correct when compared to the pictures your altar- drawings in front of the Dome of the Rock? Seems a bit little to me or am I wrong?

  3. Timo,
    It looks small to me also. They say that the height of the altar is 5 cubits or 2.35 meters (7.7 ft). The altar in Herod’s Temple was also 5 cubits high (according to Middot, but 10 according to Josephus), while standing on a base that was 1 cubit high. The width of Herod’s altar and was 30 cubits (15m.) square and that is much larger, of course. Perhaps the Temple Institute made this altar small so that it could be transported easily and, once in place, build a full-size altar in its place.

  4. I was very interested to learn this week via The Temple Institute that the Foundation Stone and Altar are two distinct and separate locations:

    The smaller dome of the chain as indicated in your drawing above does not correlate to the Altar position as indicated by Rabbi Richman.

    With the two identifiable locations and a distance between the Holy of Holies and Altar it should be able to possible to determine the cubit length and orientation as well as rejecting or supporting the various location theories, as it would seem important the Altar be located on and connected to the natural ground.

    I would be very interested to know the sources that support the two distinct locations and your thoughts?

  5. I was just in the Temple Institute in Jerusalem this past week and the spokesman stated the altar (shown in Leen’s article) is indeed in a smaller scale. The purpose was that it was (a) small enough to fit in their institute (b) was portable and could be assembled anywhere necessary (on Temple Mount or elsewhere) and (c) that the size was legally permissible (according to their interpretation of halakhic law) since the scope of its usage (at first) would be small. For them it is a legally acceptable placeholder. The spokesman further stated that the Temple Institute considered the composition of the altar (see pic) which was ceramic tile to be legally equal to ‘stone’ and some in our group found this to be rather a stretch. Bottom line? Yes the scale is smaller. This is the very same altar we saw. I took no photos per their up-front request. Hope this helps.

  6. Philip,
    If you place the Most Holy on the Rock, then the location of the Altar must be at least 40 cubits (length of the Holy Place) + 22 cubits (Porch) + at least 16 cubits for the Steps = 78 cubits to the east. This will bring you to the Dome of the Chain for the location of the Altar (see plan in blog post).

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