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Temple Mount

by Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis
Also known as Mount Moriah and Mount Zion, it is the Eastern hill in Jerusalem situated between the Valley of Hinnom and the Valley Kidron, that is the site of the first and second Temples. It is the point where God first created light and began the creation of the universe (Ps. 50:2; Eccl. R. 1:1) and the Even ha-Shetiyah, the Foundation Stone that holds back the waters of chaos, is there. It is the center of the universe (Tanhuma, Kedoshim 10). Adam was created from the dust of the mountain, from the spot where the altar would eventually rest. Noah made his offers to God there after the flood. When the Children of Israel needed to cross the Red Sea to escape Pharaoh, God transported Mount Moriah to the bottom of the sea, and the Israelites walked across on it (Mechilta de Rabbi Ishmael).

The mount is a place of revelation. Abraham almost sacrificed his son Isaac there, and an angel appeared to him telling him not to kill his son (Gen. 22). Jacob had his dream/vision of angels while sleeping on the mount (Gen. 28:11).

Article copyright 2004 Geoffrey Dennis.


Article details:

  • Also known as:
    Har ha-Bayit

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