MIKDASH [Temple] IN MINIATURE: CATRIEL'S MODELS
(Originally Published in Viewpoint, Spring 1998, p.27-29)
At a packed Melave Malka at the Young Israel of East Northport, Long Island, New York, the crowd watches intensely as the guest speaker clicks a slide into place. On the screen appears a photo of -- no, it's not possible, but it really looks like -- the Beit HaMikdash as seen from the Eastern Gate. Someone gasps. Another click and the Beit HaMikdash can be seen from an aerial view. What magic is this? The wizardry of Catriel Sugarman, artiste extraordinaire, who has created an incredibly detailed model of the Second Beit HaMikdash.
Catriel, an artist who sculpts in fine woods, based in Jerusalem, was approached a couple of years ago and asked to build a model of the Beit HaMikdash. He accepted the assignment, little realizing the time and amount of work this commission would take.
Before Catriel and his staff started, they had to do some serious research. Although Catriel -- like every other yeshiva [seminary] boy -- had learned about the Beit HaMikdash in classes, it had been a little bit, a long time ago. He relearned the Mishnayot of Middot, Tamid, Yoma, parts of Sukkah, Shekalim, and many others along with the appropriate Gemarot. He also studied the classic commentaries: Rashi, Rambam, Bartenura, Tosafot Yom Tov, Tiferet Yisrael, and the Chanukat HaBayit. He also carefully read the writings of Josephus and various articles in archaeological and Biblical studies journals. Only after he felt that he had at least a nodding acquaintance with the sources, could he start preparing the architectural drawings.
Catriel did not look to improve on existing models. He started from the very beginning as if no model had ever been built before. After many months of research and preparation, Catriel and his staff started to cut wood for the model. As month followed month, the Beit HaMikdash began to slowly take shape in all its detail and, slowly its majestic beauty began to appear. Visitors to the shop would note the progress and wish the project well and, of course, ask questions about why one opinion was chosen over another. Finally, after a year and a half of intense labor, the commission was concluded with great joy.
Catriel's model is a 1:125 scale model of the architectural wonder that was the second (Herod's) Beit HaMikdash. Four mm equals one amah. The wood used in making the model was mainly maple, and the "gold" is mainly gilded silver. The intricate wood working that makes up the model consists of literally thousands of components. There are nearly 8,000 tiny wooden squares for the flooring alone. The walls of the structure resemble Jerusalem stone, and the granulations of stairs (many hidden behind the walls) reinforce the impression of reality. Crafted by brilliant silversmiths who work with Catriel, the metal work -- which is in a class by itself -- shows both obsession with detail and diligent adherence to the original sources. The gorgeous Grecian-Egyptian embellishments of the Nicanor gates reflect their Alexandrian origin and the 15mm Menorah has every Koftor VaFerach (ball and flower). The incredibly complicated Shluchan (table for the Lechem HaPanim -- show bread) has no less than 81 welding points.
Seeing the model from the front, one can picture the Olei Regel (pilgrims) entering the Temple through the Eastern Gate, preceding through the Ezrat Nashim (Women's Outer Courtyard). In the four corners of the Ezrat Nashim are rooms that were used for various Temple activities such as sorting the wood that will be used on the Mizbeach (altar). There is a chamber for Nezirim (Nazarites) to finish their process of purification and a place for them to eat from their peace offerings. There is a storeroom for oil and wine and, finally, a closed area where Mikvaot are located for lepers; indeed for all men who wish to go up the famous 15 stairs and through the Nicanor Gate. Entering through this gate leads to the Ezrat Yisrael (Inner Courtyard) which is as far as an "ordinary" Israelite can usually go.
Imagine having gone to the Mikvah, ascended the steps and gone through the Nicanor Gate. Before you are the platform where the Leviim stand when they play their musical instruments and sing Tehillim during the times of sacrifices. Behind the singers is the mighty, smoking Mizbeach upon which the sacrifices are offered. Above looms the fabulous gold plated facade of the great Sanctuary which is as high as a 17-story building. Josephus states in his histories that when the sun came up, it was so bright that people simply had to turn their eyes away for fear of being blinded. The other sides of the Sanctuary are pure white -- "like a mountain covered with snow." Past the colossal 40 amot tall entrance to the Ulam are the golden doors leading to the Heichal. They are flanked by towering pillars which support huge cedar-wood beams along with the famed golden vine (a symbol of the "Congregation of Israel"). Inside the gold-plated walls of the Heichal, the exquisite Menorah, the Shulchan and the Golden Mizbeach for incense are visible against the background of the renowned curtains which separate the holy area from the Kodesh HaKodashim (Holy of Holies). All this you can imagine as you look at Catriel's model. These and hundreds of other fine points are visible.
One of the more interesting features of this incredible reproduction is that the inside of the Temple can be revealed by a deft sliding away of walls and roofs. This exposes the beauty of the Ulam, the glory of the Heichal and the hidden Aliyah (second story). It brings to life literally scores of Mishnayot. By sliding the roof off the Beit HaMoked (the Chamber of the Hearth), an observer can see where the Kohanim slept, where the keys of the Temple were kept at night and how the Kohanim warmed their feet during the cold Jerusalem winter. By lifting up the facade of the Ulam, one can see where last week's Lechem HaPanim was placed and distributed among the Kohanim of the Mishmar. By removing the roof of the Lishkat HaGazit (Chamber of Hewn Stone), one can wonder at the seating arrangements of the Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court. By removing the roof of the Aliya, one can see the holes cut into the floor above the Kodesh HaKodashim. Once every seven years, artisans would be lowered in boxes closed on three sides (the tiny boxes can be seen as well) into the Kodesh HaKodashim to clean the walls. The boxes would be closed on three sides so the cleaners could not look around and see what they were not meant to see -- and neither can we as that is one part of the Beit HaMikdash Catriel did not model.
Unfortunately for those of us who do not wish to be satisfied with photos, Catriel did not keep his model. After completing the commission, he sent the model to the one who commissioned it. But Catriel is happy. "What remains with me, aside from the breathtaking pictures and slides," he says, "is the satisfaction of completing a project of this magnitude and, far more important, acquiring a great deal of Torah learning which perhaps I would not have done otherwise."
After all, Catriel notes, the best way to learn about a building is to build it -- even in miniature. He is proud of the fact that the Rav of HaTenu'ah LeChinun HaMikdash (the Movement for the Establishment of the Temple) graciously inscribed in Catriel's guest book, "may it be Thy will that architects and engineers study this model when the time comes for 'Beniyah Bashetach,' when the construction of the real Beit HaMikdash begins."
VEYIBANE BEIT HAMIKDASH BIMHERA BEYAMENU
(MIKDASH-BUILD, 1 Adar 5758, Volume II, Number 8)
For more information on the slide show of the Beit HaMikdash model, contact: Catriel, 18 Shlomtzion HaMalka Street, Jerusalem, ISRAEL. Telephone: +972-2-624-5269, +972-2-652-4495. Email: email@example.com
Mikdash Build Home
(This site is so hard to access that I have downloaded two of the pictures and added them below. One of these would not fully download even after many attempts. Captions under the pictures are from the web site.)
"View of Mikdash from East to West, dominated by the gold facade of the Main Sanctuary (Heichal), as described by Josephus."
"View of the Azara as one looks South East. Part of the Achsadra (porticos) which surround the Azara in the Sha'ar HaMayim (Water Gate) with its second story can be seen, as can be the Kiyur (copper laver), and part of the Great Altar where the sacrifices were burnt. In the distance is the East side of the Nicanor Gate."
See The Site of Solomon's Temple by Nathan L. Kaplan.
The study includes many illustrations:
A Tour of the Second Beis Hamikdosh online at www.moshiach.com/mikdosh
Please see "Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, A Chorographical Century" by John Lightfoot for a physical description of the Temple and its environs (especially #21-35).
Holy of Holies of Solomon's Temple Discovered Under Temple Mount Plaza in Jerusalem
Summary: Messianic Jewish believer tells an unbelievable tale of what she witnessed first-hand under the Temple Mount.
Sister E., a Messianic Jewish believer, reports that in the fall of 1996, acting as a "nurse-helper," she accompanied a very elderly group of Jews from many countries on a Hebrew-speaking tour which went under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
There were two police check points in the access tunnel, which came after the last place where Gentiles can presently go. Sister E. reports that the tour guide pushed a button on a wall-mounted console, and a heavy door opened into a huge chamber, under a portion of the Temple Mount Plaza above.
The chamber contained a model of the to-be-built [Third] Temple, plus many other rooms which were not shown to the people on the tour. The tour guide said that they had located the Holy of Holies of Solomon's Temple, and that they could begin Levitical law worship at any time (if they were not, in fact already doing it, and were stopped on March 13, 1997). There are more rationale/facts to be explained than what is written here.
They had a model of the Temple and they were training rabbis in Levitical worship. They stated that they could build a full-sized Temple in three days. The blocks, etc. have already been cut, as we all know.
It appears that Herod built an encased "sub-basement" under the Second Temple, with double "Wailing wall-type" stones all around. Inside the huge "encasement/foundation" stones was then hidden the remains of Solomon's Temple, including the floor plan, etc. which was not found by the Romans in 70 A.D.
Unknown by the general population, the Israelis have now excavated the whole area and pillared the entire Solomon/Ezra's [the first/smaller] Temple Area, and concealed it all just under the Temple Mount Plaza above!
"The place was cavernous and echoed, it was so large under there," reported Sister E.
(Midnight Herald Featured Article #2)
1997-2007 Notes on Revelation
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