Sunday, October 1, 2023

Happy Chol Hamoed Succos 5784!

On the holiday of Succos, the Rejoicing of the Water-drawing would take place inside the Women's Courtyard. The celebration began on the second night of the holiday when the great sages and pious men of the generation would assemble in this courtyard to dance, juggle, and sing God's praises while scores of Leviim stood upon the fifteen round steps in front of the Nikanor Gate (in the western wall of this courtyard) providing musical accompaniment.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Yoma 11b – 13b: Binyamin Hatzaddik and the Yesod of the Mizbeyach

 It was vitally important that the Mizbeyach be built in precisely the right location and so a prophet was consulted to pinpoint its exact coordinates. In addition, although the entire expanse of Har Habayis was built over a system of arches to protect it from

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Yoma 9a – 11a: The Nikanor Gate

The Nikanor Gate was one of seven major gates in the walls surrounding the Azarah. All of these major gates measured ten amos wide and twenty amos tall and had double doors. When the Jews returned from exile to build the Second Beis Hamikdash they were poor and could not afford to spend lavishly on the structure. At some later point when their financial situation had improved they were able to plate all of the doors of the Beis Hamikdash gates with gold. The only exception was the

Friday, September 15, 2023

New Resource for the Oraysa Learning Program

The Oraysa Learning Program is a global initiative that unites all of Klal Yisroel through a structured daily learning platform designed to learn, review and retain all of Shas. I recently decided to join this program as they began Maseches Yoma.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

TOST Back in Stock

The next shipment of The Original Second Temple has just arrived in New York and the books are now back in stock. I would like to thank all of the readers from around the world who sent in questions and comments on the first edition, and many of those corrections made their way into this second revised edition.

Please visit The Book tab for more info about the book and how to get a copy.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Animals on Erev Pesach

The Gemara (Pesachim 65b) states that on erev Pesach the Kohanim were walking around on the floor of the Beis Hamikdash up to their ankles in the blood of the festival offerings. How many animals would it take to produce that much blood?

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

House of Shadow and Light

To mark my father's yahrtzeit on 29 Shevat I delivered a new slideshow titled House of Shadow and Light. This shiur explores the relationship between the path of the sun and the structure of the Beis Hamikdash. The slideshow covers some topics from earlier blog posts, some ideas discussed in my book, as well as some brand new material.

The video now has closed captions thanks to the efforts of Martha Goodman and the Disability and Inclusion Services, Macks Center for Jewish Connections in Baltimore, MD.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Happy Isru Chag Succos 5783!

At the end of another Succos in the Beis Hamikdash the Kohanim and Leviim started cleaning up after yom tov. They had more than just their succos to take down — there was also a large project waiting for them in the Women's Courtyard.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Model Ma'arachah on Display

When visitors to the Ner Yisroel neighborhood now walk by the site of the yeshivah's annual Lag Ba'omer bonfire, they will see more than just scattered wood and charred logs. Some volunteers used a little imagination and a lot of hard work to transform those "spent firebrands" into a hands-on learning experience.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Behind the Scenes: Beis Hamoked Basement

I am in the process of importing my 3D model of the
Beis Hamikdash into the Unity game engine. Although many of the models that were used to create the images for my book already exist, the app is going to allow the user to explore the entire Beis Hamikdash and so many more areas have to be created. Here is a sneak peek at one of those new scenes.

Friday, April 15, 2022

חג כשר ושמח תשפ״ב

Here is another 4x4 micro diorama for Pesach whose full scale physical counterpart will, sadly, have to wait until next year. 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Plumbing [in] the Depths of the Temple 2.0

The following is an updated version of this post that was newly prepared for print in the Beis Medrash of Ranchleigh Pesach Kuntress 5782:

    The procedure of the Korban Pesach was identical whether performed on a weekday or on Shabbos, except that [on Shabbos] the Kohanim would rinse the floor of the Azarah against the will of the Sages (Mishnah, Pesachim 64a).

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Parah Adumah Podcast for Pesach

 In Temple times the concept of tumah [ritual defilement] and taharah [ritual purity] was a daily concern, affecting people, utensils, and food. It was given special attention at this time of year as people began preparing to ascend to the Temple for the Festival of Pesach and needed to be tahor in order to do so. Tumah comes in many forms and its severity depends upon the source of the contamination. The most severe form of tumah is that which derives from contact with, or being under the same roof as, a human corpse. According to Jewish law the only way to become purified from corpse tumah is to be sprinkled with spring water which has been mixed with the ashes of a parah adumah [red cow]. Check out a new podcast that analyzes a poetic description of the parah adumah procedure.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Second Beis Hamikdash App Preview

With the accessibility of 3D drawing and rendering tools nowadays, combined with fast hardware and free gaming engines, it has never been easier to create an immersive experience that really brings places and buildings to life. I imported the 3D models of the Beis Hamikdash that I used to create the illustrations for my book into the Unity game engine and have been tinkering with turning it into a full-fledged app that will, at the very least, allow people to walk around and explore the Mikdash at their own speed and interest. 

The world of apps lets you do, basically, anything you can imagine. This Second Temple app could be leveraged as a Kohen training course, part of a school curriculum, or just plain old edutainment. Since I don't have a full team of artists and programmers working for me just yet, the progress has been slow. Below you can check out a small preview of what I've put together so far. If the idea catches the interest of the right people, it could speed up development and make this app a reality.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Moadim Le'simchah: Birkas Kohanim


In Temple times when the Jewish people would travel to the city of Jerusalem for the regalim [pilgrimage festivals], they would have the opportunity to hear the birkas Kohanim [priestly blessing] from thousands of Kohanim at once. I recreated a glimpse of this scene in miniature.