|Rebuilding the Altar of the Temple
The stones of the original Altar were stored within the Hall of the Fire, a large structure built into the northern wall of the Courtyard. The main purpose of the Hall was to serve as sleeping quarters for the watch of Kohanim currently on duty and it also provided them a place to warm themselves during the day, a necessary amenity since they had to walk around barefoot on cold marble floors as they performed the sacrificial service. The large warming fire located here gave it its name.
|Chamber of Receipts. Three of the original
Altar stones are displayed above the fireplace.
In each of the four corners of Hall of the Fire were smaller chambers. The northeast contained the Chamber of Receipts where the Kohanim would issue receipts to individuals purchasing wine, oil, and flour from the Temple treasury. It was in this chamber that the stones of the Altar were stored. Now, it was impossible to fit a volume of stones the size of the Altar into this very small chamber. It is therefore likely that this chamber had a massive basement within the tunnels beneath the floor of the Courtyard where the large majority of the stones were stored, while some of the stones were left on display in the chamber upstairs to serve as a reminder of the miraculous events of the Chanukah story.