Ask The Rabbi

For the week ending 24 April 2004 / 3 Iyyar 5764

The Temple Mount

by Rabbi Yirmiyahu Ullman - www.rabbiullman.com
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

From: Yitzchak M.

Dear Rabbi,

I heard that water was pouring from the "Foundation Stone" on the Temple Mount. What is that all about? What can we learn from it? Is there any mention of this in our sources? By the way, a friend of mine told me of an Arab in preparation for conversion who saw and confirmed it.

Dear Yitzchak M.,

In the Messianic era, says the Talmud, a trickle of water will begin flowing from the site of the Holy Temple. This trickle will grow and grow until it becomes a gushing river. The Talmud cites a verse in Zecharia (13:1): "On that day a spring will be opened for the House of David and for the residents of Jerusalem." The book of Joel (4:18) also declares, "And it will be on that daya fountain shall issue from the House of the L-rd." Maharsha explains that this river symbolizes King David's dynasty: Like a river flowing on and on, David's kingship will continue forever.

According to reports, a mysterious trickle of water was rumored to have begun from under the rock in the Mosque of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. Even if true, this may not necessarily be significant.

For one, while the Talmud relates that a trickle will emerge from the site of the Temple, it's not certain that the Dome of the Rock is indeed built upon the Temple site. In "Beit Hamikdash Hashlishi," Rabbi Shalom Dov Steinberg brings strong evidence that it is not. Among other indications, electromagnetic scans under the Temple mount reveal very deep hollows consistent with those described as having been under the Temple. These hollows, however, are not under the Dome of the Rock; rather they are under the unbuilt section opposite the Western Wall.

Interestingly, this fits with our tradition, recorded almost 2000 years ago in the Zohar, that no building will ever be built on the site of the Sanctuary except for the Temple.

Sources:

  • Yoma 77b, 78a; Maharsha, ibid.
  • See also Ezekiel 47:1-12; Zecharia 14:8
  • Responsa of Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch 3:39
  • Zohar, Pikudei, p. 480

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