Yerushalaiyim Makaz HaOlam
(Jerusalem Center of the Universe)
Jerusalem is the center focus of the people; and the Temple is the focus of the city of Jerusalem. We will familiarize ourselves with the Sanhedrin Court; King David and his connection to the city of Jerusalem; the Prophets and their connection to the Temple; the Temple itself; the Altar, the Holy of Holies.
We will also discuss the Garden of Eden; the connection between heaven above and earth below and particular where the connection takes place.
We will start our focus from the Book of the Psalms (Tehillim) 122. A song of steps by David: “I rejoiced when they said, ‘Let us go up to G-d’s House.’ ”… “Peace be within you.” ‘For the sake of the House of the Lord our G-d, I will seek Your good.’
Deuteronomy (Devarim) 16:2, “You shall sacrifice the Passover offering to the Lord your G-d…in the place that G-d shall choose to make His Name dwell there.” It was only at the Temple that the Passover lamb could be sacrificed when the Temple was standing.
Jerusalem (Yerushalaiyim) the focal point of Jewish civilization was to develop a relationship with HaShem. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch points out, the Hebrew word for city, Ir (עיר ), comes from the same root as the word Ur (עור ), meaning “to awaken.” It is the city that awakens mankind, bringing out their very best creative instincts. It was Jerusalem that was the city―the “awakener”―arousing and motivating the Jew toward their mission.
There are a number of tithes from all the crops grown in the Holy Land that had to be given as a kind of income tax for the support for the Priests (Kohanim) and the Levi’im. Who served as religious leaders and teachers. The second tithe (Mauser Sheni) was not given away; instead, the owner had to either eat it in Yerushalaiyim, or redeem it and spend the money for food in Yerushalaiyim.
If Yerushalaiyim was the focal point of the Land of Yisra’el, it was the Temple (Bet HaMikdash) that was the real focal point. The first Temple built by King Solomon, standing for 410 years. Seventy years later, the Second Temple was built by Ezra, standing for 420 years.
One remnant of the Temple continues to stand today, the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, the Kotel Maaravi. To this day, it is considered one of the most sacred spots in the world; it is the focus of pilgrimage for Jews from all over.
Built into the outer north wall of the Temple, not far from the Great Altar, was a room known as the Chamber of Cut Stone. In this chamber the great Sanhedrin sat, teaching and judging all Yisra’el.