Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Windows of the Holy Temple

The openings, or "windows", in the stone wall of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem were constructed such that their dimensions expanded from inside to outside as they reached the outside of the thick wall; Much like a rectangular funnel, narrow on the inside and wide on the outside. If, for example, the opening on the inside of the wall measured 3 feet by 4 feet, its measurements at the outside of the wall were, say, 3.5 feet by 4.5 feet. Had you placed a ball on that window sill, near its inside edge, the ball would have rolled and fallen outside of the building.

In a normal dwelling, in those days, in a stone-walled home, in contrast, you'd expect the shape of the windows to widen from outside in, to project as much light as possible from the outside into the inside of the house.

So why then did the Temples' "windows" widen out from inside to outside? To indicate that the inner light of the Holy of Holies served to enlighten the outside world. God does not need His own light. People need it. Thus God's light, that which the Menorah symbolically stands for, fans out from the Temple to light up the outside world.

In fact, an aspect of the Menorah itself, inside the Holy of Holies, also suggested this same principle, by the direction of its goblet components. The Menorah's sculpture contained goblets, flowers and button-like shapes. According to Maimonides, who included a drawing of the Menorah in his writings (see here), the goblets were turned upside-down, with the wide edge turned down, and the narrow end, turned up; As if to indicate that that which the goblet contained - was meant to pour out.

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