Book review: Carta’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem

by Israel Ariel and Chaim Richman


Rabbis Ariel and Richman represent the Temple Institute, founded in 1988 to “rekindle the flame of the Holy Temple in the hearts of mankind.” It houses a team of researchers of Temple-related subjects. This oversized book is a product of the Institute.

This is a reverent and stunningly beautiful coffee-table book, containing hundreds of pictures, richly annotated. I bought this while in Jerusalem, and I absolutely love it; no other book I’ve seen so evinces such a feeling of the Temple’s original splendor and atmosphere.

The subject is, of course, Herod’s Temple, the Temple visited by Jesus. Christians seem to have mixed feelings about the Temple and its rituals, but if you want to view its place in history from a Jewish viewpoint—including the sacred stories that preceded its building upon holy land—this book is a treasure. You’ll learn about Temple services, the sacred artifacts, the roles of both men and women, and the special ceremonies of the feast days of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kipper, Sukkot, the Passover, and Shavuot. (For the uninitiated, these are the festivals of the New Year, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Booths/Tabernacles, the Passover, and the Feast of Weeks.)

1 Comment

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