Monday, August 13, 2018

A Beis Hamikdash Shape Puzzle

Stop question What object in the Beis Hamikdash was shaped like an octagon, made out of gold, and displayed prominently for all to see?

Monday, August 6, 2018

Lego® Shofar Box

The last post discussed the thirteen shofaros, or donation boxes, distributed throughout the Azarah for the collection of coins from the public. Here is a Lego® version built in minifig scale using only five pieces.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Don't Blow It

We are taught that the ram's horn, or shofar, we blow on Rosh Hashanah has tremendous mystical powers. In the Beis Hamikdash they took advantage of a simpler and more practical aspect of a shofar: it makes a great anti-theft device.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Set of Three Mikdash Models in LEGO®

After building a simple Lego model of the Second Temple (more about that here) I decided to put together a set of all three Temples at the same scale. Although the First and Second Temples were quite similar, there were a number of differences between them, some of which can be seen in the models below.

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Need for the True Blue?

It is widely known that techeiles (the blue dye) comes from a sea creature called the chilazon. Many hundreds of these animals had to be harvested from the bottom of the ocean in order to produce even a small quantity of techeiles, and the process of extracting and preparing this dye entailed using strong chemicals under carefully controlled conditions. This painstaking and complicated procedure made the price of techeiles exorbitant, and according to Rambam it may not have been necessary.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Power of the True Blue

The last four posts about techeiles were taken from a paper I wrote in college titled The Search for the True Blue. In that paper (Part 4) I had made an educated guess as to why kala ilan (a plant derivative) was not a substitute for true techeiles (from a mollusk). Just recently I read a more formal account of why this is so.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Search for the True Blue — Part 4

Modern Production
Elsner's breakthrough was the cause of great excitement among those Jewish scholars involved in this field. As a result, the past fifteen years have seen a wealth of publications, both religious and scientific, on the implications of this newly-found tekhelet. Even so, tekhelet remained confined to the realm of the theoretical for many years. That changed in 1993 when a trio of individuals established the P’Til Tekhelet Foundation to provide the blue dye to the general public.

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Search for the True Blue — Part 3

The Science of Tekhelet
Since the publishing of Rabbi Herzog's findings the chemical pathway for the production of the dye precursors in mollusks has been elucidated.10 Inside the hypobranchial gland of the animal the colorless waste product indole is modified for eventual excretion. This pathway produces a number of molecules, depending on the species, which serve as precursors to the purple dye (Figure 4).

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Search for the True Blue — Part 2

Jewish Scholars and Their Search for Tekhelet
There have been but two serious attempts to rediscover the authentic Biblical dye of tekhelet. The first came in the mid-1800s by Rabbi G.H. Leiner. Unaware of all the above history, Rabbi Leiner conducted his own search for the marine animal described in the Talmud, a search which lead him to the great aquarium in Naples.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Search for the True Blue — Part 1

Inspired by an interesting discussion I had over Shavuos, I am reprinting a paper I wrote for a college chemistry class (circa 1997) on the history and rediscovery of techeiles (tekhelet).

Introduction
In recent years, Jewish scholars have taken advantage of modern analytical techniques to reexamine the ancient art of dyeing. The impetus behind this contemporary investigation is the possible revival of a certain practice of the Jewish religion which has been hidden for over 1300 years.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Coral Choral Service of the Temple

Corallium rubrum (Linnaeus, 1758) 4 King Solomon asked Hiram, King of the Phoenician region of Tyre, to provide almog wood for use in the construction of the First Temple. This type of wood was precious and rare, it grew underwater, and was actually not wood at all.

Monday, November 27, 2017

JBrick Announces New Beis Hamikdash LEGO® Set

Holy Temple viewed from NE

The Jewish Lego® company JBrick has put out a new building set of the Beis Hamikdash. Containing over 1300 genuine Lego® bricks, this is the largest and most accurate set depicting the Rambam's view of the Second Temple. It includes amazing details such as the pillars of Yachin and Boaz, the mikvah of the Kohen Gadol atop the Water Gate, the Kiyor and Muchni, and even the golden nivreshes on the roof of the Heichal Building.

Monday, November 20, 2017

LEGO® Mikdash on ArchBrick and Flickr

Thanks to Paul Wellington for posting my latest LEGO mikdash creation on ArchBrick. This is a LEGO architecture blog for all fans of LEGO and highlights fan built architecture creations from builders around the world.

The LEGO mikdash and other LEGO models are now on Flickr. Check those out here.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Larger LEGO® Model of the Second Temple

In honor of the month of Kislev and the chanukas habayis [rededication of the Temple] that took place on Chanukah, I have prepared a new Lego® model of the Temple. This version is in a larger scale than my last attempt and adds a whole new level of detail.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Immersing the Paroches Curtain Revisited

Every Temple vessel was immersed in a mikveh to sanctify it prior to its first use. In a previous post I discussed how the very large Paroches curtains of the Sanctuary Building would be immersed. In certain circumstances these curtains would have to be immersed again, and sometimes this was done within the Courtyard. The challenge is finding a mikveh large enough to contain them.