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).

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.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Water Conservation in the Pre-Muchni Days

In the Second Temple era a Kohen Gadol named Ben Katin devised a machine that was used to lower the Kiyor [laver] into a well of water each night and then raise it again in the morning. This prevented the water inside from becoming disqualified and unfit for Temple use. The Sages praised Ben Katin for this great innovation that saved the Temple wasted water and the effort of refilling the Kiyor every morning. The question is, what did they do before the Muchni was invented?

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Wall Thickness Between the Tauim Part 2

SUMMARY After seeing a first printing of Tiferes Yisrael's commentary to the Mishnah, it was necessary to come up with a new, reduced wall thickness for the tauim.

In the previous post I set out to find an early printing of Tiferes Yisrael's commentary to the Mishnah in order to resolve a question about the wall thickness between the tauim. Unfortunately, first printings of Tiferes Yisrael's commentary are not all that common and sell at auction for a small fortune.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Wall Thickness Between the Tauim

Very few details are provided by the Mishnah for the dimensions of the tauim (small rooms surrounding the Sanctuary Building). In the key to his Temple Diagram, Tiferes Yisrael states what he believes to be the length of the various tauim. Based on his results it is possible to make a reasonable guess as to the thickness of the walls that separated the tauim from each other.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Keys of the Heichal Revisited

In a previous post I estimated that the Heichal Building had about 42 doors that needed keys to unlock them. A large part of this calculation assumed that the doors connecting the 38 tauim [small rooms] to each other required keys, although I could not find a direct source that this was true.

Friday, June 16, 2017

JBrick to Unveil Microscale Model of Herodian Temple at Brickworld Chicago

Some people think about Lego while they are supposed to be working, and some people think about Lego because they are working. Yitzy Kasowitz is one of those lucky individuals who is paid to design and build with Lego (once you earn a salary from it we don't call it 'playing' any more). He is a member of the Brickmania team, a company that builds and sells Lego military models. Being around all that Lego must be inspiring, because Yitzy has spun off his own company called Jbrick that designs and sells Jewish-themed Lego sets. In addition to his beautiful menorahs and Seder plates, Jbrick is about to unveil an amazing new model sure to capture the imagination of young and old alike.