When will the reconstruction of the Holy Temple Commence?

There are two approaches to answering this question.

One approach is based on the geo-political dynamics of the Temple Mount, and the other approach is based on the desire of the nation of Israel and her fellow nations to rebuild the Holy Temple.

Geo-politically, the Temple Mount has to be cleared of the Dome of the Rock and the mosques which are presently located upon it before the physical rebuilding of the Holy Temple can begin. Many scenarios can be imagined which would accomplish this, the most promising, and not necessarily the most far-fetched, would entail Moslem recognition of the Mount as the intended location for the rebuilt Temple. With the acquiescence of the Moslem world the Moslem structures currently on the Mount would be disassembled and reassembled elsewhere. traditionally, Moslem texts, beginning with the Koran, accept the prophecies of the return of the Jewish nation and the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. Today, of course, radical Islam holds sway over the Moslem world, and until this phenomenon is defeated, the likelihood of a peaceful preparation for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple remains nil.

More to the point, and more essential to the rebuilding of the Holy Temple is the desire of the nation of Israel to fulfill G-d's commandment to build the Temple and renew the Divine service. At this moment in time the nation of Israel is struggling with its own identity. Unfortunately there are those who would like to jettison our obligations to G-d and relinquish the Temple Mount to the Moslems. However, at the same time there is a growing desire among the people of Israel to return to the Mount and rebuild the Holy Temple. This growing Temple consciousness is dependent upon education and awareness. This, of course, is where the Temple Institute see its mission. As we recover our people's knowledge and traditions concerning the Holy Temple and make them known to both the Jewish and Gentile public at large, this knowledge takes root and the movement for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple grows, and as it does, it begins to make its way to the forefront of the world's agenda. I mention Gentiles because they are mentioned in the prophecies specifically in connection with the Holy Temple, which is referred to as "a house of prayer for all nations." (Isaiah 56:7)

There would seem to be a connection between the first answer and my second: A strong and steadfast movement towards the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, expressed by both Israel and the nations could have a profound, sobering and enlightening impact on the response of the Moslem world.

Is the Temple Institute building the Holy Temple offsite?

No, the Temple Institute is not building the Temple offsite. We are building a stone altar offsite so that when the opportunity arrives we can move it to its proper location on the Mount. The Divine service, including the offerings can begin before the building of the Temple itself, once the altar is built and standing in its proper place.

The Temple Institute will wait for as long as it takes. The time for the building of the Temple certainly isn't up to us. As for the ashes of the red heifer, while these are essential, the possibility to temporarily proceed with the Divine service at the Holy Temple, when the majority of the nation of Israel is ritually impure, as is the case today, exists according to Torah. This is in order to assist the nation to begin, or continue, the service, even during extreme situations.

In short, it is not "technical" issues that are holding up the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, as these can be worked out. What is need is the will of the people of Israel, and the nations, to do what is necessary and build the house of G-d.

Where is the Ark of the Covenant Located?

The Ark of the Covenant is one of the most fascinating of all Temple-related subjects. There are many theories about what happened to the Ark of the Covenant, and speculation abounds as to its actual location. Some people think it was taken to the Vatican, together with other Temple vessels, such as those depicted on the Roman monument, the Arch of Titus. There are many authentic, ancient historical chronicles, and even more popular legends, that attest to many sacred vessels having been taken away to Rome. However, this does not apply to the most holy feature of the First Temple, the Ark.

While some claim to have evidence that the ark is in Ethiopia, and of course, moviegoers were treated to a fanciful version of the story in "Raiders of the Lost Ark," in reality, the expression "lost" ark is not an accurate description for the Jewish people's point of view - because we have always known exactly where it is. So the Ark is "Hidden," and hidden quite well, but it is not lost.

Tradition records that even as King Solomon built the First Temple, he already knew, through Divine inspiration, that eventually it would be destroyed. Thus Solomon, the wisest of all men, oversaw the construction of a vast system of labyrinths, mazes, chambers and corridors underneath the Temple Mount complex. He commanded that a special place be built in the bowels of the earth, where the sacred vessels of the Temple could be hidden in case of approaching danger. Midrashic tradition teaches that King Josiah of Israel, who lived about forty years before the destruction of the First Temple, commanded the Levites to hide the Ark, together with the original menorah and several other items*, in this secret hiding place which Solomon had prepared.

This location is recorded in our sources, and today, there are those who know exactly where this chamber is. And we know that the ark is still there, undisturbed, and waiting for the day when it will be revealed. An attempt was made some few years ago to excavate towards the direction of this chamber. This resulted in widespread Moslem unrest and rioting. They stand a great deal to lose if the Ark is revealed - for it will prove to the whole world that there really was a Holy Temple, and thus, that the Jews really do have a claim to the Temple Mount. (The official position of the Islamic Wakf, the body that governs over the Temple Mount, is that there never was a Holy Temple, and that the Jews have no rights whatsoever to the place).

* such as the staff of Aaron that brought forth almond blossoms during the controversy involving Korach (Numbers 16); the jar of manna that had been placed in the Holy of Holies as a testimony; and the jar of anointing oil.

Why do you leave out the "o" G-d?

Why do we leave out the "o" when referring to G-d?According to Jewish tradition we do not write out the Creator's name in any language, unless as part of a printed book which we know will be preserved with dignity and treated as holy. Refraining from writing out His name is a sign of reverence and awe for the Creator. If this name were to be written out and then, the paper on which it was written would become lost or destroyed, or even if it was brought into an unclean place, this would be showing disrespect and it would be a desecration of His name.