The corners of the altar.
The corners of the altar.Israel news photo: Temple Institute

The Temple Institute in Jerusalem announced Friday the completion of a model of the biblical altar which G-d, through Moses, commanded the nation of Israel to build at the Mount of Eval (Ebal) overlooking Shechem:  

“And there you shall build an altar unto Hashem your God, an altar of stones: you shall lift up no iron tool upon them. You shall build the altar of Hashem your G-d of unhewn stones.” (Dvarim / Deuteronomy 27:5,6).

The model altar / Temple Institute

For many years, the Institute has been examining ways of building a model of the altar from whole stones that had not been touched by iron tools. In the end, the Institute commissioned artist Assaf Kidron of Givot Olam Farm at Itamar, Samaria, to design and create a model which conforms with the specifications described by authoritative Jewish sage Rambam (Maimonides) – one cubit wide, one cubit deep, and three cubits high. 

It has been placed in the Institute's visitor center.

The rocks were collected from the Dead Sea as documented in the accomanying video. The additional material for filling the cracks between the stones was collected with a gold-plated shovel, to prevent any contact with the iron.

"The act of building this model is a statement by the nation of Israel toward the Heavens, that we really want a Temple and are doing everything possible to be ready for it,” artist Kidron said after completing the work. “As an artist from a priestly family, the construction of the altar connected with the aspiration to connect matter with spirit, earth to heaven, and man to his G-d,” he explained.

The Institute's management said that “the visitors are very moved by the model and the eyes do not remain dry.”