Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

3 Av 5764 - July 21, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Sheyiboneh Beis Hamikdosh
Studying the Torah of the Beis Hamikdosh
& Preparation for its Rebuilding

by Osher Chaim Levene

Tears. Anguish. Ruins. A stone wall.

The glory and beauty of the Beis Hamikdosh is, alas, no more. The Jewish people find themselves in a golus where we are besieged on all fronts, where our survival is testimony to the Jewish nation being, "A lamb amongst seventy wolves." Klal Yisroel knows that we are powerless against the schemes of our enemies, armed only with our unwavering emunah in Hakodosh Boruch Hu. Our emunah is so strong and resolute that is defies despair and desolation; an emunah that is filled with visions and aspirations of the Shechinah once again residing amongst the Jewish people.

As another Tisha B'Av comes upon us, the Torah Jew reflects on the chasm in Jewish living wrought by the absence of the Beis Hamikdosh and the tragic aftermath of its churban. He knows the historic destruction, bloodshed and exile that plagued the Jewish nation after that period and which has persisted to this very day.

His anguish is relative to his loss. And he is acutely aware of the magnitude of his loss. He misses the grandeur of the magnificently constructed "House of G- d." He knows the words of Chazal, "Anyone who did not witness the Beis Hamikdosh in its glory, has not seen a beautiful building in his life." He mourns the loss of a structure that was described: "Fairest of sites, joy of the earth" (Tehillim 48:3).

Almost two thousand years after the destruction of the Second Beis Hamikdosh, Klal Yisroel longingly awaits its rebuilding along with the era of Moshiach. It yearns for the rebuilding of the ancient edifice that was the supreme "wonder of the world." And it cries bitter tears: tears knowing what the Beis Hamikdosh stood for and the extent of its magnificent contribution to Jewish spiritual life.

What are we missing?

We remember the days of yore when miracles were commonplace, when the population would regularly converge for the festivals at the Temple Mount. We are bereft of the kohanim's avodoh, without the procedure for the daily and festival korbonos. We are no longer intimately familiar with the Beis Hamikdosh's layout, its various chambers and the deportment necessary for those entering its sanctum.

The tumah of our generation reflects the physical and spiritual distance of man from his Creator; the unfortunately vast distance from the ideal kedusha vetaharoh, the holiness and purity that would permeate the Beis Hamikdosh, the "House of Holiness."

But our focus is sharply centered upon the reestablishment of the Beis Hamikdosh. It is the dream of every generation and its pledge to try to do what it takes to bring about its rebuilding. "Every generation within which the Beis Hamikdosh is not rebuilt in its days, it is as if they destroyed it" (Yerushalmi, Yoma 1:1).

The Chofetz Chaim's Dream

Once the famous Brisker Rov was informed that a certain Jew was travelling to Radin. He called the Jew in and requested that he relay an important message to the Chofetz Chaim.

Arriving in the village of Radin, the Jew immediately sought out an audience with the Chofetz Chaim, stating that he came with a message from the Brisker Rov.

"When will we merit to see the Chofetz Chaim walking barefoot in the rebuilt Beis Hamikdosh dressed with the eight clothes of the Kohen Godol?" was the Brisker Rov's inquiry.

Silent for a solitary moment, the Chofetz Chaim exclaimed that he was still waiting for that day. With his characteristic humility, illustrating his yearning for that time, he commented, "Halevai ich zol zayn a Kohen hedyot, I wish that I should at least be an ordinary Kohen!"

In his introduction to his son-in-law's work, Avodas Hakorbonos, the Chofetz Chaim laments the fact that the laws of Kodshim are almost ignored and treated like a meis mitzvah, an unburied corpse. The halochoh is that anyone who chances upon a meis mitzvah must push aside all other considerations and devote all his energies to that which others ignore.

In this vein, the Chofetz Chaim urged bnei Torah to devote their energies to the pursuit of the laws of the Beis Hamikdosh. Indeed, he would demand that the bnei Torah in his kollel studying for semichoh should learn Seder Kodshim for at least three hours a day.

Applying the same demand to himself, the Chofetz Chaim readied himself -- as a Kohen-- to be familiar with the laws and prepared to embrace the avodoh when the time came. The greatest privilege imaginable to him would be to serve as a Kohen hedyot, an ordinary Kohen contributing to the avodoh in the Third Beis Hamikdosh.

It was the Chofetz Chaim's dream that study of this area of Torah fill the Torah world so that they would be conversant and knowledgeable in this largely-ignored component of Torah.

Mifal Toras Hamikdosh is a wonderful organization that sets out to fulfill that dream and vision.

Mifal Toras Hamikdosh: Aims & Goals

Reb Avrohom Yeshayah Neuwirth of London is the founder and director of this unique institution. An alumnus of Gateshead and Mir yeshivos and the son of the unforgettable Reb Zuishe Neuwirth, Ish Meron, in 5755 (1995) he single-handedly set up Mifal Toras Hamikdosh, inspired by the comments of the Chofetz Chaim.

In his work entitled Torah Ohr (Ch. 11), the saintly Chofetz Chaim greatly encourages people to study and become proficient in the laws of Kodshim. Furthermore, he exhorts others to support, facilitate and inspire bnei Torah to undertake such studies.

The primary objective of Mifal Toras Hamikdosh as a Torah-led organization is disseminating knowledge concerning the avodoh of the Beis Hamikdosh and the laws of the korbonos.

The sacred mission of this nonprofit organization, wholly reliant upon sponsors, is to use diverse, innovative and often novel means, to promote and further an awareness, study and interest in the Beis Hamikdosh.

What does Mifal Toras Hamikdosh cover?

This organization employs various techniques to enthrall, inspire and recapture the beauty of the Beis Hamikdosh in its presentation for a wide range of audiences.

The organization covers all the diverse elements that relate to the Beis Hamikdosh: from its construction and the measurements of various chambers, its archaeological history, to the background and details regarding its elaborate and complex laws -- and of course the anticipated Third Beis Hamikdosh to be built bimheiroh beyomeinu.

Mifal Toras Hamikdosh is appropriately established in the name of Rav Eliezer ben Yaakov, the holy Tanna and author of Mishnas Midos, the tractate that details the composition and structure of the Beis Hamikdosh and its vessels.


With tireless effort and supreme devotion, Reb Avrohom has constructed miniature models of the Second Beis Hamikdosh and also the Third Beis Hamikdosh. Of course, he is continuing in the tradition set down by Rav Meir Shapira in Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin to use visual aids as a pedagogic tool.

Using a scale of six millimeters to an amoh (the unit of measure used in the Torah and by Chazal), his models offer a glimpse of the splendor and beauty of the House of G-d. With grit and determination, Reb Avrohom used his little woodworking experience to marvelous effect until his models were completed in what was a labor of love. His models are crafted from wood, plastic and metal, transforming the pages of Chazal into a living reality that models our past and our hopes.

After the first model was completed, a second more intricate model, including inner details of the Beis Hamikdosh, followed his original model. This was faithfully crafted on the 77 separate units, based upon the Tiferes Yisroel's commentary. The effort and attention to detail is breathtaking as it provides a glimpse of the layout of the Beis Hamikdosh.

Another model has now been completed of the projected Third Beis Hamikdosh, in accordance with that mentioned in Sefer Yechezkel, with the explanations of Rashi and the Tosafos Yom Tov in his work Tzuras Habayis.

International Exhibitions

His collection includes a photographic display of archaeological findings from the times of the Beis Hamikdosh. Some of these are culled from museum exhibits and from other sources. Reb Avrohom displays many posters and he also has in his possession an assortment of valuable, ancient coins. These are of great interest and assist in setting the historical context of the Second Beis Hamikdosh.

Wanting the public to see these replicas for themselves, Reb Neuwirth has proudly embarked on an international exhibition to schools, yeshivas, talmud Torahs and other educational ventures from London and Gateshead in the UK, to Boro Park in New York. He guides the participants on a "tour" of the Beis Hamikdosh using his astounding bekius in this subject to lead the "tourists" through the various chambers, fascinating audiences both young and old. This is entirely consistent with the guidelines of Mifal Toras Hamikdosh whose mission is to promote the awareness of the Beis Hamikdosh's structure.

Torah Literature

As an established marbitz Torah (responsible for the weekly "Yad Avrohom Yeshayah," in the name of the Chazon Ish, that appeared for many years), Reb Avrohom's efforts to reach out to the bnei Torah have taken the form of resetting, subsidizing and reprinting important works concerning the halachos of the Beis Hamikdosh. Three years ago, Mifal Toras Hamikdosh published the rare Ezras Kohanim on maseches Middos. This almost-forgotten sefer was written by Rav Yehoshua Yosef HaKohen of Mard, Poland, and was first published in Warsaw in 5633 (1873). A talmid of the Ishbitzer, the sefer includes his rebbe's haskomoh and that of Rav Tzoddok HaKohen. No expense was spared by Mifal Toras Hamikdosh to reprint this sefer in the most aesthetic way possible.

Another republished work (currently entering its fifth printing) is Avodas Hakorbonos by Rav Aharon HaKohen, the son-in-law of the saintly Chofetz Chaim. (His tziyon can be seen on Har Hazeisim). This treasure of a sefer covers the procedure of all the korbonos in the Beis Hamikdosh and was described as, "A clear, concise Shulchan Oruch for kohanim to master the halachos of Kodshim." The haskomos of the sefer from prewar Europe include HaRav Chaim Ozer Grodzensky and HaRav Chaim Brisker. Once again, the institution has beautifully typeset and rearranged the sefer, with accompanying diagrams, models and layout of the Beis Hamikdosh and a half-year cycle course of organized study.

Reb Neuwirth has also distributed a periodic divrei Torah sheet entitled "Toras Hamikdosh" to promote the study of this topic, hoping that it will bring his fellow Jews to a higher understanding and appreciation of the most sacred manifestation of the Divine Presence to which we can aspire.

Laying the Foundations

An ambitious project that has not yet got off the ground is the establishment of a kollel Kodshim dedicated to studying the practical avodas hakorbonos in preparation of the rebuilding of the Third Beis Hamikdosh. Also wanting to go one step further, Reb Avrohom has other projects, including a regular shiur on the halachos of Toras Hamikdosh, using the sefer Avodas Hakorbonos, with regular tests and stipends awarded to successful avreichim who have mastered these laws.

Why has he devoted so much effort, resources and energy to Mifal Toras Hamikdash?

Reb Avrohom points out how, in the same manner that tefilloh is today's substitute to the sacrificial offerings, the detailed studying of the korbonos is similarly akin to the actual enactment of the avodoh (Torah Ohr Ch.11). It may not be possible for us to physically build the Beis Hamikdosh. Nevertheless in the absence of the actual Beis Hamikdosh, studying the laws of Kodshim loudly proclaims our willingness and desire to build the Beis Hamikdosh. It is laying down the framework and foundation for its rebuilding.

Reb Avrohom Neuwirth observes the benefits of such studies, quoting the Chofetz Chaim. "When Hashem sees that we ourselves are exerting all our energies to prepare ourselves [studying the laws of the korbonos and Beis Hamikdosh], He will certainly hasten the redemption. He will rebuild His House so that we will merit witnessing the kohanim executing the avodoh."

It is for this reason that Reb Avrohom is unlikely to tire in his efforts until he fulfills the dream of every Jew to once again witness the central role of the Beis Hamikdosh in the Jewish national life. Each one of us fervently beseech Hashem: "Vehosheiv es ho'Avodoh ledevir Beisecho, reinstate the sacrificial offering in your house." Indeed, the Shemoneh Esrei concludes, "May it be your will to rebuilt the Beis Hamikdosh speedily in our days . . ."

For more information of the work of Mifal Toras Hamikdosh and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Reb Avrohom Yeshayah Neuwirth on Tel: ++(44) 208 458 2241; or Fax: ++(44) 208 731 7433. Email


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