Kenneth Cohen

More Temple Details

The main building of the Temple was known as the “Heichal.” In the Mishkan in the desert, it was known as the “Ohel Moed,” or Tent of meeting.

Only Kohanim were allowed to enter, as it contained many holy vessels. The “Incense Altar” was in this building or tent, as was the Menora, the Shulchan, and the Aron Kodesh, that was in the Holy of Holies.

The pilgrimage to the Temple three times a year, was a highly uplifting experience. People came in a weakened state, but left inspired and elevated. They were able to feel a special closeness to Hashem.

One of the highlights of their Temple visit, was the witnessing of the miracle of the Shulchan, from up close. The Kohanim would carry the Shulchan that contained the twelve loaves of the לחם הפנים or “Showbread.” They brought it to the entrance of the Heichal, for non-Kohanim to see and smell. The bread remained piping hot and fresh for a full week after it was baked! They were instructed to look and not touch this special table.

Stories like this are meant to inspire and make us realize the great loss we have, in not having a Temple in operation. The great rabbis of each generation realized this, and many would weep daily for our inability to serve G-d as we should. We must all pray more fervently that we be able to witness the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash in our lifetimes.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at