-  Being in Awe of the Beis HaMikdash

 Being in Awe of the Beis HaMikdash

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 Being in Awe of the Beis HaMikdash

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Being in Awe of the Beis HaMikdash

By Esther Livingstone

It is a mitzvas asei to conduct oneself with awe and reverence in the presence of the Beis HaMikdash, because the Torah tells us “וּמִקְדָשִׁי תִּירָאוּ”- “And My Sanctuary you shall revere.”(Vayikra 19:30).  And the benefit and impact the Beis Hamikdash has on us depends on the degree of reverence and awe in which we hold it.  

The mitzvah above, of reverence, has been extended by Chazal to include a Shul/Beis Hamedrash.  As such, one must behave in them with proper respect and fear, for they are considered a מִקְדָשׁ מְעַט.

   הִקְדַּ֗שְׁתִּי אֶת־הַבַּ֤יִת הַזֶּה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בָּנִ֔תָה לָשׂוּם־שְׁמִ֥י שָׁ֖ם עַד־עוֹלָ֑ם ...

 וְהָי֨וּ עֵינַ֧י וְלִבִּ֛י שָׁ֖ם כׇּל־הַיָּמִֽים׃    

“I have consecrated this house which you have built, to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart shall ever be there.”

(Melachim 1-9:3- HKB”H to שׁלמה המלך)



  1. In demonstrating יִרְאָה /awe, what six things are we prohibited to do on Har Habayis?

  2. If one wants to get to the other side of Har Habayis -on the outside- may one enter it and use it as a short-cut?

  3.  When entering Har Habayis, in which direction should one face and walk- to the right or left?

  4. Which individuals would circle around from the left to the right, and why would they do this?

  5. Upon completion of any avodah in the Beis HaMikdash, in what manner does one take their leave?

  6. Before which gate of the Azarah should a person not act frivolously, and why?

  7. In what manner, and with what emotions, should one walk in the Azarah?

  8. Is it permitted to sit in the Azarah?

  9. How were members of the Sanhedrin, which was located in the Azarah, able to sit while in judgement?

  10.  Since we no longer merit to have the Beis HaMikdash, does the Har Habayis still maintain its original kedusha, and are we still obligated in all the details of the mitzvah of וּמִקְדָשִׁי תִּירָאוּ?

  11.   Is it permitted to make a menorah that replicates the one that was in the Beis HaMikdash?

  12.   Are we permitted to make a building following the design and measurements of the Beis HaMikdash?

  13.  Can we make a replica of any utensil used in the Beis HaMikdash whose exact dimensions are known to us?



  1. It is prohibited: to wear shoes; to hold one’s walking stick; to have dust on one’s feet; to publicly display money; to spit; and to dress inappropriately. (Berachos 9:6- HBH 7:2)

  2. No, one should rather walk around it from the outside as one may only enter Har Habayis for the purpose of a mitzvah. (HBH 7:2 –Berachos 62b).

  3. One should face and walk to the right, and circle around in this manner. (HBH 7:3).

  4. People to whom a severe event has occurred, such as an 

    אָבֵל /mourner, or someone who has been ostracized. People would ask this person why they are circling towards the left, and upon hearing their answer would be able to offer comforting words or good advice. (HBH 7:3)

  1. One does not turn around and leave with his back to the הֵיכָל/ Heichal, as this is improper.  Rather, one walks backwards slightly, and then slowly turns and walks sideways, until he leaves the Azarah. (Yoma 53a- HBH 7:4)  Everyone takes their leave in this manner, including Kohanim, Levi’im and the Anshei Ma’amad.

  2.  Opposite The Gate of Nicanor, which is on the east side, because it is positioned directly opposite the קֹדשׁ הקדשׁים / Kodesh HaKodashim. (HBH 7:5)  Rashi says this applies even to someone standing outside the Har Habayis. (Berachos 54a).

  3. One should walk in a dignified manner, and should feel great awe and trembling. This is because it says in Melachim l 9:3 “...My eyes and My heart shall ever be there “וְהָי֨וּ עֵינַ֧י וְלִבִּ֛י שָׁ֖ם כׇּל־הַיָּמִֽים “, and in Tehillim 55:15 “We would walk in the House of G-d with fervor”- בּבֵית אלֹקים נהלך בְּרָגֶשׁ. (HBH 7:5).  Visiting the Beis HaMikdash was not (and is not!) to be a casual activity, but rather should be a deep emotional experience, where one can attempt to communicate with and feel closer to Hashem.

  4. No one is allowed to sit in the Azarah at any time, except for Kings of the House of David.  As it says “And King David entered and sat before Hashem.” -Shmuel ll 7:18.    Rashi says we derive this ruling from Devarim 18:5 “...has chosen him... to stand and to serve...” (Yoma 25a).

  5. The Sanhedrin was able to sit because its members met in the half of the לִשְׁכַּת הַגָזִית /Chamber of Hewn Stone which was not consecrated. (HBH 7:6)

  6.  Yes, Har Habayis maintains its original kedusha!  Thus, we must hold the site of the Beis HaMikdash in great reverence and awe, and keep all aspects of the mitzvah of וּמִקְדָשִׁי תִּירָאוּ - as when it was standing; and there are many areas where it is forbidden to go, as we are all considered as מֵתִים טְמֵאֵי   /ritually impure... (We learn about this “eternal kedusha” in part from the pasuk: “אֶת שַׁבְּתֹתַי תִּשְׁמֹרוּ וּמִקְדָשִׁי תִּירָאוּ.” (Vayikra 19:30).  Chazal say that just as the observance of Shabbos applies for eternity, so too, reverence for the Beis HaMikdash applies for eternity.) (HBH 7:7)

  7.  We may make a similar one with 5 or 8 branches, but not one with 7 branches -as had the original menorah- unless it is not made of metal. (HBH 7:10) 

  8.  We may not make a building following the design and measurements of any part of the Beis HaMikdash, but making a model in miniature is permitted.  Emphasizing its uniqueness, and not duplicating it, leads to reverence, says the Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 254). (HBH 7:10)

  9.  The Rambam only mentions the Menorah and the Shulchan as being prohibited to make. The Minchas Chinuch  concludes that this prohibition applies to making a replica of any utensil whose exact dimensions are known to us. (HBH 7:10 -Moznaim p 111)

The commentaries on the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 123:1) explain that since our tefilla was instituted to replace the korbanos, we should conclude our tefilla in the same manner as the Kohanim departed from their avodah - by retreating backwards.  This is how “a servant departs from his master’s presence.” (Yoma 53b)

Rambam: When a person is moved to awe by the splendour of the Beis HaMikdash, he will become spiritually conditioned to carry out the mitzvos.

Abarbanel: The mitzvos and the Beis HaMikdash are not independent of each other. If one accepts the mitzvos, he will then also stand in awe of the Mikdash, wherein rests the Schechina , Who gave the mitzvos to us.




  1. Sefer Ha’Avodah- Rambam- With commentary by Rav Eliyahu  

Touger- Pub-Moznaim -2007


  1. ספר עבוֹדה -Rambam- -With commentary. Editor-Yockai Makbili-  

Mishne Torah Project & Machon HaMikdash - 2012. 


  1. The Mitzvot-By Rabbi Abraham Chill - Keter Pub. House-1974

  2. The Taryag Mitzvos-  Rabbi A.Y. Kahan- Keser Torah Publications- 1988               


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