Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto ("RaMChaL"):

Let me now discuss the Temple Mount. This is the place from which the officers of the World of Asiyah receive, and thus its walls, which set bounds for all the light contained within it, total five hundred rods by five hundred rods. [The measuring rod is six cubits long - Ezekiel 40:5.]

The rationale of these dimensions is bound up with the fact that all the lights that govern the running of the world work together in complete accord and perfect unison. They all join and become interconnected with each other instead of going each in its own direction. All their faces are turned towards one place, and likewise the spirit in them is directed to one place. Ezekiel refers to this in his vision [of the Chariot]: "Wherever the spirit was to go, they went" (Ezekiel 1:12). Therefore nothing is ever executed through Kingly Power [Malchut] that was not commanded by the King [Zeir Anpin], Who is the Tree of Life. This is a journey of five hundred years. That is why the measure of the Temple Mount is the greatest of all: five hundred. But it did not spread out any further, for as she [Malchut] receives, so she gives.

Greater size of the future Temple Mount

This future Temple will be superior to the earlier Temples. In the First Temple, each of the four sides of the Temple Mount was five hundred cubits in length, while in the Third Temple each side will be five hundred rods. The use of the rod as the unit of measurement in the Third Temple is bound up with fact that it will be built through the revelation of the hidden "Beginning" [Keter], as I discussed earlier [see "Measuring the House with a measuring rod and linen cord" p. 70]. Note that there are no chambers, rooms or cells on the rest of the Temple Mount [i.e. beyond the Outer Courtyard], because God's providence over His other creatures is not so directly attuned to each individual creature as it is in the case of man.

Gates of the Temple Mount

There are five gates in the walls of the Temple Mount, two to the south and one on each of the other three sides. The height and width of the gates are the same as those of all the other Temple gates. Understand that the wall itself is ADNY, as I have already explained (see "Walls and gates" p. 77) while the doors of the gates are simple letters of ADNY. The Aleph and Yud stand to the right and the Dalet and Nun to the left, and they are the ones that actually close the gate.

The light shining inside the walls is all drawn down through the name YHVH blessed-be-He. This is why it is written: "This is the gate to YHVH" (Psalms 118:20), for this is the name that radiates and goes forth through the gate.

Whenever any of these gates is opened, each one has known letters that stand out and flash up and down. These letters are in command of the "heads" of their particular gate [cf. Psalms 24:7] and therefore when these letters shine, those called to the gates may come forward and stand at the entrance to receive their due. Afterwards they return to their places. These letters are then hidden away again and can no longer be seen, and the gate is closed.

In the case of the gates of the Temple Courtyards, thirteen letters stand out at each gate, and similarly the number of those coming to each gate is thirteen. The three gates thus have a total of thirty-nine recipients according to the numerical value of the first three letters of YHVH when expanded [יוד הא ואו], for these are the lights that open the gate.

Jerusalem south of the Temple Mount

Let me now explain to you a very great secret relating to the four directions on the Temple Mount. It is written: "He set me down on a very high mountain, and on it was a structure in the form of a city on the south" (Ezekiel 40:2). Thus we find that the city is to the south, while the Temple is to the north. This involves a very deep secret, so make every effort to understand.

Malchut is inclined towards the left-hand column of Gevurah, while Tiferet is on the side of Mercy [Rachamim, which inclines more to the right-hand column of Chesed]. These two opposites must join together in order for the world to be run in a balanced way. The essence of pairing [Zivug] and connection [Chibur] is when right joins with left. Since the Temple is the place where this pairing and connection comes about, both right and left must be present. For when the left-hand force in this place is joined to the right-hand force, the harshness of the left is mitigated. All the different levels and branches of Gevurah are then sweetened through the influence of this right-hand force, and all become tempered with mercy.

This is why the Temple, which is the place where this joining takes place, is to the north, while the city is to the south. For it is after the sweetening of the north [Gevurah] through the influence of the right [Chesed] that the city emerges in this way. Understand this.

The four sides of the Temple Mount

You should understand that all parts of the Temple Mount, west, north, east and south, are in use. Even though the Temple itself is situated to the north, the southern area of the Mount has great power, and for this reason the area between the Temple building and the south side of the mountain is greater than on any other side. The second largest area is between the Temple and the eastern side of the Mount, corresponding to Mercy [Rachamim]. Third in size is the area to the north of the Temple, which is on the left [Gevurah], while the smallest area is on the west [Malchut], for this is the one that receives from the others and is less than them.

As to the five gates: The two gates on the south are the gates of Keter and Chochmah, corresponding to the Yud [of YHVH] and its cusp. The other gates are those of Binah [north], Tiferet [east] and Malchut [west], corresponding to the first Heh, Vav and final Heh of the Name blessed-be-He.





Translated by Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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