TheHOPE ~ התקווה
The New Vision 
for Israel & Zion


Dr. Yitzhaq Hayut-Man 21.01.2009 05:50
THE FUTURE TEMPLE IS ELECTR(on)IC - New Israel - Jerusalem Temple

Israel’s Restoration in Ezekiel’s Visions*& the 4 words that he introduced to Hebrew - Hashmal - “Electricity”; Tel-Aviv; Qne Midah – “measure”/“scale”; and Ta’im – “Cells” - and their implications for the design of the Future Jerusalem Temple


This article explores the importance of the prophet Ezekiel’ visions for the building of the Temple of Jerusalem in our times, and especially that of the vision of presenting the detailed plan of the temple in front of all Israel (“Thou Son of Man: describe the House to the House of Yisra’el, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern” - Ez. 43:10). This is seen as the means for national and global restitution and for healing the hearts of Israel and attaining Israel’s universal vocation among the nations. The task of overcoming the current revulsion and fear of building the Temple in our times is assisted with four terms that Ezekiel added to the Biblical lexicon: Hashmal - “Electricity”; Tel-Aviv (nowadays Israel's leading city); Qne Midah – “measure” or “scale”; and Ta’im – “Cells”. The Hashmal , in its contemporary meaning, now allows building “a Temple of Fire from Heaven” as mentioned by RASHI – a virtual Temple of Light that entails no danger of confrontation. The adoption of the “Road Map” of Ezekiel – which starts at Tel Aviv and brings to the temple – gives us a script for a universal reconciliation of Israel through the temple. The pattern language of the Qne Midah expands the measures of the temple and explains how it can be erected simultaneously at the Earthly Jerusalem and through the global cyberspace. The functional and reflexive observation of the Temple’s Ta’im allows considering the multiple cells of the future temple as cellular matrix for the emerging collective body of humankind – the enacting, at the close of the sixth Biblical millennium, of the Genesis Project – “Let Us make/become Adam” (Gen. 1:26).

Ezekiel Differs from the Torah: in the Logos of Redemption, Measures of the Temple and the Holy Service

At the (Feb. 06) Shabbat va’Era (in which there is a supplementary scriptural reading from Ezekiel) I had the privilege to hear from rabbi Binyamin Lau a lecture that opened for me a door to a new understanding of the importance of the Book of Ezekiel for our times. Later that week I also attend a conference of academic researchers about the Book of Ezekiel at the Ben Gurion University. The lectures of the rabbi and of the researcher raised a will to explore the meaning for our times of the visions of Ezekiel in all their modes.

Rabbi Lau has shown in his lecture a contention about the course of the Redemption, between its description in the Torah and in the Book of Ezekiel. “the Four Languages of Redemption” (arba leshonot shel Ge’ulah) at the book of Exodus (6:6-8) are well known: “Therefore say to the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out (1) from under the burdens of Mizrayim, and I will deliver (2) you out of their bondage, and I will redeem (3) you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgment; and I will take (4) you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brings you out from the burdens of Mizrayim. And I will bring (5) you into the land, which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ...”. Only after a tremendous divine intervention, in the exile and at Horev (Mount Sinai) and bringing all the people to the Sinai Epiphany, would there come the return from exile and the entry to the Land of Israel. 

But in the prophecy of Ezekiel (36:22-28), the order is different: “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God; I do not do this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for my holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the nations, to which you came. And I will sanctify my great Name, which was profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in the midst of them; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord, says the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean; from all your uncleanliness and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to follow my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them. And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

The principle according to Ezekiel, therefore, that the processes of restitution and completion of the People of Israel will be possible only after the Aliyah to the Holy land. We cannot attain a New Heart and a New Spirit, but only through our living here. While it seems as if the Return to Zion has already happened or is happening – but other events in the prophecy of Ezekiel, such as the resurrection of the dead, the establishment of the temple, the restitution of the hearts and the reception of the Spirit of God among us, are still ahead of us.

At the researchers’ conference at Ben Gurion University I found, that the contentions between the Book of Ezekiel and the Torah are still more. Not only there are differences between the Book of Va’yiqra-Leviticus and Ezekiel concerning the rules of sacrifices, but the whole operation of the temple explained there differs. In the temple of Ezekiel’s Vision there is no incense altar, no Menorah-candelabra and no Ark of Covenant, and perhaps most strange – no High Priest. It seems there is even no hierarchy among the priests, but only division to two types – the Kohanim bene Tsadoq (Sadducee Priests) as Toadyism-saints who are eligible to serve at the Holy, and the others – who are eligible to be Levites.

The halakhic Midrashim-exegeses seek to explain the differences between Ezekiel and other Biblical sources in various ways.  But as presented by the researchers, these differences do not issue from negligence, but issue from a difference conception of the worship in the temple and of the Divine Presence in it. As we shall see in the following, it is possible to understand that also the dimensions of the Temple of Ezekiel’s Temple are different from those of the Tabernacle, or the First and the Second Temples.
The Sages even thought to conceal the Book of Ezekiel from the Biblical canon, because its rules did not reconcile with Torah teachings: “That man is remembered for blessing, whose name is Hannanyah ben Hizqiyah, that, if it was not for him the Book of Ezekiel would have been concealed, as (some of) its rulings contradicted Torah teachings. What did he do? He had 3 hundred containers of oil raised to an attic where he set and reconciled them (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 13/b, Menahot 45/a). And if we wonder, why did Hannanyah ben Hizqiyah need so many oil lamps in his attic? Perhaps to get near – as much as he could – to experience of lighting and electricity.
Because the same story also repeats at tractate Hagigah (13/a), where there is added another reason for the question of hiding the book: “It happened that there was a young boy who was reading at the house of his rabbi in the Book of Ezekiel and he was knowledgeable about Hashmal (nowadays “Electricity”, see below chapter on Hashmal and the electrical temple) and there came a fire from the Hashmal  and burnt him; they (the sages) sought to conceal the book of Ezekiel, but Hannanyah ben Hizqiyah told them: if he is so wise, are all as wise?”

Nowadays, when every one uses electricity, the prophecies of Ezekiel may be read in a way that was not possible to the sages and the traditional commentators. Electricity, which flows in electronic circuits and through neural cells in the brain, is the ultimate modeling medium that can produce any form. We can nowadays build light shows and Internet electric-virtual models, so that every person would see spectacles somewhat like those seen by Ezekiel.

And as Ezekiel was commanded to show the plan of the House of God to the “House of Israel”, so they may be ashamed of their iniquities, we could observe the virtual model of the Temple of Ezekiel as a dynamic and interactive simulation model, which can change form and shape according to changing interpretations. With such a model we may also explore the destiny of Israel – should it be “a nation that dwells alone” as in the curse of Balaam, or “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”, namely a priestly nation that supplies vital service for all humankind.

Understanding the innovations that are opened to us through the visions of Ezekiel may be supported by discussing four unique prophetic terms that the Book of Ezekiel introduced to the language of the scriptures:
(A) “Tel Aviv” – the place of residence of the prophet; (B) Hashmal, which appears right at the first revelation;
(C) Qne Midah – “measure” or “scale”; and (D) Ta’im – “Cells”. These terms give us a kind of “road map” for national restitution, and from their combination we may build a Merkavah (vehicle) for a new understanding of the temple and the feasibility of building it.

Our point of departure will therefore be – like it was for Ezekiel – at Tel Aviv. The contemporary city of Tel Aviv is the symbol of the current Israeli reality, and we (like the people of the Dead Sea sect, who were much influenced by the visions of Ezekiel) shall examine possibilities of alternative national design. 

A – The Place of Tel Aviv in the Redemptive Road Map

Immediately after Ezekiel experienced the amazing vision of the Merkavah – “Then I came to the exiles at Tel Aviv, that dwelt by the river of Kevar (“immediately”), and I sat where they sat, and remained there overwhelmed among them for seven days” (Ezekiel 3:15). “Tel Aviv” for Ezekiel is the city of exiles which causes him unease, to “remain there overwhelmed among them”.

Surprisingly, Tel Aviv reappeared at the modern Shivat Tsion (Return to Zion). When it soon became clear that the first independent Jewish neighborhood outside from Jaffa, Ahuzat Bayit (homestead), is destined to become an independent city, its founders sought an appropriate name, which will commemorate the prophet of the State of Israel – Binyamin Ze’ev Herzel. Since Herzel had written a utopian Zionist novel called “Altneuland” (Old-New Land), when the novel was translated to Hebrew – the translator, Nahum Sokolov, chose for its title the name of the name of the city mentioned by Herzel – “Tel Aviv”: “Tel” (meaning in Hebrew “ancient mound”) is associated with past and destruction, while “Aviv” (meaning in Hebrew “springtime”) is associated with renewal and blossoming.

Tel Aviv was the first “Hebrew City”, and the outstanding creation of the new Zionism. The Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel was proclaimed at Tel Aviv, and the Arab propagandists were used to call Israel “The State of Tel Aviv” and its government “The Tel Aviv Government”. The article of Tsevi Tsameret in this collection presents the contradictory cultural relationship between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as mutually exclusive – two different and contradictory approaches to the future Israel identity. Tel Aviv “The city in the sands” (in Hebrew Hol) is also “the secular city” (Hol in Hebrew is also “secular”) and the symbol of secularity, innovation and living the moment.

But the Book of Ezekiel charts a kind of alternative-utopian “road Map”, which starts in Tel Aviv, the city of exile and desecration of the Lord’s Name, and leads to the City of Sanctified Name – “and the name (Shem) of the city from that day shall be YHWH shamah (the Lord is there)” (Ezekiel 48:35).

For corroboration for this possibility I shall bring a family memory that indicates that there was a prophetic spirit also in the foundation of the contemporary Tel Aviv.

My grandfather, the late Yitzhaq Hayutman, was among the five founders of Tel Aviv. In the collection haBonim haRishonim (the First Buildrs), which was published at the occasion of Tel Aviv’s 30th birthday, the poet Avigdor haMe’iri wrote an article called “The Heavenly Tel Aviv”, in which he presented m grandfather as an enthusiastic visionary, whom the small-minded residents of “the City of Hol (sand/mundane) made fun of his grandiose visions.

The article ends in these words: “.. and what if, if ever even the Bible shall be forbidden us?! We shall produce a new Bible! Jerusalem is denied us? Here, we are building a New Jerusalem….   Unless I believed that we still have the capacity to start all over again – then I would not been a Jew, I would have been a heretic to the principle of principles! … So, I asked, do you wish that Tel Aviv would be instead of Jerusalem? – He looked at me for a moment, and only then said in despair: If only it depended on my will! … either we shall become a Light for the Nations – or we shall perish”.

(An interesting fact, which we shall expound upon later, is that the name “Tel Aviv” is generally written in the acronym “TA”. In the word TA (Cell) there is a marking of progress from the end back to the beginning, from the final Hebrew letter T’av to the first letter Aleph, a move of Teshuvah (Return/Repentance/Answer), which completes the “AT” from Aleph to Tav, of “Bereshit bara Elohim et haShamayin ve’Et ha’Aretz” (In the beginning/Headwise God created the Heavens and the Earth”). In the following we shall find how the “TA” (cell) provides an answer and realization to the Thought of Creation).

B - Qne Midah (Scales/Measures) for planning the Future Temple

At the close of his series of visions, Ezekiel was taken out of Tel Aviv, “the hand of the Lord was upon me, and brought me there. In the visions of God he brought me into the land of Yisra’el, and set me on a very high mountain, upon which was something like the structure of a city to the south” (Ezekiel 40:1-2). There, at the gate of the city, he met an angel who held a Qne Midah – measuring reed – in his hand to show him the measure of the city-temple, in order to tell them later to the whole House of Israel.

In the contemporary idiom of map-making, the Qne Midah is the scale which is needed for translating the map to the terrain. In order to understand the plan that Ezekiel received, it is advisable to first look at its scale.

Ezekiel apparently presents a measured and detailed plan (albeit not that clear), and in the end he was commanded "Thou Son of Man: describe the House to the House of Yisra’el, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern" (Ez. 43:10). The question then rises – what sort of measure or scale should we employ in order to measure and interpret this master-plan?

The word madod - to measure - appears 16 times in the Hebrew Bible, and 12 of them are in the Book of Ezekiel. Later on, during the restoration of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 3:11-30), they again used "midah" (a term that appears there 7 times).

In principle, there is no reason why the future temple aught to be build in the size of the former temples, their location or form: the Tabernacle at the Gilgal did not have the same form as the Tabernacle in Sinai; the Tabernacle at Shiloh did not have the same form as that at the Gilgal; the Temple of Solomon did not resemble the Tabernacle at Shiloh, neither in its size nor its construction materials: and Herod's Temple did not resemble the Temple of Solomon.

Generally, though, people of the Halakhah conceive of the visionary future temple in Ezekiel in the form of the Second Temple. According to tractate Midot (chapter 2, mishnah 1) "The Temple Mount was 500 cubits by 500 cubits" – appreciably less than its current area. Likewise the researchers often take the Temple vision of Ezekiel to be based on the description of the First Temple before its destruction.  In any case, the future temple is generally conceived within the dimensions of the First and the Second Temple – all contained within an area of 500x500 cubits, and apparently allowing reconstruction within the existing Temple Mount.

But what is written in Ezekiel expressly denies this possibility. In the beginning, the measurement with the measuring reed seems quite usual: "" (Ez. 40:5-8). So far, we are dealing with reasonable measures that researchers can compare with structures known from archeology.

But in the sequel, when we reach the outer dimensions of the temple, it becomes more complicated (42:15-20).

What is discussed here, so it seems, is a tract of 3000x3000 "Ama Atsilah" (royal cubit) of a cubit and handbreadth each. There are many different estimates for the length of the cubit, and we shall not dwell on them here. But assuming that such a cubit is at least 52 cm, what we have here is a large measure – of over 1.56 kilometers. Assuming that this is a square tract – it is appreciably larger than the whole Old City. If we regard this measure as an indication, as a general "Qne Midah" (scale), which can be adapted to the local conditions, we find that length of the wall that surrounds Ezekiel's Temple is fairly similar to the length of the contemporary Old City walls (with all their projections) which were built by Suleiman the Magnificent.

Moreover, Ezekiel's Temple is also related to a whole city the walls of which have twelve gates for the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and in its schematic square – each side has a length of (five hundred and four thousand measures", in the measure of the reed, and its circumference is eighteen thousand reeds (48:30-34) – namely over 14 kilometers each side, more than the whole modern Jerusalem.

However, the immense measures of Ezekiel’s Temple are ratified in the Dead Sea Scrolls, which have been found and published only after the establishment of the State of Israel. The members of the sect called themselves “the Sons of Tsadoq”, exactly like the priests in Ezekiel’s visionary Temple, and it is clear that the Book of Ezekiel was important for them, as copies of it were found at the Qumran caves.  In the original scripture of the sect – “the Temple Scroll” which was investigated by professor Yiga’el Yadin,  there appears a temple with outer measures of “about one thousand and six hundred cubits” in length and width.  This measure is less than the three thousand “Amma Atsilah” (royal cubits) of Ezekiel’s vision, but is very much greater than the “five hundred cubits by five hundred cubits” of the Second Temple and tractate Midot (chapter 2, 1). (It is interesting that the scale between the Second Temple and the visionary temple of the Dead Sea sect is about 1:3.1, namely an approximation of π – the ratio between the diameter and circumference of a circle.) We shall return to the feasibility of this temple in the sequel.

“The Book of Revelation” of John (or the Apocalypse), which seals the Christian Bible is a Christian adaptation of an apocryphal-apocalyptic Jewish sectarian book  which must have been much influenced by the Book of Ezekiel (there appear, for example, the same four “Living Beings” of the chariot that were seen by Ezekiel first on the river Kevar and then at the renewed temple, but in the Book of Revelation (4:6-9; 19:4) they appear upon “the Sea of Crystal” in front of the Divine throne set on earth.) Just as the Book of Ezekiel ends with the vision of the new temple and Holy City, the Book of Revelation ends with the descent from heaven of the New Jerusalem (chapter 21) that has 12 gates with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, which is also measured with a measuring reed, and it is all of it a temple (21:22) illuminated by the Divine Glory. The dimensions of the city are apparently stupendous – a square (or even a cube) of 12,000 furlongs (more than 2,400 kilometers) each side, but simultaneously – the measure of its walls is 144 (cubits in the cubit of a man”, which is the measure of the measuring angel (just like in Ezekiel).

The writer and researcher of ancient mystery, John Michell, studied the measures of the New Jerusalem in the Revelation of John, and found it to be a diagrammatic expression of the cosmic ideal of the ancient world. This diagram is always expressed by the same numbers, even though in different scales that suit the particular contexts and applications – and which appears, among other places, in the Great Pyramid of Gizeh, the ancient observatory-temple of Stonehenge, in the Chapel of Mary in Glastonbury in England, and in the description of the ideal city of Plato.  Michell shows that the measures of the New Jerusalem in the Book of Revelation harmonize two different scales, which represent the ordered cosmos – the heavenly (the macrocosm) and the human (the microcosm).
Anyway, there is here a whole sacred tradition that defines the extent of the holy domain as well above the measures of the contemporary Old City of Jerusalem – perhaps the extent of “the Holy Basin”, a term pertaining to the search for contemporary political solutions for the holy places of Jerusalem. 

The circumference of the visionary temple of Ezekiel is quite similar, therefore, to the circumference of the present Old City. So it is actually that these immense measures indicate an alternative way, more modest and apparently more feasible, to the realization of the Jerusalem Temple. There is no need to insist on an exactly square plan, but for a plan that includes all the relevant measures and factors. There is no need; neither to straighten the whole site by an earthquake, nor by explosives. It is possible to envision the future temple through a plan for development and renewal of the entire Old City, without need for destruction and new building. The very existing buildings of the Old City could – and can already today – serve as the Cells and Chambers of the Temple.

To better understand this possibility, we must examine the topic of the Cells of the future temple, from which we may understand the real need  for the temple – the pertinent reasons for establishing the temple in our times, whether virtual or real.

C – Coordination-Cells for the Restitution of Israel

The Ta – “Cell” or “Cella” – which is the first mentioned and most peripheral element in the Temple of Ezekiel’s Vision – is an example of the innovations that the vision of Ezekiel suggests to us concerning the worship in the temple in the future – namely in our own times. The concept of the cell is nowadays the basis of all the biological sciences, but it was discovered only in 1665, and was called “Cella” as associated with the European monastery cells, which are an historical offspring of the temple’s cella.
There are no cells mentioned at the Temple of Solomon. Though a generation later King Rehav’am had cells – "when the king went into the house of the Lord, that the guard bore them, and brought them back into the guard chambers" (Ta'e haRatsim) (1Kings 14:28, and same in 2Chronicles 12:11), but their usage was secondary. In the Second Temple were counted 38 cells (tractate Midot 37/a), which surrounded three sides the Holy of Holies on three stories; about which, in my humble opinion, the usual explanations are unsatisfactory. And here, in the temple vision of Ezekiel (which comes right after the vision of the resurrection of the dry bones) there are mentioned great many elements of “Cells” and leshakhot - “chambers”.

Let me reiterate: in spite of the ceremonial exactitude of the measurement, the description of the temple in Ezekiel is far from clear and the number of the interpreters the number of different models that were offered – models that differ completely. I shall not try here an architectural analysis of the Temple of Ezekiel’s Vision, but in my humble opinion – in many instances Ezekiel was guided by the measuring angel by what is nowadays called “Pattern Language of Design” which is currently gaining an important status, both in architectural design and in computer programming.  According to this approach, the plan is a bit like an organism that is made up of secondary elements, which are whole patterns that can be used in various combinations, roughly as words are assembled into sentences. The first of those secondary elements of Ezekiel are the cells.

The prophet observed the angel with the Qne Midah in his hand – entering the gate, measuring its threshold and then first reaches the cells inside of the outer wall. “And every cell  was one reed long, and one reed broad, and the space between the cells was five cubits” (40:7). But the text does not clarify the total number of those cells, and there are those who belittle and those who increase their number.

What those who belittle interpret as pertaining only to the sole three gates of the outer wall, and at the sides of each just six cells, namely 18 cells for the whole temple, is interpreted by the increasers as a repetitive pattern within tight structures along the whole perimeter of the temple, with many units of passages, each of which with six cells – and assuming that the cells are laid in three layers (as the temple cells are described at tractate Midot 37/a) – each unit has 18 cells, and those units together form matrices of cells. There are those who interpreted that the plan deals with thousands, even myriad, cells and chambers. This approach is somewhat supported by what is told about the site of Herod’s Temple, which was much increased, and along its outer walls there was a colonnade, which created many roofed units, for the use of the numerous pilgrims.

Another support to this approach is found in the visionary temple detailed in the “Temple Scroll” from Qumran, which was studied by Yiga’el Yadin. The area of that temple, according to the scroll, was only some 28% of the area of the temple of Ezekiel’s vision. Like the Book of Ezekiel, the Temple Scroll deals mainly with the outer and middle courts, with their cells, chambers, rooms and colonnades (there “Parvarim”). Yadin shows there, for example, that this visionary temple was to contain 279 chambers for the priests and Levites and another 586 chambers for the other Twelve Tribes of the New Israel. The term “ritspah” that appears in Ezekiel’s vision (and which we nowadays use for “pavement”), is interpreted by Yadin as (the feminine form of) “Retseph”, namely “continuity” – a continuous structure of many chambers or cells.

A clear and fairly modern (Victorian) expression of this approach is of the British architect Henry Sulley.  Sulley regarded the whole outer perimeter of Ezekiel’s Temple, with the six-fold cells mentioned with its gates, as defining whole matrices of cells filling the wide perimeter of the temple. Thus, according to Sulley the Temple of Ezekiel’s Vision contains a matrix of 40 three-floor structures of cell triplets, along the whole perimeter of the sacred domain, containing 14,400 cells, whereas at the Ritspah more inside the space there are located (according to Sulley in a circle) 30 structures of chambers, which also contain a few thousands of chambers. But Sulley too does not touch the function of the cells, and it remains obscure.

What, then, can we learn from the vision of Ezekiel about the Temple rituals worship in the future?

The future temple is designed, as noted, to contain many small-scale spaces, cells and chambers. The likely end for them is to serve workshops of personal process (in cells) and group-processes (in chambers) for the myriad pilgrims.

And what is the significance of a plan for a multi-cellular temple? What is the very significance of “multi-cellular” – of the development from one-cellular to multi-cellular beings?

The answer for this is given already in Genesis. Our present era is at the close of the sixth of the “Millennial Days” of the Biblical Hebrew calendar, “The Sixth Day”  in which it is said Na'ase Adam – "Let us make Adam – Man(kind)", and it is indeed now that the greatest turning in the entire human history, quantitative and qualitative, is taking place. Quantitatively, there occurs a "population explosion in the last centuries which accelerated at the 20th century, and there are already living simultaneously upon the planet about the same number of humans as have ever lived.  It is becoming clear that the number of humans must achieve a steady-state, or else the world faces destruction. This is, in my view, the prophetic meaning of the Biblical story of The Tree of Knowledge : continuation of the exploitation of the fruit of Knowledge-Science – namely technology – without regard to the Tree of Life, is liable to bring humankind and the earth to a state of "cursed is the (living) earth (Adamah) for thy sake" (Gen. 3:17).

The qualitative turn is that from what we were made as separate individuals, we are metamorphosing into a kind of a new multi-cellular being. The development of electronics, the Internet and other communications media is forming a kind of a "Global Brain" with self-awareness of all humankind  which is making from all of humankind a super-individual – "Adam". This Adam, which is us, will have to make decisions for the destiny of the whole planet earth – for blessing or curse.

We have already noted: in the Bible account of Genesis, the heaven and earth are extended from Aleph to Tav – "In the beginning God created (all the) Heaven and (all the) Earth" – in the Hebrew original: Bereshit bara Elohim Et haShamayim veET ha'aretz" and there is presented the project of the seven "World Days", whose goal is "Na'ase Adam" (let us make Mankind). The detailed objective of this project is given at the end of the Book of Ezekiel, where is presented a detailed description of the multi-cellular facility in which would be conducted the Return Process (Teshuvah) from Tav to Aleph (like from Omega to Alpha in Greek) – the cellular work to produce the living being bridging earth and heaven. The project of na’ase Adam (as if from outside) becomes (na’asa) the project of ne’ase Adam (we shall become Adam) – a mutual-collective process. And this is the ultimate Scale (Qne Midah): the ratio between the single cell and the human individual becomes analogous to the ratio between the human individual and the “Adam” that includes all of humankind.

The Temple of Ezekiel’s Vision is conceived to reflect and demonstrate the process of the formation of this New Adam with super-consciousness. The cells of the temple are model for the cells of the model Adam, who is expected to bring “Light to all the Nations”.

D – From Chariots of Hashmal to an Electric Temple of Light

At the beginning of this essay we explained that on the base of the “Hashmal” mentioned by Ezekiel we can justify the approach for realizing the visionary temple through electronic-virtual models, and perhaps even electric light-structures. Now that we have touched a few of the special characteristics and processes of the Temple of Ezekiel’s vision, we may explore in greater depth the essence of Hashmal and the possible usage of electric lighting in the future temple.

The literal source of the term Hashmal-electricity is, as noted, in Ezekiel:

1) "And I looked, and, behold, a storm wind came out of the north, a great cloud and a fire flaring up, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst of it as  ke’En haHashmal out of the midst of the fire" (1:4).

2) "And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw something ke'En Hashmal - like the appearance of fire - round about enclosing it; from what appeared to be his loins upward, and from what appeared to be his loins downward, I saw what appeared to be fire, and there was brightness round about it" (1:26-27).

3) "Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire; from what appeared to be his loins downward, fire; and from his loins upward, as it were the appearance of brightness, something like ke'en haHashmalah" (8:2).

The Hashmal is thus the  primeval material of “The Glory of the Lord of Israel” and of the visionary Merkavah (“Chariot”).

According to the common view of the philologists, the Hashmal of Ezekiel was Amber, or the alloy of gold and silver – “Electrum”. But this approach relates to the surface color and not to the ultimate function of the Hashmal as the carrier of the Divine Glory – Kavod. As one of the researchers in that conference , in the setting where Ezekiel prophesied, in Babylon, there were common representations of the Glory of gods in the form of an aura or a shinning disk of the Presence of the god, which helps the king from the skies. They assume a coincidence between the might of the god and the brightness of his surrounding halo. Description of the restoration of temples in Assyria and Babel pertain to the halo and brilliance of the divine appearance – the more the temple and its implements shine brighter, the more complete is the restoration of the temple and the return of the god to his earthly dwelling place. We know that the Jewish Sages related to the Hashmal with respectful awe.

The Sages about the Hashmal

“We study, till where is (the limitation on the study of) “the Workings of the Chariot” (Ma’ase Merkavah): Rabbi says until the last “va’ere”; R’ Yitzhaq says, until the Hashmal ….. What is Hashmal? Said Rav Yehudah: Living (or animated) creatures of fire that utter words. It is explained – sometimes they sense – Hash – and sometimes they utter words – memalel. When the speech comes from the Holy One, they sense; and when there is no Speech issuing from the mouth of the Holy One, they speak words. “And the living creatures ran and returned like the appearance of Bazaq (lightning)” (1:14) – what is “running and returning”? Said rabbi Yehudah: like the light that comes from a furnace; what is “like the appearance of Bazaq”? Said rabbi Yosey bar Hanina: like the light that issues from among the earth ware vessels “And I looked, and, behold, a storm wind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire flaring up, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst of it, as it were the colour of Hashmal, out of the midst of the fire” (Bavly, tractate Hagigah 13:a-b).

And Rashi adds to what was said in tractate Hagigah: “speaking living creatures of fire” – fire comes out of their speech; “running and returning” – they stick their head from under the firmament that is streached over their heads and return and quickly bring it in from the awe of the Sekhinah (Presence of God), as the running and returning of a flame that comes of the Bazaq (Lightning)”.

This means that Hashmal is Hash – “sensing” and also “speeding”; and mal – uttering words (malmel). When speech issues from the mouth of the Holy One – the animated creatures hurry and record and then, when no speech issues, they utter words – interpret. The Hashmal is a “translation and transmission medium” which passes the unattainable “Divine Speech” to a language that humans, at least the prophets – can hear. But this is also a display of scintillating lights that sparkle and are extinguished – “like light issuing from a furnace” and “light issuing from among the shards”.

The Hassidic sages were used to read this sentence not as Hayot – “living creatures”, but Hayut – which is the Divine Influence/Plenitude that descends to this World – “and the Hayut running and returning”, namely the divine influence comes in quick flashing, appearing and disappearing.

In the basic text of the Qaballah, the Book of the Zohar (“Brightness” of the firmament, from Daniel 12) the word Hashmal appears 32 times. In the Zohar Hadash (Jethro, 62
:a-b) it is explained:

“And out of the midst of it, as it were the color of Hashmal”, it has already been explained that these are speaking living creatures of fire, and they are brightness (Zohar) that shines rising and descending, a flaring fire that stands and does not stand, that there is no one who can stand it in one place and eyes cannot behold it, for it is and it is not, ot is in one place and then in another place, it goes up and down. And in this spectacle there is coded what has been coded and hidden what has been hidden, and this is the secret that is called Hashmal, that the prophet must look and know and observe with pure heart and eyes inside of the appearance”.

The Zohar continues to describe sparks that rise and descent one towards the other to four directions. “That Hashmal goes round and round and its sparks descend till a place that is called “small terrain” (Qarqa Qatan). The description of that Qarqa Qatan is much like the description of a computer screen made of a tessellation of many light pixels (there “all sorts of crystals and shinning gems”). When the light of the Hashmal sparkles and flares and rises and descends, four winds (or “spirits”) embrace each other , the screen (Qarqa Qatan) shines abd the lights go to the four directions where there are treasures hidden (on the South side there are mentioned 470 treasures, like the gematria of the work Qarqa). A most amazing detail is mentioned in passing – that the name of one angel that controls the Hashmal is Galitsur. Gali is to reveal and Tsur is silicone – what can nowadays be called “silicone chip”. From that point the Zohar gives an ecstatic account of flows in Hashmal circuits which convert the lights into quadraphonic sounds, and Galitsur transforms the sounds into Hashmal light from which there forms a speech utterance which whisper and raises a hidden speech that reveals 214 supreme secrets. “The other sound goes to Ana’El, the supreme controller of eighteen thousand myriad (180M) hosts, that serve inside one Qarqa, which has the light of all the colors, which is called "Qarqa Argaman” (crimson) – namely, the supreme angelic controller whose name id Ana’El (the response of God) is the control unit of a display, or information environment of 180 mega-pixels that is called “the Argaman display”.   “It shines with all kinds of lights that issue from that Hashmal and there, in that Qarqa, there are inlaid twelve thousand myriad (120M) gems, that are inlaid in that Qarqa and reach the Eastern Gate. And there are six thousand thousands (6M) open gates, and Ana’El is their supreme controller. And that voice when it rises from below it is hit and pounded by this Hashmal light and forms into speech, and this speech raises another speech, which was hidden, and when this speech reaches Ana’El, immediately there are revealed 365 supernal secrets, which are stamped by a seal of truth. Then, with awe and fear and with shaking and trembling there rise songs and praises to the Master of All”. That is, described here is a complex mechanism for converting lights to speech and for discovering secrets, whose aim is to raise songs and praises to the Master of All.

The Mequbal Yoseph Gikatilia (whom some researchers regard as one of the authors of the Zohar) has also written about the Hashmal. His descriptions about the operation of the Hashmal seem to us like the description of a super-computer that creates animated figures who evaluate with lightening speed the qualities of the pilgrims to "The Hashmal Shrine" (Heikhal) – and then also train those that are admitted to be capable of prophecy.

Hashmal and Electricity in Ezekiel's Vision and in our time

In the generation of Ezekiel, and certainly for the Sages, the Hashmal was something that only very few would deal with – whereas today we use the term "Hashmal" for something that may still be mysterious and primal, but also most common and regarded as self-evident – and is the life of all the global economy. In the new current usage to the ancient term  there is a confirmation for my claimed principal,  that the aim of the Torah can be understood only in our very times.
It is a common understanding that the temple in Ezekiel’s prophecy is not the temple built right after him – the Second Temple – but is the future temple. The utilization of electricity for the realization of the temple is a case of “sanctifying the New”  As I see it, the future temple will be primarily based on electricity-Hashmal, a kind of “Temple of Fire” - or of Light – from the skies mediated by electronics and light projections. Moreover, thus electric temple will be able to sanctify the mundane in the modern, the commercial usage of electricity, which is the basis of the global economy that is progressively threatening the continuation of life on earth.

As noted above, the Sages and Mequbalim have explained that the Hashmal in the Vision of Ezekiel means “Hash-mal”, Hash meaning sensing and speeding, and mal (as in malmel and malel) to do with uttering words. That is, the living creatures of the Merkavah sense (the Divine Speech and each other) and their mouth utter words – integrated circuits of sense-and-speech, or stimulus and immediate verbal response. In cybernetic terms, any behavior (both mechanical and human) is built from basic units of TOTE – Test Operate Test Exit , sort of “sense-speak/act circuits”. In current technical parlance, we may regard those “living beings” as “Emotion-to-Speech Processors –  ESP”.

The human brain has always been an electronic apparatus of electricity flowing in neural circuits. But at present, also the human individual is becoming like a one neural cell within “The Global Brain” of all humankind, connected to others by electronic synapses, that is, by electricity.

In his essay Ve’asu Li Miqdash veshakhanty betokham (Let them build Me a Temple and I will dwell among them, Exodus 25:8) section 11,  rabbi Shlomoh min-ha’Har speaks of the Kavod (Divine Glory) that will be revealed and will dwell in the great and holy Third Temple, that would be built soon in our times. After explaining about the nature of the Kavod, which is a kind of light, the author writes:

All the prophets prophecy about the Third Temple, and yet we cannot comprehend how great will that light be, this is the light that illuminated the whole world in the seven days of creation, about which the Torah said “And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness (Gen. 1:4). And Rashi explained: “And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided” – God saw that it is not appropriate to let the wicked use it, so he separated it for the future righteous ones”. And in the blessing of the New Moon we pray: May God’s Will… to restore the deficiency of the moon, and there will be no diminution whatsoever, and the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun and like the light of the seven days of creation… and let there be fulfilled what is written: “and they will seek the Lord their God and David their king" (Hoshea, 3:5), Amen. And this is the words of the Ra’AbaD: “and moreover I say… Since Ezra knew that the Temple and Jerusalem are destined to be completely change in the future and be sanctified by a different type of holiness through the Kavod of the Lord for ever. This is what was revealed to me from “the secret of the Lord to his faithful” . And the prophet says: "And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Tsion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for upon all the glory (Kavod) shall there be a canopy" (Isaiah 4:5).

Integration of the concepts of the Future Temple

There is an apparent controversy regarding the future temple – will it be built up from the ground, or will it descend as a Temple of Fire from the skies, as is the opinion of Rashi (tractate Sukkah, 41/a): “… but the future temple that we are expecting will be revealed built and equipped and will come from heaven, as it is said: "Thy sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established" (Exodus 15:17). Rashi explains there that the temple may appear all of a sudden, even by night and even on Sabbath or holiday – as is it was just switched on.

All the sources I found who referred to Rashi, understtod that a temple from the skies means “a Temple of Fire”, something like the lion of flame that, according to the sages (Yomma 21/b) used to appear at the First Temple. Among the Prophetic writings of the RaMHaL (Rabbi Moshe Hayim Luzzato) there is a book Mishkene Elyon, which interprets the Temple of Ezekiel’s Vision (about which he writes: “You should know that this future temple is the one that the prophet Ezekiel saw immediately after the destruction of the First Temple”), in it RaMHaL portrays the temple as a Temple of Lights – which is like the Temple of Fire from the skies mentioned by Rashi.

Remarkably, in the heart of the “visions of God” seen by Ezekiel (1:1) was the Hashmal-Electricity:

"And I looked, and, behold, a storm wind came out of the north, a great cloud and a fire flaring up, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst of it as (ke’En) haHashmal out of the midst of the fire. Also out of the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings" (Ez. 1:4-6).

The four living creatures of the Chariot (not just the lion) and even the Chariot itself, and later the image of the supernal likeness of Adam, were formed from that “Hashmal”.

Contemporary uses of electricity and electronics allow integration between the seemingly contradictory approaches of man-made temple and a heavenly Temple of Lights. This is the possibility of building an electric temple, “a Virtual Temple” of lights and holograms, which will be man-made, yet will hover in the skies over Jerusalem. Indeed, when we examine the description of the Temple in Ezekiel, we find there no mentions of materials, to timbers and stones, as were extensively mentioned in the Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple. The only objects that their material was mentioned are four stone altars. All the other descriptions of the temple and its measurements are visionary (in today’s language “virtual”) presentation – and it is possible and likely that it is made of the very same stuff from which is build the visionary chariot, namely the Hashmal-electricity, and in today's’ terms, this is an “electric Temple”.

Such a temple can bypass the biggest problem that hinders the building of the temple – the Jewish-Moslem competition over the Temple Mount – and can annul the worries, which today almost completely paralyze any thinking about the restoration of the Jerusalem Temple.

A Possible Actual Realization of the Plan ofthe Temple Scroll and the Temple of Ezekiel’s Vision

After the world realizes, through virtual models, the benefit of the temple, then modern materials and construction methods allow to build not just a Temple of Lights or a Virtual Temple, but even a real temple that does not threaten the existing structures which are sacred to Islam – either in the size of the temple of “the Temple Scroll” or even the gigantic size of the Temple of Ezekiel’s vision. The visionary temple of the Dead Sea sect may be built by the extension of the Temple Mount platform by a steel-and-glass deck that would bridge the Qidron valley to the slope of the Mount of Olives, while the Temple of Ezekiel’s Vision may be built as a Miqdash shel Ma’ala – a heavenly Temple over the whole Old City and up to the middle of the Mount of Olives, in the form of “a Tabernacle of Peace (Sukkat Shalom) over Jerusalem” which we mention in the daily prayer.

The discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls, at about the time of the establishment of the State of Israel, including the Temple Scroll, which Yiga’el Yadin obtained quickly with the liberation of Jerusalem in 1967, are a clear case to new discoveries which are made specifically when the People of Israel return to their land and renew the connection with the Land of Israel.

Recently there is a trend among the Dead Sea Scrolls’ scholars to identify the authors of the original scrolls, “the Dead Sea Sect”, not as Essenes but as Sadducees – people who defined themselves as “The Sons of Tsadoq” and “The Sons of Light” – as those who saw their role to renew and to purify the Temple of Jerusalem which had been desecrated, in their opinion, by the Hashmonean priesthood. The Book of Ezekiel backed their stance, that only they, the priests sons of Tsadoq, had the right to perform the sacred rituals at the alternative new temple detailed in “the Temple Scroll”. This original scroll claims to be a further revelation from the God of Israel and giving of Torah, not at Sinai but at the Land of Israel, apparently at the Judean desert. For the members of the sect, this scroll was another canonic book in addition to the Pentateuch.

The Temple Scroll (much as “The New Jerusalem Scroll” from Qumran ) are quite similar to the last part of the Book of Ezekiel, which describes the future temple, and deals extensively with measurements and pedantic detailing of the measures of the structures.  The Temple plans from Qumran constitute an authentic 2nd Temple period interpretation for the temple vision in Ezekiel, and are actually a development and improvement on it (such as, fir example, the integration between the temple and the plans for the city of the temple functionaries, with its rows of buildings). These scrolls utilize a system of sacred numbers and measures which expressed the laying of heavenly order upon earth, but could definitely serve for actual construction, possibly even in the means of their generation, and certainly with today’s technology.

In my humble opinion, as a planning and design professional, the temple plan of Qumran is a processing of the visionary temple of Ezekiel, so that it would be capable of human construction, in the accepted site in Jerusalem, along with massive enlargement of the temple courts platform (as was indeed began by King Herod, possibly influenced by their vision . This could not be practically done in the scale (Qne Midah) of 6:1 as in Ezekiel (which would necessitate leveling the whole city and the Mount of Olives), but in another symbolic scale, in the ration of 1,570:500 – or 22:7 (namely the practical close approximation of π, the ratio of the circumference and diameter of the circle), two numbers that held great significance for them.

Topographically, such an extension of the Temple Mount Eastwards would reach exactly till the place on the Mount of Olives which is level with the Temple Mount platform. This would have required, at their time, an enormous amount of work, whether by filling or by building enormous arches. But by today’s technology, this is an entirely feasible project and would be the appropriate Israeli monumental construction in Jerusalem. The building of a deck bridging from the Temple Mount to the Mount of Olives would create an doubling of the area of the Temple Mount platform, beyond the area held by the Moslems. It would give sufficient place for the ritual acts of multitude pilgrims, without pushing the Moslems. This is a vision for the building of a World Peace Temple, whose construction entails no conflicts and inter-religious wars. This deck, built of steel and glass would also constitute a realization of “the Sea of Crystal” of the Book of Revelation, which is the future image of Christians, upon which there can land the Heavenly Chariot.

With today’s technology, it is thus possible even to build the whole enormous extent of the Temple of Ezekiel’s Vision, this as an additional broad higher level, a kind of “Tabernacle of Peace Over Jerusalem” which is both “A Temple of Lights in the Skies”, yet also a man-made light metal grid that contains many balloons – and is hovering over the Old City. This “Temple of Lights in the Skies" would serve as projection medium for incomparable light shows,  and will fulfill in actuality the vision of the prophets Isaiah (2:2-3) and Micha (4:1-2):

“that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all the nations shall flow onto it… Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Ya’aqov, and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in his path; for out of Tsiyyon shall go forth Torah/Instruction, and the word of the Lord from Yerushalayim”.

“A People that dwells Alone”?

The book that houses this article is called “A Nation that dwells Alone”, as the prophecy of Bil’am (Numbers 23:9). But the prophecies of Ezekiel expressly speak also to the nations, and relate to the vocation of Israel in relation to the nations. Nowadays, in the situation that the Temple Mount serves the place of religious ritual for non-Jews, and Jerusalem is divided among three Abrahamic religions, there is probably much significance for building a Temple of Light (or of Electricity) as a message for all the nations.

The quotation from Ezekiel (36:22-28) with which we started, teaches us that the God of Israel has His own global considerations – in particular the consideration of His Holy Name being defamed among the nations, through the guilt of Israel. The Return to Zion issues from these considerations, even if those who return may still posses “hearts of stone”. Only after establishment in the land (and apparently gradually) there would take place processes of purification, renewal of hearts and reception of the Divine Spirit among each one of us.

The Book of Ezekiel has a clear stance concerning the question of the relationship of Israel and the nations. The stance of Ezekiel concerning the relationship of Israel to the nations is not a one-time rhetoric, but a principle basic to all the prophecies, both to Judah and to the nations. It is the prophecies of Ezekiel to Israel and to the nations that lead on to his detailed vision of the temple. What is implied in this is that the temple in particular is the ultimate place of service and sharing, and that it is the presentation of the detailed plan of the temple to the eye of all the Children of Israel that constitutes a mean for restitution from all our inequities: “Thou Son of Man: describe the House to the House of Yisra’el, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern” (Ez. 43:10).

The realization of the Temple of Jerusalem in our times raises an extremely difficult and daunting dilemma. If we would have asked Jews of former generations what will the Children of Israel do when they regain sovereignty in Judea and Jerusalem (which is the test of the redemption according to Maimonides); most likely they would all say – building the temple. But nowadays, when the sovereignty in the Land of Israel and in Jerusalem is in the hands of “the Jewish State”, it seems that there is nothing farther from the hearts, for both secular and religious Jews, than the establishment of the temple. Moreover, the whole topic of the temple raises enormous worries and fear, and those who are dealing with it become marginal figures, in a sense even ostracized, both in the secular society and among most of the religious.

In this essay I have tried to show how the visions of Ezekiel (as completing the vision of Jeremiah 31) and his innovations in the lexicon of the Bible, hold within them a key for a process of realization – in peaceful ways – of a temple (virtual, and possibly even real) that will serve to perform the healing of the hearts of Israel and the restitution (Tiqun Olam) for the whole world.


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