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The Temple Mount Hebrew, Har haBáyit, also called the Noble Sanctuary Arabicالحرم القدسي الشريف, al-haram al-qudsī ash-sharīf, is a religious site in the Old City of Jerusalem. Due to its importance for Judaism and Islam it is one of the most contested religious sites in the world.
The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism. Jewish Midrash holds that it was from here that the world expanded into its present form, and that this was where God gathered the dust he used to create the first man, Adam . The Torah records that it was here that God chose to rest His Shekhinah, Divine Presence, and consequently two Jewish Temples were built at the site. Observant Jews believe that the Third Temple, which they hope will be the final one, will also be located here. In recent times, due to difficulties in ascertaining the precise location of the Mount's holiest spot, many Jews will not set foot on the Mount itself.
Traditions relating to the site
According to an Aggada in the Talmud, the world was created beginning with the Foundation Stone on the Temple Mount. The Bible gives the place where Abraham passed God's test in the Binding of Isaac as Mount Moriah, which according to the Talmud is another name for the Temple Mount.
The Bible recounts that Jacob dreamt about angels ascending and descending a ladder while sleeping on a stone. The Talmud says that this too took place on the Temple Mount. Rashi also identifies the site as the place where Isaac and Rebekah prayed, asking God to grant them children.
According to the Bible, King David purchased a threshing floor owned by Aravnah the Jebusite overlooking Jerusalem upon the cessation of a plague, to erect an altar. He wanted to construct a permanent temple there, but as his hands were "bloodied", he was forbidden to do so himself, so this task was left to his son Solomon, who completed the task c. 950 BCE.
The Western Wall, also known as The Kotel, is a part of the Temple Mount that survived the destruction of the Second Temple and remains standing. The Western Wall is holy due to its proximity to the location on the Temple Mount of the Holy of Holies of the Temple, the Most Holy Place in Judaism. Due to Jewish religious restrictions on entering the most sacred areas of the Temple Mount, the Western Wall has become, for practical purposes, the holiest generally accessible site for Jews to pray. Many Jews often leave written prayers addressed to God in the cracks of the wall.
According to a commonly held belief in Judaism, the Temple Mount is to be the site of the final Third Temple, to be rebuilt with the coming of the Jewish Messiah.
The Temple is mentioned many times in the New Testament (for example, (Mark 11:11) in addition to the Old Testament. In these scriptures, Jesus prays there (Mark 11:25) and (Mark 11:26) chases away money changers and other merchants from the courtyard, turning over their tables and accusing them of desecrating a sacred place with secular ways. Jesus also predicts the destruction of the Second Temple (Matthew 24:2) and allegorically compares his body to a temple that will be torn down and raised up again in three days. The temple will be reconstructed before, or concurrent with, the Second Coming of Christ.
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