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Kodesh HaKadashim -The Holy of Holies

Kodesh HaKadashim -The Holy of Holies


The Holy of Holies, as its name implies, was the most sacred part of the entire Temple. Entry was forbidden except on Yom Kippur when the High Priest entered the Inner Sanctuary.

Its dimensions were 20 cubits long, 20 cubits wide, and 40 cubits high. The floor, walls, and ceiling were plated with gold, as was the Kodesh.

In the Holy of Holies was a rock that projected above the ground to a height of 3 fingers. The rock was first uncovered by King David and the prophet Samuel.

Some say the rock was in the very center of the Holy of Holies; others say it was near the western wall of the Holy of Holies, and still others maintain that it was near the curtains separating the Kodesh and the Holy of Holies.

The Ark (which contained the tablets with the Ten Commandments) rested upon the rock during the First Temple era. During the Second Temple there was no Ark. Some say it was captured by Nebuchadnezzar; others say it was hidden beneath the rock; and still others say that it was hidden below the Wood Chamber in the Women's Courtyard.

There was another floor level above the Kodesh and Holy of Holies whose dimensions and decorative work were exactly like the chambers below, but with no curtains separating the floor above the Kodesh from from the floor above the Holy of Holies. Instead stone blocks projected from the wall itself to mark the division between the two sacred areas.

The floor of the chamber above the Holy of Holies had trapdoors surrounding the walls of the room. A large box supported by a rope, could be lowered through any trapdoor down into the Holy of Holies. Workers who had to repair the walls of the Holy of Holies were lowered through the trapdoors into the chamber below. Their view of the Holy of Holies was completely blocked off except for the portion of the wall to be repaired.

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Yaakov Ny ny July 17, 2017

Caution citing Josephus..he wrote with a roman knife at his throat. Church also heavily modified his original writings in Aramaic.
Best to listen to Chazal Jewish sources not an apostate. Shalom Reply

Adam Bradford London February 23, 2014

Workers in Holy of Holies A more likely option is that they would find devout Jewish craftsmen to train the priests who would then do the work under their oversight. This is what Josephus says happened. (Antiquities of the Jews, book 15, 11) Reply

Yehuda Shurpin for November 11, 2013

Re: The Ark If the ark was truly found, I doubt we would be having this conversation. Besides, while there are various opinions, Jewish tradition has it that the Ark of the covenant is hidden somewhere within the Temple Mount. Reply

Anonymous Canada November 7, 2013

The Ark I have read that a Christian amature archeologist found the ark. He has since died but he went to his death holding to the fact that it has been recovered. Also, a few months back on an Israeli news site on of the temple mount restoration Rabbi was quoted as saying that the Jews were in possession of the ark. Do you believe this is true? Reply

Sojourner July 18, 2013

Thanks for answer. Thank you, Yehuda Shurpin. Reply

Yehuda Shurpin for July 18, 2013

Re: workers in Holy of Holies Ideally they would try to find craftsmen who were priests for this task. If no qualified priests could be found, they searched for Levites. If they could not find capable Levites, they would assign the task to Israelites.

There were apertures in the upper story which led to the Holy of Holies, through which craftsmen would be lowered in boxes, so that they would not satiate their eyes [gazing at] the chamber of the Holy of Holies they were lowered in boxes which were closed on three sides and open on the fourth (See Maimonides Hil. Beish habechirah 4:13 and 7:23) . Reply

Sojourner July 15, 2013

The Holy of Holies. Could you please tell me who were the workers who made repairs to The Holy of Holies? I understood that absolutely nobody was allowed into this place under any circumstances apart from the High Priest during his yearly office. Reply