Have you ever wondered about the whereabouts of the Sinaitic revelation? Has it ever struck you as funny that the exact location of Mt. Sinai remains speculative? How is it, I often ponder, that the location of the mountain upon which G‑d descended to reveal Himself to our ancestors, the mountain upon which our holy Torah—the blueprint of creation and the manual of life—was given, the mountain that was home to the greatest miracles and witnessed the most monumental divine revelations that are so fundamental to the very core of our belief system, the mountain at whose foot we became the chosen nation, remains unconfirmed?!

Has it ever struck you as funny that the exact location of Mt. Sinai remains speculative?

Don’t we all distinctly recall our first day of school, or the exact place we were when we got the good news that we were accepted to the college of our choice? Don’t we all remember vividly the precise location where we proposed, or the hospital ward where our first child was born? How could we forget? Those places of great significance are deeply engraved and burned into our memories forever. And yet, somehow, we’ve lost touch with the place more important to our people than any other.

The more I ponder, the more I come to believe that no, we have not forgotten the location of Sinai; we simply never paid enough attention in the first place.

Contrast that with the Holy Temple. Its exact location is known; a portion of its structure still basks in the Jerusalem sun. Millions of people still stream to this special wall, the Western Wall.


“G‑d descended onto Mt. Sinai” (Exodus 19:20).

The tremendous revelations at Mt. Sinai were divinely inspired: “G‑d descended . . .” In fact, every nuance of its story line was infused with the supernatural. The Jews saw the thunderbolts and heard the streaks of lightning. They saw that which is usually heard, and heard that which is usually seen. Every detail of its display transcended nature.

The Holy Temple

“Make for me a Temple, so that I may dwell amongst them” (ibid. 25:8).

What was missing in the revelation at Sinai that necessitated the building of a temple? Hadn’t G‑d just shown His people that He could dwell amongst them (and how!) without the benefit of a temple?

But there is a world of a difference between something that comes from above or outside of us, and something that emanates from within.

The Sinaitic revelation came from above, entirely devoid of our input. G‑d descended onto earth; we did not ascend to meet Him.

If G‑d is to really dwell amongst us, in a permanent manner, it is we who must make a temple

And the moment after G‑d departed the mountain, it reverted to its original mundane status. Simultaneously, the Jewish people went back to their natural state of being, subject once again to nature and its ways.

Hence the subsequent command for a temple.

The Temple was built through the hard efforts of the Jewish people; its gold, silver and other materials were donated with passion by the men, women and children of Israel. We gave of our hard-earned possessions, the outcome of our sweat and blood. Yes, we were the ones to build the Temple.

If G‑d is to really dwell amongst us, within us, in a permanent manner, it is we who must make a temple.

Perhaps this explains why the location of the Temple is known, whereas the whereabouts of Mt. Sinai remain a mystery.

Sinai never permeated the core of our consciousness. The Temple, on the other hand, was our project, our baby, and therefore it and its location will forever be engraved in our hearts and minds.