I recall hearing that there were five objects in the Holy of Holies chamber of the Holy Temple, but I cannot remember what they were. Can you please help refresh my memory? Thank you.


The items found in the Holy of Holies were:

  1. The aron (ark), which contained the tablets (the second set, as well as the shards of the first tablets).
  2. The Foundation Stone, upon which the ark sat.
  3. Aaron’s staff (see Numbers 17:16–26).
  4. The jar of manna (see Exodus 16:33–34).
  5. The Torah scroll that Moses wrote immediately before his passing (see Deuteronomy 31:26).

In the First Temple there were also two ten-cubit-tall cherubim, carved of wood and covered with gold, on the two sides of the aron—and their wings reached out over the aron (I Kings 6:23).

The aron, Aaron’s staff and the jar of manna were hidden by King Josiah in subterranean tunnels beneath the Temple Mount (see II Chronicles 35:3) several decades before the destruction of the First Temple. As such, these elements were not present in the Holy of Holies of the Second Temple. (For more on this, see The Subterranean Temple.)

Best wishes,
Rabbi Baruch S. Davidson