On Monday, the last day of Hanukkah, the Sanhedrin called out to the 70 Nations to join in the consecration of the altar for the Third Temple. A full-dress reenactment of the daily sacrifice was held and a representative of a South American nation who attended was the recipient of a miraculous fulfillment of the Messianic promise of the ingathering of the exiles.
After months of intensive study, the Sanhedrin ordered a stone altar built, scheduling its dedication to take place on the last day of Hanukkah just outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.
The square altar is nine feet square and five feet high and is constructed of aerated concrete. The material was ruled to be fit for use in the Temple. In the Talmud, it is explained that steel may not be used to cut the stones of the altar since the Temple Service brings life into the world and steel, as it is used in war, takes life. Stones for the altar may not be cut using steel since the Temple service brings life into the world and steel though not ideal, it is light and easily transported and sized to be loaded onto a truck. The altar was constructed on a metal frame designed also for purposes of transportability. The intent was to create an altar that could be taken to the Temple Mount at a moment’s notice should the need arise.
Rabbi Baruch Kahane served as the High Priest, instructing the other priests in their functions. Just as in Solomon’s Temple, the different tasks to be performed were assigned by lottery. The priests wore Biblically accurate garb appropriate for use in the Temple. Incense was made for the reenactment that contained some, though not all, of the eleven ingredients required for Temple use. It is forbidden by Torah law to burn the incense outside of the Temple. A small quantity, smaller than would be burnt in than the actual service, was burned on the replica Golden Altar. Among the priests were young boys who were being trained in the Temple service.
The municipal authorities did not permit a sheep to be slaughtered on site so one was slaughtered at another location. The sections of meat were arranged on the ramp leading up to the altar in the ritually prescribed manner and one piece was thrown onto the fire on the altar to be burned completely.
About 150 people attended including several non-Jewish tourists. Moshe Feiglin, head of the Zehut party and a former Member of Knesset, attended the ceremony as well.
Mario Adolfo Bucaro Flores, the Ambassador of Guatemala was a guest of honor at the ceremony.
“This is a truly historic moment,” the ambassador said when he addressed the crowd. “My government is pleased to be partners with the Sanhedrin and with Israel in bringing [the] Messiah.”
As Ambassador Flores descended from the stage, one of the rabbis from the Sanhedrin noted that his address was very powerful and seemed to come from a very deep personal place. The rabbi asked Flores if he had any connection to the Jewish people. Surprisingly, Flores revealed that he had Jewish relatives on his mother’s side of his family. Rabbis of the Sanhedrin gathered around the Ambassador and asked him several questions. According to Jewish law, Jewish status is matrilineal. In the presence of the rabbinic court, it was determined that Flores was a Jew. This came as a surprise to Flores who was unaware that his family connection conferred upon him Jewish status. To mark the occasion, the rabbis assisted Flores in donning tefillin (phylacteries) a mitzvah (Torah commandment) of the highest order.
Rabbi Hillel Weiss, the spokesman for the Sanhedrin, noted that it was highly symbolic that such a revelation should come about at the dedication of the altar.
“We are on the cusp of the revelation of the Moshiach (Messiah),” Rabbi Weiss told Breaking Israel News. “One of the functions of the Messiah is the ingathering of the exiles. This is not merely people deciding to come to Israel. It is a miraculous process, which is what we saw here. It is God revealing things that are hidden: hidden Jews, hidden connections to Israel, love for Hashem (God, literally, ‘the name) that has been hidden away and not seen since all 70 nations came together to pray to the One God in Jerusalem.”