The Relationship between an Altar and a Pillar (I) (2022)

In the framework of our shiurim about the prohibition to plant an ashera next to the mizbei’ach (altar), we indirectly touched upon the issue of a matezva (pillar made of one stone). In this shiur, we will examine the issue of matzevot and attempt to understand the differences between them and mizbechot. We will also examine why the Torah permits the use of a mizbei’ach but forbids the erection of a matzeva, even though the Canaanites used both of them in their sacrificial rites.

The Uses of a Matzeva

In Scripture, we find a matzeva being used for three different purposes:

1. As a stone commemorating a deceased person. Yaakov erected a matzeva over Rachel's grave: "And Yaakov set a pillar upon her grave; that is the pillar of Rachel's grave to this day" (Bereishit 35:20). Similarly, Avshalom erected a matzeva for himself already in his lifetime: "Now Avshalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the king's valley, for he said: I have no son to keep my name in remembrance" (I Shemuel 18:18).

2. To commemorate an agreement. This use is found in several places. For example, a matzeva is used to commemorate an agreement establishing a boundary, as in the case of the matzeva that Yaakov erected before separating from Lavan:

And Yaakov said to his brothers, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a heap; and they did eat there upon the heap. And Lavan called it Yegar-Sahaduta, but Yaakov called it Galed… And Lavan said to Yaakov, “Behold this heap and behold this pillar, which I have set between me and you; this heap be witness and this pillar be witness that I will not pass over this heap to you and that you shall not pass over this heap and this pillar to me for harm. (Bereishit 31:46)

The matzeva serves here both as testimony to the agreement between Yaakov and Lavan and as a boundary marker.

When God and the people of Israel enter into a covenant at the foot of Mount Sinai, Moshe erects twelve matzevot and a mizbei’ach. The purpose of the matzevot is not stated explicitly, but it stands to reason that they were meant to serve as reminder of the covenant, and their proximity to a mizbei’ach alludes that they played a certain ritual role in the service of God.

In a messianic prophecy regarding God's future dominion over Egypt, the prophet Yeshaya declares:

In that day shall there be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt and a pillar at its border to the Lord. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they shall cry to the Lord because of the oppressors, and He shall send them one that shall save them and plead for them and He shall deliver them. And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and Egypt shall know the Lord on that day and shall do sacrifice and meal offering; and they shall vow a vow to the Lord and perform it. (Yeshaya 19:19-23)

Yeshaya states explicitly that there will be a mizbei’ach to God in the midst of the land of Egypt and a matzeva to God on its border. Both of them will be “a sign and for a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt.” The mizbei’ach and the matzeva will serve, as it were, as a sign for God that He should answer Egypt when they cry out to Him because of their oppressors.

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3. In most instances in the Early Prophets, a matzeva denotes idol worship (I Melakhim 17:10), along with bamot and asherim. The people of Israel are commanded to destroy the matzevot of the seven Canaanite nations (Shemot 23:24) together with their mizbechot and asherot (Shemot 34:13) and their carved images (Devarim 7:5; 12:3). Our discussion below will relate to a matzeva as a ritual vessel and as a reminder of the covenant; it will not relate to its function as a commemoration of the dead or as a border marker.

The History of the Use of Ritual Matzevot

A matzeva makes its first appearance when God reveals Himself to Yaakov at Bet-El:

And Yaakov rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he has put under his head, and set it up for a matzeva, and poured oil on the top of it.(Bereishit 28:18)

According to the plain sense of the verses, Yaakov took of the stones of the place and put them under his head. In his dream, he saw a ladder set up on the earth, with the top of it reaching to heaven. In his dream, Yaakov saw God standing above the ladder, promising to give him the land and the blessing of descendants and telling him that He will watch over him and return him to this land. When he wakes up, Yaakov understands that God revealed Himself in this place, and he says: "This is no other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven." In response, he takes the stone that he had placed under his head and sets it up as a matzeva. He closes by saying that the stone that he set up as a matzeva will be God's house.

It is clear from the verses that there is a direct connection between that fact that God stood (nitzav) above the ladder and the term matzeva. Indeed, in light of this fact, Yaakov set up the stone as a matzeva.

The matzeva is mentioned once again when Yaakov returns to Bet-El:

And God went up from him in the place where He talked with him. And Yaakov set up a matzeva in the place where He talked with him, a pillar of stone, and he poured a drink offering on it, and he poured oil on it. (Bereishit 35:13-14)

Here a matzeva is directly connected to a divine revelation, to God's talking with Yaakov. Yaakov sets up the matzeva in the place where God spoke with him. It is important to emphasize that when Yaakov returned to Bet-El, he first builds a mizbei’ach. Thus, there is both a mizbei’ach and a matzeva in the same location.

It is important to note that the earlier verse stated that Yaakov took “of the stones” of the place and put them under his head, whereas in the morning, the verse describes, he took “the stone” that he had placed under his head. Rashi (ad loc.) cites the midrash:

"And put them under his head" – They [the stones] began quarreling with one another. One said: Upon me let this righteous man rest his head, and another said: Upon me let him rest it. Whereupon the Holy One, blessed be He, straightway made them into one stone. This explains what is written: "And he took the stone that he had put under his head." (Rashi, v. 11, s.v. va-yasem)

The Rashbam, following his usual approach of accepting the plain sense of the verse, writes:

And he took one of the stones of the place, as it is written: "And he took the stone that he had put under his head." (ad loc.)

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What does it mean that Yaakov set up the stone as a matzeva? According to the plain sense of the verse, there was no change in the stone itself, but only in the meaning attached to it – the fact that it was set up as a matzeva.

The Netziv writes in his commentary, Ha'amek Davar:

He did not set it up, but rather he slightly adjusted its position in the place where it stood. (Bereishit 28:18, s.v. va-yasem ota matzeva)

Similarly, in Shemot 40:4, the Netziv writes that “sima”(setting up) implies adjusting as needed. In Bereishit 2:8, he writes that it denotes precise setting, and in Bereishit 6:16, he writes that it denotes setting with intelligence.

The Seforno (ad loc.) writes:

He consecrated it that it should be a matzeva when he erects it upon his return, as Scripture testifies that he did when he went there, as it says: "And Yaakov set up a matzeva in the place where He talked with him, a pillar of stone, and he poured a drink offering on it, and he poured oil on it" (Bereishit 35:14) (v. 18, s.v. va-yasem)

According to the Seforno, setting a stone up as a matzeva means consecrating it, and the Radak (ad loc.) explains that Yaakov set the stone up in its position.

R. Samson R. Hirsch notes the spiritual significance of taking a stone and setting it up as a matzeva, comparing a matzeva to a mizbei’ach:

It is evident from many places in the scriptures that a mizbei’ach is an elevation of the earth towards God built by the hands of man, so that in Yechezkel,the mizbei’ach is simply called the Mount of God. More, it is extremely likely that the fire on its summit corresponded to the "consuming fire at the top of the mountain" (Shemot 24:17). Thus, we find in Tehillim (68:18): "The Lord is among them, Sinai in holiness." God came down from heaven and restricted His Shekhina in the human domain: "The Lord is among them, and Mount Sinai in the Temple." It stands to reason that this is also the way to understand what is written in the passage dealing with the daily offering: "It is a continual burnt-offering, which was offered at Mount Sinai" (Bamidbar 28:6).

In this respect, it is characteristic that one of the things in which the Jewish sanctuary of the Torah differs from the Noachide conceptions is that there the altar on which we are allowed to bring offerings had to be a mizbei’ach built up of stones, but not a matzeva, not made of one single stone or rock presented for it by nature. We have to build the mizbei’ach ourselves. It must not be standing on an arch or pillars (Mekhilta 20:24). The mizbei’ach is called "an earthen altar" (Shemot 20:21); it must be attached to the earth (Zevachim 58a) – as a continuation of the earth. Only thus does the altar express the elevation of the earth towards God by human activity. To take a single slab of stone and sacrifice thereon would mean recognizing God from the standpoint of nature; whereas the built mizbei’ach expresses the conception of first working oneself up above the bound character of nature to the godlike free-willed standpoint of man, and from that point of view, strive upward to God. So that inasmuch as Noach built an altar to God on the fresh gift of the earth, he, as the ancestor, dedicated this newly-gifted earth to be a place on which the future activity of mankind is to add stone to stone until ultimately the whole becomes a holy mount of God.

When other nations tried, and try, to get near their God, they get away from human surroundings and believe they can find God nearer to them out in nature. Certainly one can find God there too, but He is much nearer in all His glory in the sphere of human life. There, in nature, His omnipotence, His infinite power is revealed; here, His infinite love. This is why the mizbei’ach is the more dedicated altar in comparison with the stone set up from nature as a matzeva. This thought is such an essential one for the Jewish sanctuary of the Torah that in all the surroundings of the mizbei’ach, or in the building that encloses it, no tree or any board that reminds one of a tree was allowed to be visible. (Bereishit 8:20)

Later in his commentary, R. Hirsch writes:

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A matzeva consists of a single stone; a mizbei’ach is an elevation built up by many stones. A matzeva is presented by nature; a mizbei’ach is made by man. Before the giving of the Torah, God's rule was manifest primarily only in the ways of nature and in man's fate, accordingly in what man gets from the hand of God. A matzeva corresponds to that, a stone taken from God's creation as a memorial for something which He has done. But with the giving of the Torah, God wishes to be revealed, not so much in what man receives from Him, as in what man does with what he gets from Him; not with God's gifts, but with man's deeds is God to be glorified. That indeed is the purpose of the lawgiving, since then a matzeva is rejected. (ibid. 28:18)

R. Hirsch takes note here of a profound point that distinguishes between a mizbei’ach and a matzeva. A mizbei’ach is built by man, and with this building the entire earth is elevated towards God. In this way, the mizbei’ach symbolizes Mount Sinai. Therefore, the mizbei’ach must be built of several stones, and by virtue of man's deed, the earth is elevated to God. Through man's action, he is elevated above nature, and this elevation through a creative act allows man to rise up to God.

A matzeva, as opposed to a mizbei’ach, retains its natural status. Setting up a stone as a matzeva means taking a stone in its natural state and leaving it in that state without touching it. R. Hirsch understands that this state characterized the world until the giving of the Torah, until which time God's rule manifested itself in the ways of nature and in man's fate, in what man got from God. A matzeva corresponds to that state, as it is a stone taken from creation as a memorial for something that God has done. After the giving of the Torah, this was forbidden. Since the giving of the Torah, however, God reveals Himself less in what He gives man and more in what man does with what he has received. Man's actions testify to God's glory, and for this a mizbei’ach is more appropriate.

It is clear that according to R. Hirsch's explanation, a matzeva poses the danger that man will come to serve nature itself or that the matzeva will be seen as representing God Himself.

The Ramban offers another explanation:

Our Rabbis have already explained (Yerushalmi, Avoda Zara 4:5) the difference between a matzeva and a mizbei’ach, that a matzeva is a single stone and a mizbei’ach is many stones. It seems also that a matzeva is made for pouring wine and oil on it, and not for a burnt-offering or a sacrifice, whereas a mizbei’ach is made for offering burnt-offerings and peace-offerings. When they came to the land of Israel, a matzeva became forbidden to them because the Canaanites had made it a statute for themselves, more so than a mizbei’ach, even though it says with regards to them: "You shall destroy their mizbachot" (Shemot 34:13), or because He did not want to forbid everything, and so He left a mizbei’ach which is fit both for libations and for sacrifices. (Bereishit 28:12, s.v. va-yasem)

The first difference noted by the Ramban relates to the form of a mizbei’ach, which is made of several stones, in contrast to a matzeva, which is a single stone. But the more essential difference relates to the purpose of each of them. A matzeva is meant for oil and wine libations rather than sacrifices, whereas a mizbei’ach is meant for sacrifices. According to the Ramban, from the time of Israel's entry into the land of Israel, the matzeva was forbidden and the mizbei’ach was used for both sacrifices and libations.

The Ramban disagrees with the Rashbam, who writes:

He anointed it to consecrate it in order to offer sacrifices on it upon his return, as it is written regarding the Mishkan and its vessels: "And he anointed them and sanctified them" (Bamidbar 7:1). And so it is evident before us: "I am the God of Bet-El, where you did anoint a pillar" (Bereishit 31:13), which shall be "God's house" (28:22) for sacrifices. (Rashbam, Bereishit 22:18, s.v. va-yitzok)

According to the Rashbam, a matzeva also serves as a site for offering sacrifices, and not only for pouring oil.

What is the meaning of pouring oil on the top of the Matzeva?

The Radak offers a simple explanation of the purpose of the anointing:

In order to recognize it upon his return through that place, so that he can build an altar and offer sacrifices on it, because an oil stain is not removed with rain water. Or else the pouring of oil was a service like the libation of wine. And so he did upon his return, for about the matzeva that he built it says: "And he poured a drink offering on it, and he poured oil on it" (38:14). All this was a sign that his descendants would inherit the land, as we wrote regarding Avraham and Yitzchak, for they did in the land as they pleased. For Yaakov took that stone and set it up as a matzeva, and nobody took it for his own needs, not even the owner of the field. And just as he set it up, so he found it, and he built there a mizbei’ach upon his return, like a person who builds on his own property, and no one can object. (Radak, ad loc.)

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R. Hirsch (ad loc.) also explains the pouring of oil on the top of the matzeva:

"Oil on the top of it" – either as consecration of the stone, as the vessels of the Sanctuary were anointed with oil by which – as oil does not mix with other liquids – the anointed object is set apart from and raised above the others. Or in the sense of libation. Just as later on, wine was poured out to express the acknowledgement that all joy in life comes from God and remains dedicated to Him. Or in the highest national libation, water was poured out on the altar to express that not only exceptional gifts, but that every drop of water is a gift from God, and with every drop of water we feel allied with God. So here oil – at later offerings, the expression for health and well-being – demonstrates that he awaits his continued existence and well-being from God's hand and would use it always regarding it as a continuous gift of God. (Bereishit 28:18)

In addition to the idea of consecrating the stone mentioned earlier, R. Hirsch adds that libation expresses the idea that everything that man has belongs to God, even the simplest and most natural things, like oil and water.

(Translated by David Strauss)

For the various uses of a matzeva, see Encyclopedia Mikra'it, vol. V, pp. 222ff, s.v. matzeva, written by Magen Baroshi.

There is room to discuss the relationship between the heap and the pillar, but this shiur is not the forum for such a discussion.

The twelve stones erected by Yehoshua in the Jordan, which corresponded to the twelve tribes of Israel, were meant to serve as a reminder of miracle of the parting of the Jordan (Yehoshua 4:4-9), as were the twelve stones erected by Yehoshua in the Gilgal (Yehoshua 4:20-24). However, the term matzeva is not mentioned in that context.

According to the plain sense of the verse, God stood over the ladder. So writes the Rambam in his Guide of the Perplexed I:15: "'And, behold, the Lord stood over it’ – that is, was stably and constantly upon it – I mean, upon the ladder, one end of which is in heaven, while the other end is upon the earth. Everyone who ascends does so climbing up this ladder, so that he necessarily apprehends Him who is upon it, as He is stably and permamently at the top of the ladder." But it is also possible to understand that He stood above him, i.e., above Yaakov. R. Saadya Gaon, s.v. ve-hinei Hashem, explans: "And, behold, the glory of God stood above him – stood before him [i.e., before Yaakov]."

These references to the commentary of the Netziv regarding "setting" are taken from the notes in R. Cooperman's edition of the Ha'amek Davar.

, full_html, In this shiur, we will examine the issue of matzevot and attempt to understand the differences between them and mizbechot.

According to Exodus chapters 20 and 24, Moses set up an altar “at the foot of the mountain” after writing down God’s Laws in the Book of the Covenant. The altar was for burnt sacrifices and peace offerings of sheep and cattle and must be constructed without steps, and without cut or chiseled stone. The … Moses’ Altar and the 12 Pillars Read More »

Possible Altar System Right at the foot of the mountain, there is an undeniably man-made structure with features that fit the Biblical requirements for a sacrificial altar.. The claimed-tradition is also apparently not universal among the local Saudis, as one told us that the marble pieces are the remains of a “house” for Moses.. This would likely require an accessible platform that is higher up on the mountain in the front so that the Israelite population could see Moses.. The team also found at the higher quarry cylindrical and circular marble stones that were almost identical to the ones next to the altar at the foot of the mountain.. Objection: the pillars are clearly hewn stone One objection to the theory that these pillars were erected by Moses and the Hebrews because these pillars are clearly made with tools.

Altar and Sacrifice

But the reality is that it is not "tabernacle and sacrament" that have the central-most place in Catholic liturgical thought and architecture, it is rather "altar and sacrifice" -- and why is obvious once explained: the Mass is the sacrifice of the Cross, re-presented and perpetuated, truly and really; it is the salvific act and what is most primary and it is upon the altar that this is accomplished.. At cross purposes now was the counter-reformation's emphasis upon the Real Presence (in response to the Protestant Reformation and its own Eucharistic theories) and the progressive liturgist's archaeologistic tendency to give primacy to the most ancient liturgical models, in this instance the ancient basilica arrangement with its central sedilia and a freestanding altar beneath a ciborium.. Examples of well designed, oriented altars with (left) a dossal and tester and (right) a ciborium (sometimes incorrectly called a baldachin). The relationship between the tabernacle and the altar has, for the past two centuries, been one fraught with difficulties.. At least one author has called the church of the nineteenth century a Eucharistic presence chamber, and not a true place of sacrifice--the reredos with its enormous and frequently unrubrical tabernacle overwhealming the little Great Aunt Esther's-style sideboard altar, an impression not improved on by overwhelming and badly-deployed flower displays.. Confusion over this complex relationship is particularly evident in instances where a new freestanding altar is retained, while the tabernacle is returned to its original location on the high altar, or even under a baldachin.. This places the altar and tabernacle in competition, or perhaps even makes the tabernacle the central focus of the church to the exclusion of the altar .. The later Liturgical Movement often urged the removal of the tabernacle to some other place in the church to restore the primitive purity of the altar, but by separating the two it seems to have merely confused people both about the role of the altar and the theology of the Real Presence.. The wisdom of the rubricians is evident here: the altar is important liturgically; the tabernacle contains the most important Person on earth.. Church restorations must weigh this relationship carefully, while remembering most parishes will still demand a freestanding altar with the tabernacle behind, rather than upon it, for pastoral reasons.. Some places will require a reredos behind a freestanding altar, which will be a natural place for the tabernacle.. I would much prefer a reredos as a tabernacle shrine with a freestanding altar than dump an altar in front of a gigantic baldachin covering only a tabernacle.. Attempts must be made, while allowing for the current liturgical climate, to bring the altar and tabernacle closer together spiritually, or even physically where possible, and find ways, through canopies and aedicules, to give appropriate honor to both.. But for the time being, the freestanding altar under the ciborium (or hanging tester), with the tabernacle somewhere behind, remains the best possible arrangement in parishes where both liturgy versus Deum and versus populum are likely to remain the norm, lest we compound new mistakes with older difficulties.

Yaakov expressed his love for Rachel after her death in two main ways: through the pillar that he set up on her grave and through the special love that he showed to her sons, Yosef and Binyamin. In this shiur, we examine these two elements in our parsha and those that follow.

Yaakov himself later asked that he be buried in the Makhpela Cave, where Leah was also buried ( Bereishit 49:29-31).. Yaakov expressed his love for Rachel after her death in two main ways: through the pillar that he set up on her grave and through the special love that he showed to her sons, Yosef and Binyamin.. And Yaakov set up a pillar upon her grave; that is the pillar of Rachel's grave to this day.. Between the two, he erected a pillar in the Gil'ad when he made a covenant with Lavan ( Bereishit 31:45-53).. For our purposes, the pillar that Yaakov erected upon Rachel's grave may express an oath and covenant between Yaakov and Rachel, his deceased wife.. Rachel did not merit to be buried with Yaakov, and his covenant with her he made by way of the pillar.. As mentioned, in addition to the two pillars that Yaakov erected in Mitzpe Gil'ad and at the site of Rachel's burial, he also erected two stones as pillars in Bet-El, in places where God spoke to him.. In these places as well, the pillars give expression to a covenant that was made with God, which is also the role of the pillars erected at Mount Sinai:. The covenant and the pillar are intertwined; this is the case with Yaakov and his wife Rachel, and so too is this the case with Yaakov and God.. And Yaakov set up a pillar upon her grave; that is the pillar of Rachel's grave to this day.. It is difficult to ignore the resemblance in the names and the similarity in the actions between the love of Yaakov and Rachel and the love of R. Akiva, the great Tanna , and his wife Rachel, the daughter of Kalba Savua.. The great mission of founding the people of Israel created difficulty in the accepted expressions of the love between Yaakov and Rachel.. As mentioned, Yaakov's love for Rachel after her death finds expression in his great love and concern for her two sons.. There is something missing in the expression of his love for his wife owing to his great dedication to working the land.. His working the land does not provide him with enough money with which to purchase a tombstone, and his love for his wife overcomes his love for working the land to which he had related as holy work.

Did God or His angel speak to Jacob in a dream? What is the vow Jacob made to God?

The statement is begun by the angel and then suddenly it appears to be that God is speaking - as it appears to reference the vow that Jacob made to God in the first person.. This is not the first such inconsistency found in Genesis with regard to references to God and His angels.. A "house of God" in ancient times was a shrine or altar to God.. This statement is reminding Jacob of his devotion, which was cemented after Jacob awoke from a previous dream where God spoke to him:. (Genesis 18:16-19) So we see that while Bethel is being referred to by the translators as though it is the name of a city having undergone a name change, it is actually describing the devotional altar that Jacob erected for the Supreme Being - which reflects directly upon the devotional relationship between Jacob and God.. In Genesis 28, we find that Jacob made a vow to God.. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father's household, then the LORD will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.". The idea of "I will give You a tenth" has been orchestrated among ecclesiastical teachings into a ritual custom that obligates followers to give a tenth of his income as a tithing.. The point is that Jacob is committing that whatever he receives, he will offer it back to God - a portion of everything.. He wants to have a relationship with the woman.. If we want to have a relationship with God we must offer Him something and praise His Holy Names.. A loving servant will set up an altar so others can worship God.. God is directing Jacob because Jacob has committed his life to God ( "the LORD will be my God" ).This is what a loving servant of God does: They follow the Supreme Being, and do what is pleasing to Him.

Book: America & Britain - Two Nations that Changed the World

The entire history of the Davidic throne in the British Isles is linked to a mysterious, yet biblically significant, “coronation stone” called, by the Irish, the “stone of destiny.” Beginning with the Milesian-Zarahite prince Eochaidh (see Chapter 12), every monarch of Ireland, Scotland, and Britain has been crowned on this very stone, including the present queen, Elizabeth II.. Until the late 1950s, there was a plate attached to the chair near the stone with the inscription “Jacob’s Pillar Stone”—an obvious reference to Genesis 28:18.. He also brought several significant items to the Isles—including a stone the Irish Israelites subsequently named Lia-Fail or “Stone of Destiny.” According to E. Raymond Capt, this is all verified in the annals of Ireland.. Among these were a harp, an ark or chest, and a stone called, in Gaelic, ‘Lia-Fail’ (pronounced Leeah-Fail), meaning ‘Stone of Fate’ or ‘Hoary of Destiny.’ ”1 Capt, along with numerous other researchers, believes Lia-Fail is the same stone the patriarch Jacob anointed with oil at Bethel (Gen. 28:18-19).. As Capt notes, Fergus’ intention was to “style himself king of Scotland.”4 Understanding the significance of the “stone of destiny,” Fergus had Lia- Fail brought to Scotland for his coronation as king.. In 843 AD, the Scottish king Kenneth McAlpin moved the stone to Scone—hence, the stone’s later name “Stone of Scone.”5. It is most interesting that God added the promise of “many kings” right in the place where Jacob had set up his “pillar”—the stone that would become the Coronation Stone of all the kings of Judah.. Professor [Charles] Totten, the eminent professor of science at Yale University [in the late 1800s], after making a thorough examination of the stone, made the following statement: ‘The analysis of the stone shows that there are absolutely no quarries in Scone or Iona [Scotland] [from which] a block so constituted could possibly have come, nor yet from Tara [Ireland].’ ” Capt also cites a professor Edward Odlum—a geologist at Ontario University in the early 1900s—who conducted a microscopic examination of the stone.. Moreover, the Coronation Stone is quite an ordinary looking stone, not something one would normally make a “royal” fuss about.

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“The Altar’s place is exceedingly. precise, and it may not be exchanged fro its place forever, as it states, ‘this. is the Altar of sacrifice to. Israel.’ And in the Temple (here, Maimonides exchanges Altar for “Temple”),. Isaac our father was bound (for sacrifice by Abraham) as it states, ‘and go for. yourself to the land of Moriah’, and it says in Chronicles, ‘and Solomon. commenced to build the House of God in Jerusalem in Mount Moriah that was shown. to David his father, that was prepared in the place of David, in the threshing. floor of Arnan the Jebusite.”. Genesis, 35:1: (Many years after. the previous quote) “And God said to Jacob, ‘arise and ascend to Beth El,. and dwell there, and make there an altar to the God Who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esav.” (After. Jacob’s troubles were terminated, God commanded him to return to the House of God (Beth El) and offer a sacrifice .). Why does. Maimonides discuss Temple, then prioritize Altar by positioning its laws right. after laws of the Temple, and then return to the Temple’s vessels?. Temple is a fixed location for. the sacrifices of the Altar, as Maimonides stated, “It is a positive command to. make a House to God, prepared to offer the sacrifices in it”.. Therefore,. we may define Temple as the “fixed location whose identification with. fundamental truths properly directs man’s approach to God.” As the central. focus of Temple is the Ark that houses the Torah, Temple functions to embody. truth.. This is no other than. the house of God, and this is the gate to heaven.” Before the Temple existed, Jacob already. understood the fundamentals underlying these two structures-to-be: “House of. God” refers to a “significant location”, and “Gates of heaven” mean man’s. approach to God, or sacrifice as stated by Ramban.. “Once. the Temple was built in Jerusalem, no other place was fit for it, or for. sacrifice.” Perhaps a Temple, built on Mount Moriah, the location of our. forefathers’ sacrifices, now embodies what all previous Temples did not: man’s. perfected approach to God, prior to the Golden Calf sin.. Today, although we. do not have the Altar, and the Temple does not stand, prayer replaces. sacrifice, “Tefilah bimakome karban – Prayer is in place of sacrifice (Talmud Brachos, 26a).” Rabbi Mann added that even without a quorum, man benefits. more when praying in temple.. Just as our ancient Temple and Altar worked together to. purify our approach to God, basing it on truths, so too today, our prayers in. place of sacrifice are to be directed by our temples, and our Torah study. halls.. However, via the Temple and Altar, man is directed. by God’s wisdom with precise laws that guide man to true concepts.. Temple and Altar are. co-dependent: The knowledge of God acquired through Temple demands that man. relate to God, and this is via Altar.

Quebec’s relationship with Catholicism has dramatically changed over the past half-century

QUEBEC CITY—In modern-day parlance crossed with Latin, Pope Francis might be called a social media imperium .. He has 18.9 million followers on Twitter — @Pontifex — and 7.4 million followers on Instagram — @franciscus.. Doesn’t do Facebook, doesn’t do TikTok, though papal videos are posted all over that platform, and it’s highly unlikely that he ever actually taps out a 280-character proprio this or an ordinato that on his smartphone.. There are delegates for the purpose, who usually post once a day, in nine languages.. Yet the Holy Father’s influence is profound, as head of the Roman Catholic Church, with its 1.3 billion adherents worldwide.. It is this influence, more than fiat or decree or revoked papal bulls, that the Pontiff has brought to bear over the past five days of his Apology Tour to Turtle Island, as North America is known in Indigenous folklore.. Seeking forgiveness, personal rather than institutional, for the historical sins of the church against Indigenous Peoples, and most particularly the wretched residential school system that forcibly separated some 150,000 children from their families over the century that they operated in funded tandem with the federal government.. Of course, the church founded the province’s educational system back before the dawn of Canada — three priests landed with explorer Jacques Cartier on July 7, 1534, celebrating mass for the first time on what was to become Canadian soil — and ran the whole shebang until the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s.. The church, a pillar of social and political life, also pressed its nose into every aspect of daily living for French Canadians.. In charge of the health and social services systems notably, while essentially dictating social mores and urging women to have lots and lots of babies — be fruitful and multiply.. In its own way, that was primarily about protecting francophone culture and provincial sovereignty — by the birth numbers.. This Quebec is not that Quebec.. Church attendance has plummeted, despite nearly seven million French-speakers in the province who have Catholic roots.. By the way, Pope Francis has described the Internet as “a gift from God.”

We know that the Bible is mostly fiction, but did you ever wonder how some of the incredible stories got into the book? As a child, the story of Noah made no sense to me. Why would a supposedly loving God commit a genocidal holocaust by killing all humans on Earth except for one man […]

Why would a supposedly loving God commit a genocidal holocaust by killing all humans on Earth except for one man and his family (a wife, three sons, and their wives)?. The answer was that this perfect, all-knowing God somehow regretted that he made human beings and he grieved in his heart (Genesis 6:6) because, much to God’s surprise, there was violence on Earth.. So God told Noah to build an ark and save only his family and pairs of animals from a life-destroying flood.. When the family finally left the ark for dry land, a grateful Noah burned some of the animals that were on the ark and offered them on an altar to God.. When Noah awakened, he got furious with Ham for seeing him naked and for some strange reason cursed Ham’s innocent son, Canaan, and said an appropriate punishment for Canaan and his descendants would be perpetual slavery.. Another puzzling story to me was the biblical story of Lot, another famous drunk and nephew of Abraham.. Instead, Lot offered the men his virgin daughters (which was Lot’s right to do, since his daughters were his property).. Next, God decided to kill everyone living in Sodom, except for Lot, his wife, and two daughters.. God told Lot and his family not to look back at Sodom burning, but out of curiosity Lot’s wife looked back.. Panicked because they were living in a wilderness cave where there were no other men, Lot’s daughters took turns on consecutive nights getting Lot drunk and having incestuous sex with him.. Not only was Lot able to “perform” when drunk without remembering his sexual encounters, but God blessed the incest by seeing to it that the two unnamed daughters each got pregnant and had sons (Moab and Ammon) to assure family descendants.. Zarathustra rejected the religion of the Bronze Age Iranians with their many gods, believing in only one god.. The first encounter between the ancient people who developed historical Judaism and the Persian religious ideas of Zoroastrianism seems to have come around the time of Hebrew captivity in Babylon, around 600 BCE.

Pyramid-the Boundary Stone of the Promised Land Part I. This blog post relates to the alignment of Regulus-Jupiter-Mercury on August 6th 2015. It has been

Since we are seeing celestial signs related to the Great Pyramid in the current context of the BloodMoon Tetrad of 2014-2015 , it makes sense that we should also be aware of potential signs related to the Great Pyramid at the birth of Christ .. A primary key to our understanding of the relationship between the significance of the Great Pyramid and the birth , life and ministry of Jesus Christ is the Pyramid’s so called “ Bethlehem Line .” This is the geographical application of the designed angle of descent and ascent of its {the Pyramid’s main} sloping passages, which is 26 degrees 18’ 9.7” —an angle significant for having once been the exact elevation of Thuban -the Pole Star from the latitude of the Pyramid .. Second, the Pyramid dimensions encompass all of Egypt as we have just explained above, as seen in Figure F . Thirdly, The Great Pyramid is the Boundary Stone for the Promised Land of Israel .. With the Great Pyramid, Isaiah 19 describes an ‘altar’ where the Pyramid sits at both the center and border of Egypt .. 19:19 which is a direct reference to the Great Pyramid , but with specific relation to the Bethlehem line , which is the Pyramid’s unique witness to God’s “ greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched out arm, Andhis miracles, and his acts…” the many “ ands ” of this verse indicating the figure of speech polysyndetyn , which puts individual emphasis on each element of God’s manifested power between the “ ands ”.. This figure presents God’s judgment on the inhabitants of the land of Egypt, encapsulated within the Great Pyramid’s lines , emanating from the center of the Earth’s landmass to encompass not only the boundaries of Egypt and the inheritance of the twelve tribes of Israel , but all creation .. With corresponding signs linked to the Great Pyramid at the Birth of Christ , it would be intriguing to find complimentary signs of the Great Pyramid with the “ Christ angle ” marking his victorious Second Coming -on Rosh Hashanah .. With all these heavenly signs occurring in the context of the Blood Moon Tetrad of 2014-2015 , the signs of the Great Pyramid coming on Rosh Hashanah , and the numerous planetary conjunctions repeating the pattern found at the birth of Christ , the evidence is overwhelming.

Does the Bible teach distinct roles for men and women in the church? This debate is a frequent and sometimes heated one in the church today. We recognize the sensitive nature of this question. It’s understandably an emotional issue, and one that touches people deeply. Naturally, this subject affects women in ways it doesn’t affect men. But most men under a certain age are accustomed to working with and for women, so they too are often culturally uncomfortable with any gender restrictions in the church.

Does the Bible teach distinct roles for men and women in the church?. But most men under a certain age are accustomed to working with and for women, so they too are often culturally uncomfortable with any gender restrictions in the church.. We shouldn’t extrapolate from this a detailed list of “men’s work” and “women’s work,” but we also can’t ignore how God distinguished us in creation and equipped us differently for differing roles.. The people God chose to lead Israel were all men (with one intentional exception), God directed that the priests all be male, and Christ chose twelve men to be apostles of the church.. I do not let women teach men or have authority over them.. There are two things the apostle Paul says are inappropriate for women in ministry: teaching men, and having authority over men.. And if women were teaching what was false, they shouldn’t have been restricted from teaching only men, but also kept from teaching women and children as well!. And, again, why would the women be allowed to teach women and children if they weren’t competent to teach men?. Most of us today are culturally uncomfortable with this teaching, but it’s difficult to see any legitimate interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:11-12 other than that, in the church, women should not teach men or have authority over men.. To teach that this passage is doing away with any distinction between men and women goes way beyond the context of this passage and contradicts everything else Scripture says on the subject.. The accounts of the early church in Acts and the letters of Paul frequently acknowledge women who shared in ministering to God’s people (Acts 9:36; 16:14-15; 18:26; 21:9; Romans 16:1-12; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19).. Is it inequitable for God to entrust certain areas of ministry to men and not to women?. We enthusiastically support the involvement of women in every area of ministry and leadership, except for those requiring teaching men or having spiritual authority over men.

News: Ecumenism

Ukrainian experts say the impact of the war in Ukraine, and a deepening split between the country’s two Orthodox Churches and Moscow has the potential to reshape the global ecumenical landscape.. But with Moscow an increasingly isolated pole within global Orthodoxy, Ukrainian scholars say they see new possibilities for talks between Catholics and Orthodox Churches.. After February’s Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Orthodox Church, and especially its leader, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, has come under considerable international criticism for its vocal support of the invasion.. Within Ukraine, several parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) have left the Church, which is under the jurisdiction of Kirill, and adhered instead to the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), which has been recognized as an independent Orthdox Church by the Patriarch of Constantiople and other leading Churches of the Orthodox communion.. The tensions between Moscow and its erstwhile daughter Church in Ukraine have led to a still-developing new relationship between the UOC-MP and the OUC, with the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, aiming to maintain relationships with both.. But experts say the isolation of the Russian Orthodox Church and its alignment with the invasion are also beginning to factor on the global ecumenical scale.. Archimandrite Cyril Hovorun, an Orthodox theologian, and professor at Loyola Marymount University, who from 2008-2009 headed the Department of External Church Relations of the UOC-MP told The Pillar that the war is jeopardizing the position of the Russian Church worldwide, where it is an active participant in various ecumenical structures, in particular the World Council of Churches.. "Before, they tried to dictate their terms and boycotted bilateral dialogues because of the presence of Constantinople and other [Orthodox] Churches that recognized the OCU.”. The Russian Church’s newfound desire to engage only goes so far: while the ROC participated in the Inter-Orthodox Pre-Assembly Consultation of the World Council of Churches, they ignored the May meeting of the coordinating committee of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, which was held in Crete.. Iwan Dacko, who represents the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church on the commission, told The Pillar that Russian aggression, political and ecclesiastical, undoubtedly affects the tone of the commission’s work.. “When I asked Cardinal Edward Cassidy in 1994 why Catholics are always looking towards the Moscow Patriarchate in the ecumenical dialogue, he said ‘My dear Ukrainian friend, you don't know one thing, which in Italian is called Il fascino di Mosca – the charm of Moscow.’ And it is still so to this day, though significantly lessened,” Dacko said.. Now both representatives of the Catholic world and the Orthodox world are saying that it is shameful what Kirill is doing.". Thinking about the future of Orthodox-Catholic dialogue, Dacko said he hopes that in the future the OCU can be included, bringing an essential voice to the commission from the Slavic Orthodox world currently represented only by Moscow’s boycott.. Some Orthodox representatives have told me that they (the OCU) are now an autocephalous Church and should have [its own] representatives in this commission.”. Taras Kurylets of the Ukrainian Catholic University's Institute of Ecumenical Studies told The Pillar agrees that the participation of the OCU in the International Commission could be positive, and might open up new horizons in the dialogue.

We'll analyze more in-depth the sacrifices that Yaakov brought and the Patriarch's worship at large.

The fact that it says, "he erected," and not "he built," indicates that it was only one stone; he set it up and offered a sacrifice on it.. Regarding this altar as well – like most of the altars built by the patriarchs (see lecture no.. 14) – there is no explicit mention of it being used for the offering of sacrifices.. "And he built there an altar.". Yaakov is the first of the patriarchs about whom the Torah says that he slaughtered zevachim .. And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Be'er-Sheva, and offered zevachim to the God of his father Yitzchak.. Here the zevachim are peace offerings (see Shemot 24:5), Yaakov being the first to offer peace offerings to God.. Even though this is not explicitly stated in Scripture, it is possible that this was in the same place that Yitzchak built his altar in Be'er-Sheva, and this indeed is what the Rashbam says: "To the God of his father Yitzchak – for Yitzchak had built an altar in Be'er-Sheva when the Holy One, blessed be He, appeared to him, as it is written in Parashat Toledot , and he [= Yaakov] too offered sacrifices there as did his father.". And Rabbi Elazar said: What is the meaning of the verse: "Many peoples shall go and say, Come you and let us go up to the mount of the Lord, to the house of the God of Yaakov" ( Yeshayahu 2:3) – the God of Yaakov, but not the God of Avraham and Yitzchak?. Rather, not like Avraham who called it a mountain, as it is stated: "As it is said to this day, In the mount the Lord will appear" ( Bereishit 22:14).. But rather like Yaakov who called it a house, as it is stated: "And he called the name of that place Bet-El (the house of God) (ibid.. Yaakov expresses the idea of the wholeness of a house.. And Yaakov called it a house because it leads to peace between those who live there together.. In the last few lectures I have examined the patriarchs' worship of God as it expressed itself in the building of altars, erection of pillars, and offering of sacrifices.. Besides the offering of the ram as a burnt offering at the Akeida in place of Yitzchak, the only sacrifices mentioned are those of Yaakov, who brought zevachim -shelamim.

Kim Bongryol PhD, Professor of Architecture, Korea National University of Arts A Buddhist Temple Is a Complex of Buildings Buddhism was introduced to China from India and Central Asia, and it was already prevalent in China by the fourth century when the religion was first introduced to the Korean peninsula. At that time, the peninsula ...

According to the principle of “One World, One Buddha,” or the existence of one Buddha at a time, a single building should enshrine only one object of worship, requiring that a temple have various buildings for worship.. As the residences for monks, dining hall, lecture hall, prayer hall, and meditation hall were each separately constructed as independent buildings, the area for monks alone could include some ten buildings.. Korean Buddhist structures, on the other hand, were wooden buildings just like ordinary houses.. Accordingly, in the Korean architectural tradition, the plan and construction of Buddhist architecture represent characteristics of Korean architecture in general.. Only the foundation and its stone or clay facing remain along with the roof tiles.. Korea, too, aspired to construct cave temples after Buddhism was first introduced to the peninsula.. The image hall itself became an object of worship because of the Buddhist statues enshrined within.. For example, the architectural type of Goguryeo was “one pagoda, three image halls,” with one pagoda surrounded by image halls on three sides.. Temples founded in ancient times followed strict standards because they were built mostly in capital cities with state support.. By the early ninth century, five important sects of Buddhism had been established in Korea.. While temples associated with the Doctrinal School regarded image and lecture halls as important locations for worship and for studying sutras, respectively, Seon emphasized mediation rooms and monks’ living quarters as spaces for religious practice and therefore constructed monastery buildings with spaces for such activities.

Updated for Trinity Sunday 2016. (These were the lessons in 2012 when I preached the sermon.) Let us pray: Holy One of Old, open our eyes that we may see. Amen. It was a set-up. Yeshayahu, Isa…

The elders of Israel saw God in the wilderness, but then there was that one time that God hid Moses and only let him look at God’s—well… Does God have a rump?. God spoke and Isaiah couldn’t see who God was talking to.. Yeshayahu and Yeshua, Isaiah and Jesus, shared a naming tradition, rooted in the word for salvation in their native Hebrew – we have German to thank for the “J” in Jesus and Latin for the “I” in Isaiah, but they both begin with the same letter in Hebrew, a yud , a “y.” Yeshayahu and Yeshua, Isaiah and Jesus also shared elements of a divine commission.. Then Isaiah calls God something like “LORD” with capital letters, representing God’s Most Holy Name that cannot be pronounced by human tongues and is related to the verb “I AM;” LORD or Commander of Heaven’s armies or “hosts.” God is not throwing a party – not yet – God’s hosts are brigades or battalions of heavenly warriors.. The blessed, holy Trinity is one way and only one way of naming the God of many names, the God of Isaiah, the God of Jesus and our God.. The God of Isaiah, the God of Jesus and our God.. The God of many names is our God, Isaiah’s God and the God of Jesus the Messiah.


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