The Ancient Significance of Mount Moriah

The Ancient Significance of Mount Moriah

This article briefly lists some of the ancient biblical stories that allegedly took place on Mount Moriah (later known as the Temple Mount), according to Jewish tradition. Although the Torah does not explicitly connect the creation of the world, the creation of Adam, the sacrifice of Isaac, or Jacob’s dream of angels with this place, the Sages find textual links indicating that they took place at this site, contributing to its significance as the holiest site in Jewish tradition. This article is from the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, a governmental body established by the Ministry of Religion to cultivate, develop and preserve the Western Wall and its tunnels. 

What is the Western Wall?

We all know that the Western Wall, the Kotel, is the most significant site in the world for the Jewish people. We know that it is the last remnant of our Temple. We also know that Jews from around the world gather here to pray. People write notes to G-d and place them between the ancient stones of the Wall.

But did you know that many important events took place on Mount Moriah, later known as the Temple Mount?

Mount Moriah, according to Jewish tradition, is the place where many pivotal events in Jewish history took place. Traditionally, creation of the world began from the Foundation Stone at the peak of the mountain. This is also where Adam, the first human, was created.

When Abraham was commanded to prepare his son Isaac for sacrifice, the father and son went up to “the place that G-d chooses” – Mount Moriah, and to its peak – the Foundation Stone – where the binding of Isaac took place.

Jacob’s dream (of angels ascending and descending a ladder) is linked to this mountain.

Later on, the Holy of Holies – the core and heart of the First and Second Temples – was built around the Foundation Stone.

In the year 37 BCE, Herod was appointed king in Jerusalem. He soon initiated a huge renovation project for the Temple. He hired many workers who toiled to make the Temple more magnificent and to widen the area of the Temple Mount by flattening the mountain peak and building four support walls around it. The Western Wall we know of, is one of these four support walls.