The Jewish people commemorate and mourn the destruction of the Temple every year in the Jewish date 9th of Av. This year it turns on Shabbat, so the mourning will not take place tomorrow but on Sunday, the 10th of Av. The first days of the month of Av is a time in which the Jewish People are accustomed to dedicating themselves to remembering the Temple and to mourning its absence. Every year during this period we at the Temple Mount Sifting Project are invited to lecture about the Project, and many visitors take part in the sifting. Thus, they are expressing their will to dedicate themselves in a practical manner to an act of Temple commemoration.
But what is the significance of the month of Av for those of us who deal with sifting the soil of the Temple’s site on a daily basis? We are constantly concerning ourselves with small material relics originating from the place in which the Temple stood. On the face of it, this is an activity which is not connected with the deeper meaning of the site, which many relate to as part of a reality which is beyond this world, as a utopian ideal not entirely connected with mundane everyday life. Perhaps for this reason, in particular, the Sifting Project helps reveal the central significance of the Temple and the Temple Mount.
We are dealing with debris from construction and earthworks that in any other place would be considered refuse – but with us, it undergoes careful sifting. The finds from this sifting pass through many phases of classification and documentation, which will result in a comprehensive picture with great significance. This will enable us to achieve a deeper understanding of the history of the Jewish people’s most important and holy site, which is also important and holy to Muslims and Christians throughout the world.
The process by which apparently worthless material is imbued with great significance due to its source being the site of the Temple, and due to the way in which we treat and research it, is a bit like the idea of the purpose of the Temple itself – which is to sanctify the various planes of one’s life. In other words, to impart lofty meaning to all facets of mankind’s daily existence.
The grinding task of researching small finds, a task many would view as tedious and fruitless labor, is likely to cause us to forget the bigger picture. But, when we occasionally arrive at new understandings as a result of an analysis of the finds, when we are asked to present the project to visitors at the sifting site or in public lectures, or when we witness every day the excitement of those participating in the sifting at the moment of a revelation of a special artifact, then we remember it anew and are invigorated to continue in our work with greater dedication.
Unfortunately, we are now finding ourselves in a situation in which the funding on hand is close to being depleted within a few months.
There have also been ongoing efforts towards achieving government funding, but yet nothing seems to be materialized. As you can see in the video below: One cannot live on promises alone. But, on contributions, one can.
We need your continued support in saving, uncovering, researching, and publishing our heritage from the Temple Mount. This project was probably never meant to be a state-run enterprise but rather a community funded endeavor.
To continue taking part in this important task please click here.