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This might seem a bit weird, but I see some logic:

The Gemmorah in Kiddushin 69a discusses the facts that:

מלמד שבית המקדש גבוה מכל ארץ ישראל וארץ ישראל גבוה מכל הארצות‏

This teaches that the Temple is higher than all of Eretz Yisrael. And it teaches that Eretz Yisrael is higher than all of the lands.

We know that this does not speak of physical height (the Gemmorah itself says the Temple Mount wasn't the highest mount in the area), but still, it represents (in my eyes) a certain correlation between holiness and physical height.

The Mishna in Keylim presents the hierarchy of the 10 holy places each one higher than the other:

עֶשֶׂר קְדֻשּׁוֹת הֵן, אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת מִכָּל הָאֲרָצוֹת... עֲיָרוֹת הַמֻּקָּפוֹת חוֹמָה מְקֻדָּשׁוֹת מִמֶּנָּה,..
לִפְנִים מִן הַחוֹמָה מְקֻדָּשׁ מֵהֶם,...
הַר הַבַּיִת מְקֻדָּשׁ מִמֶּנּוּ, ...
הַחֵיל מְקֻדָּשׁ מִמֶּנּוּ, ...
עֶזְרַת נָשִׁים מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת מִמֶּנּוּ, ...
עֶזְרַת יִשְׂרָאֵל מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת מִמֶּנָּה, ...
עֶזְרַת הַכֹּהֲנִים מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת מִמֶּנָּה, ... בֵּין הָאוּלָם וְלַמִּזְבֵּחַ מְקֻדָּשׁ מִמֶּנָּה, ...
הַהֵיכָל מְקֻדָּשׁ מִמֶּנּוּ, ...
קֹדֶשׁ הַקֳּדָשִׁים מְקֻדָּשׁ מֵהֶם.

In this list some items are higher than the preceding (like the stairs between עזרת נשים and עזרת ישראל) and some are on the very same level (היכל and ק"ק).

I would expect this correlation to be consistent, and each following item to be physically higher. Why it isn't?

  • 2
    You said it yourself - “Assuming that this does not speak of physical height (the Gemmorah itself says the Temple Mount wasn’t the highest mount in the area).” – DonielF May 16 at 15:14
  • Note that on a globe, the highest point depends on the way you draw the globe. Given that Yerushalayim is the top of the globe it would be higher than the rest. Also we cannot be speaking of elevation above sealevel, on a tangent to the globe. – sabbahillel May 16 at 15:33
  • I think you should amend your first statement to this: "Assuming that this does not speak of physical height (the Gemmorah itself says the Temple Mount wasn't the highest mount in the area), it presents (in my eyes) no correlation between holiness and physical height." – Mordechai May 16 at 18:02
  • @Matt While some things are not in our control others are. the parts of the Temple might be designed to reflect that correlation. Would you be surprised if it was so, like Heychal or K"K was placed on another set of stairs? – Al Berko May 16 at 18:06
  • @DonielF I rephrased that, aslo see my comment to matt – Al Berko May 16 at 18:11

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