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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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< Q14.12 TOC Q14.14 >

Question 14.13:
Why is Jerusalem so important to Jews?


According to tradition, the Jews are commanded to worship at the Temple (Beis Hamikdash) at the place G-d specifies. When this central site is extant, sacrifices may be brought only there. Also, Jews are commanded to go to the central site for the three "pilgrimage festivals", it is the only place where the Pesach sacrifice may be eaten, and it is the only place where the "second tithe" may be eaten. After David united the tribes into a kingdom, he conquered the city of Jerusalem and made it his capital. He then wanted to build the temple rather than leaving the ark in the temporary quarters it had been in until that time. G-d informed him that while he was not allowed to build the temple, his son, Solomon, would, and that temple would remain the central site for the Jewish people.

After the temple was destroyed the Jews were not allowed to go back to bringing sacrifices at local altars (called bamos or high places). Thus, the second temple had to be built on the site of the first. When the second temple was destroyed, the restriction still held. Thus, according to tradition, it is the only place where the temple can be rebuilt when the Moshiach comes.

In the time of Avrohom, the city was the center of the remnants of monotheism from the days of Noah. It was the site of the Yeshivah of Shem and Ever (Noah's son & grandson) where they taught about G-d and the laws G-d had given to Noah.

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

[Got Questions?]Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your questions. If it doesn't, please drop Email to The FAQ maintainer will endeavor to direct your query to an appropriate individual that can answer it. If you would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at

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© (c) 1993-2002 Daniel P. Faigin <>