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Foundation stone and area beneath it


Rabbi David Sperling

Shevat 14, 5781
I wasnt raised in a religious household, so I have many gaps in my knowledge I am trying to fill. And I also dont know how to properly verify all the information I learn too. I try not to believe every piece of information I read until I can verify that it is a credible Jewish source. So, I was wondering if you might clarify a few things for me, I would be very grateful. The Temple Mount was built upon Mount Moriah. The tip of the mountain (Foundation stone) is said to be the location of where the world is created, and where Abraham fulfilled Gods test to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac. But other articles mention a cave underneath this foundation stone, known as Well of Souls (בור הרוחות). I was wondering what the Tanakh or other Jewish commentary has to say about the cave found beneath the foundation stone. Did the cave exist during the times of the first and second temple? If yes, what was its religious purpose?
Shalom, Thank you for your question. I am not aware of traditional sources talking about a bor ha’ruchot or well of souls. However, our traditional sources do talk about some form of cavity beneath the alter in the Temple. There were pipe like holes that lead to a cavity under the alter. These are called “shitin”. Here is a link to a very interesting (and reliable) article about these shitin – Of Divine Nostrils and the Primordial Altar: A Pipeline of Sanctity | The Lehrhaus A good source to start your learning would be in the Mishna, tractate Midot, chapter 3, Mishna 3 – which states “Beneath the floor at that [the southwestern] corner, there was a [underground] place [a tunnel] one amah by one amah which had a marble tile with a ring attached to it, through which they would go down to the pit [where the blood would collect] and clean it.” I hope this is of some help. Blessings.
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