The nascent Sanhedrin released a declaration to the 70 nations for Hanukkah to be read at a ceremony in Jerusalem on the last day of the holiday. The ceremony will include the consecration of a stone altar prepared for use in the Third Temple. The declaration is intended as an invitation to the nations to participate in the Temple and to receive its blessings.
The altar is currently in the form of loose stone blocks ready to be transported to the Temple Mount and stored in a manner that will enable them to be transported and assembled at a moment’s notice. When complete, the altar will be a square nine feet on each side and five feet tall, and includes a ramp for the priests to ascend. The decision to prepare the blocks and all the details of their composition is the result of a long study performed by the members of the Sanhedrin in conjunction with the Temple Institute. The stones are made of aerated concrete and are fit for use in the Temple. There are plans underway to prepare a new set made of actual stones which are considered the ideal material from which to build the altar.
A full-dress reenactment of the Korban Olah Tamid (the daily offering) will take place. Kohanim (Jewish men of the priestly caste descended from Aaron) wearing Biblically mandated garb will lead the ceremony. The location is still unclear as the Jerusalem municipality is weighing security concerns that a Jewish ceremony of this sort will precipitate Muslim violence if performed in view of the Temple Mount. Also at question is whether the Kohanim will ritually slaughter a lamb or whether prepared meat will be brought. Though the Sanhedrin has received all of the necessary permits from the government organizations in charge of slaughtering animals, they are still waiting for the municipality to approve that part of the ceremony. In either case, the meat will be roasted on the newly consecrated altar.
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