Two stairways leading underground exist on the Temple Mount’s southern extension. Why are they there? When were they built and by whom?
The Southern Steps were the steps of the Second Temple that most Jews used to walk up to approach the Temple from the South, especially during the great pilgrimage holidays of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. While some Jews approached the Temple from the high part of Jerusalem on the West of the Temple, most Jews approached from the City of David area, below the Temple to the South.
With over 50 mikvaot (ritual baths) discovered in the vicinity of the Southern Steps entrance, serving the multitudes of Jews before entering the Temple, this area was no doubt the busiest spot. According to Jewish law, every Jew must be spiritually pure before ascending the Temple, and they accomplish this spiritual purity by dunking in a mikveh, a ritual bath.
This Temple Mount Moment video is part of a new series produced by High on the Har with The Temple Institute! Join High On The Har co-founders Rabbi Yehuda Levi and Dr. Melissa Jane Kronfeld as they explore the history, archaeology, hidden treasures, and ancient Jewish connection to the Temple Mount… from high on the har! New episodes will released every week! Click here to subscribe and never miss out on any of the magic.