Harps built for Third Temple destroyed in major Jerusalem forest fire
Everything seemed on track to bring harps into the world for their unique music to be played in the Temple until Sunday when Arab terrorists set the blaze that became a massive forest fire surrounding Jerusalem. In addition to the 5,000 acres of forest, the workshop of Micah Harari in which he had painstakingly created unique handmade harps for more than three decades burned to the ground, destroying his tools and many harps that stood waiting for the Temple.
The first temple harps in 2,000 years
Micah and Shoshana Harari began making handmade harps in the early 1980s based on 3,000-year-old cave drawings discovered by archaeologists in Megiddo. Without knowing it, they had brought a musical instrument into the world whose music had not been heard for 2,000 years.
Not long after, they were approached by Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, the founder of The Temple Institute, who commissioned a harp for use in the Third Temple. More research revealed that the Temple had both nevel (harp) and kinor (lyre). As donations came in, the Temple Institute commissioned more harps from the Harraris. The Temple Harp Project is an ongoing non-profit endeavor to create harps and lyres for the Third Temple.
When Micah saw the fire approaching the outskirts of the town on Sunday night, he went to the workshop which was located about 150 meters from his house.
“I was fighting the fire all the way to the door,” Micah said. “They finally told us to evacuate. I ran out without a wallet or anything. We stayed with a friend in Beit Zayit. I had only the clothes on my back. All night, I was thinking that the house would be burned too and that we would have nothing left in the world.”
Fortunately, the house was untouched but the 350 square meter workshop was a total loss. The Hararis have been making harps for about 40 years, 35 of those years in their workshop.
“About 25 harps that were completed were destroyed. Another 10 or 15 that had been paid for and commissioned were in various stages of completion. They are gone. I had one harp I made specially for my wife,” Micah said. “That is now the last Temple harp in existence.”
In addition to the loss of the harp workshop, Shoshana Harari’s naturopath clinic burned to the ground.
“The Temple harp is the symbol of the state of Israel,” Harari said. “Of course, people who hate Israel would hate harps and be happy we aren’t able to make any more.”
“The herbs, the microscopes, her library, all gone,” Micah related. “She has hundreds of clients and we don’t know what.
Harari is planning to rebuild but for the time being, lack of funds prohibits him from going beyond the planning stage.
“The police won’t even let me near the ruins as the asbestos roof, erected almost forty years ago, crumbled and exploded in the heat.
“We had three employees and several part-timers,” Harari said. “Harp making is a specialized skill that is not so common. I don’t know when or if I can bring them back.”
Israel in the News