The Gemara in Yoma (21b, 39b) says the following:
אָמַר רַב זוּטְרָא בַּר טוֹבִיָּה: לָמָּה נִקְרָא שְׁמוֹ יַעַר, דִּכְתִיב: ״בֵּית יַעַר הַלְּבָנוֹן״, לוֹמַר לָךְ: מָה יַעַר מְלַבְלֵב — אַף בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ מְלַבְלֵב. דְּאָמַר רַב הוֹשַׁעְיָא: בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁבָּנָה שְׁלֹמֹה בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ, נָטַע בּוֹ כׇּל מִינֵי מְגָדִים שֶׁל זָהָב, וְהָיוּ מוֹצִיאִין פֵּירוֹת בִּזְמַנֵּיהֶן. וְכֵיוָן שֶׁהָרוּחַ מְנַשֶּׁבֶת בָּהֶן הָיוּ נוֹשְׁרִין פֵּירוֹתֵיהֶן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״יִרְעַשׁ כַּלְּבָנוֹן פִּרְיוֹ״, וּמֵהֶן הָיְתָה פַּרְנָסָה לַכְּהוּנָּה.
וְכֵיוָן שֶׁנִּכְנְסוּ גּוֹיִם לַהֵיכָל יָבְשׁוּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וּפֶרַח לְבָנוֹן אוּמְלָל״. וְעָתִיד הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְהַחְזִירָהּ לָנוּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״פָּרוֹחַ תִּפְרַח וְתָגֵל אַף גִּילַת וְרַנֵּן כְּבוֹד הַלְּבָנוֹן נִתַּן לָהּ״.
Rav Zutra bar Toviya said: Why is the Temple called: Forest, as it is written: “The house of the forest of Lebanon” (Melachim I 10:17)? To tell you: Just as a forest blooms, so too the Temple blooms. As Rav Hoshaya said: When Solomon built the Temple, he planted in it all kinds of sweet fruit trees made of gold, and miraculously these brought forth fruit in their season. And when the wind blew upon them, their fruit would fall off, as it is stated: “May his fruits rustle like Lebanon” (Tehillim 72:16). And through selling these golden fruits to the public, there was a source of income for the priesthood.
But once the gentile nations entered the Sanctuary the golden trees withered, as it states “The flower of Lebanon withers” (Nachum 1:4). And in the future hour of redemption, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will restore them to us as it is stated: “It will blossom and will rejoice, even with joy and song, the glory of Lebanon will be given to it” (Yeshayahu 35:2).
In the present day east wall of the Har Habayis, around 200 feet to the north of the dome of the rock, is a sealed up double gate, called Sha'ar Harachamim-The Gate of Mercy. Through this gate, Moshiach is going to enter Yerushalayim. The Arabs put a cemetery right in front of it, and people say they did that so Eliyahu Hanavi, who is a Kohen, can't enter, because then he will become Tamei. (The Arabs didn't know that a kohen is allowed to walk over a non-Jewish grave, as long as he doesn't touch it. [Rambam, Hilchos Tumas Meis, a1:13)
But who made this gate? when? and why?
I have added 16 new pictures of the First Beis Hamikdash.
My name is Mendel Lewis.
This year is a Hakhel year. To learn about this special year, and what we should do about it, visit the following links:
The Year of Hakhel - Celebrating Jewish Unity - 5783 -- A Year of Unity (chabad.org)
Shnas Hakhel - Home
Hahkel Nation 5783 (hakhelnation.com)
Hashem said to Yechezkel, "Its reading in the Torah is as great as its building. Go and say it to them, and they will occupy themselves to read the form of it in the Torah. And in reward for its reading, that they occupy themselves to read about it, I count it for them as if they were occupied with the building of it. (Tanchuma tzav 14)