Project Genesis




The Land of Israel

The Shamir

Question: What was the shamir, and why was it used in building the Temple?

Answer: The shamir is one of the things created at sundown on the sixth day of Creation (Mishnah Avos 5:6). The Talmud (Pesachim 59a) tells about its power to cleave stone, but doesn’t describe the process in detail; the commentators (Rashi on Pesachim, Rambam on Avos) explain that it was a worm that could cleave stone by looking at it. Solomon used it to build the Temple because using metal implements was forbidden (Ex. 20:22; Deut. 27:5); see Tosefta Sotah 15:1 and Talmud Sotah 48b. For more details about the shamir see Ginsburg, Legends of the Jews, Vol.1 pp.33-4; Vol.4 pp.166,168; Vol.5 pp.53,109; Vol.6 pp.282,299.

All the Best,
Rabbi Azriel Schreiber

1 Follow-up »

  1. What was the story about shlomo hamelech and how he found the shamir worm

    See http://www.jhom.com/topics/stones/shamir.html

    Comment by ATR — August 16, 2006 @ 8:29 am

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