The Queen’s Guard – Remembering the Past

  • Historians are guarding the past that it should never be forgotten.
  • Guarding the temple was not to protect it from enemies’ foreign armies, but for the honor of the Queen
  • The past is very important and is not to be forgotten. Every person has been given a job to guard the past which is recorded in history.

Remembering the Past sometimes is more important than anything else. History is being made everyday. Historians are guarding the past that it should never be forgotten. Look into the past to learn how to build the future. Wisdom is acquired through age. The young remember their ancestors to be for them an example and look into the future. The future is the unknown. The past is the known. The present is the reality. The name of God in the Torah is translated as past, present, and future in one word in one moment.

God is called the Queen of Israel also known as the Shechina the divine presence. The Jewish people are in a three week period of mourning for the destruction of the holy temple.

There is a commandment in the Torah “Build for me a tabernacle that I shall dwell amongst you.”  The Tabernacle is the Queen’s palace.  The Honor for the queen’s palace is that it should be guarded.  In the times of the holy temple, the priests who also worked in the Temple making sacrifices were also commanded to guard the temple. Guarding the temple was not to protect it from enemies’ foreign armies, but for the honor of the Queen. The Priests and Levites did not serve in the army like other Israelites.

Lay out of the holy temple showing the places which were placed guards.

The holy temple had guard stations and checkpoints.  These watch stations were to glorify the honor and dignity of the house of God. If one would not expect to find the palace of an ordinary King and Queen to be left without a guard, so much more so the practice of guarding the house of the creator of the universe. Some say these guard stations in the temple were manned around the clock, others say that it was only at night. Guards were kept at 24 locations throughout the holy temple manned by Levites and Priests.

Location of the Priestly Watches: The diagram is of the structure of the holy temple. It shows The Chamber of Avtinas where the incense was offered up on the golden incense altar in the sanctuary. The Chamber of the Spark was located in the north of the court. Here a small fire was kept burning to provide the fire which burned perpetually on the altar.  Guard watches were in both of these places in the temple manned by young priests who had not reached their official age to do the sacrifices in the temple.

The place of the fire was likewise situated in the Northern side of the temple. A great fire was kept burning there all the time. Priests would gather there to warm themselves around the fire after immersing in the waters of purification. The place of the fire also housed sleeping facilities for those on duty in the temple. There were guards at the five gates entrances to the temple who were Levites. Altogether there were 24 stations which were guarded.

The picture is of the supervisor of the guards of the holy temple carrying a torch. If a guard was found to be sleeping on duty he could burn his pants.

Each night the supervisor of all the watches would inspect each of these 24 places where there were guards during the night. When the supervisor would come to inspect to check on the guards, they were required to greet him. The supervisor would say to the guards, “Peace be unto you.”  If the guards would not answer him it was obvious that they were sleeping. The inspector was carry a burning torch.  If the Levite the guard would not answer him he would rap the sleeping Levite with his burning stick. The supervisor was permitted even to burn his clothes.

Guarding the holy temple was a great responsibility. Sleeping on the job could mean getting burned. The temple has been destroyed and remains only memories of the past. Remembering the past, is important for those living today in Jerusalem. The past is the heritage of Jerusalem the holy city.

The past is also important to Great Britain.  Even though Great Britain is no longer a monarchy, they still cherish Buckingham palace the place of Queen Elizabeth and the royal family. The Buckingham Place has guards not for its protection but to give it honor. The job of a guard of the Buckingham palace is not always so pleasant. They have to stand for two hours at the entrance of the palace like a statue without any movement. People come and obnoxiously try to taunt them and it hard for them to ignore them.  They are allowed to scream out at them if necessary. There are many rules which they have to follow and strict discipline.

Traditionally the Queens Guards are not allowed to move. Typically a guard spends two hours on duty and four hours off. He is not expected to stand still for more than ten minutes at a time. Every so often he will walk up and down in front of the sentry box, like a policeman walking the beat.

Especially interesting to tourists who come to see the Buckingham Palace is the changing of the Guard.

The past is very important and is not to be forgotten. Every person has been given a job to guard the past which is recorded in history. Learn from the past. Make a better future. Not everyone is cut out to be a guard; certainly not to be a guard of the Buckingham Palace.  Even though the holy temple has been destroyed there are still guards in Judaism watching over the heritage.  These are the Torah Scholars in each and every generation. Respect is given to Torah Scholars over all other Jewish people. To be a Torah Scholar is not any easy job.  Not everyone is required or capable of being a Torah Scholar. All that is required of Jews is to be a good Jews. All that is required of all people is to do their best; to give it all you got.

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David Wexelman

Rabbi David Wexelman is the  author of five books on the topics of World Unity and Peace, and Progressive Jewish Spirituality. Rabbi Wexelman is a member of the American Friends of Maccabee, a charitable organization helping the poor in the United States and in Israel.  Donations are tax deductible in the USA.

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