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Jerusalem Compass keeps life focused
Needle points to Holy City as reminder of significance
Posted: April 12, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
As Christians and Jews across American mark the events of the Passover and Easter seasons, attention is on Jerusalem as the Holy City and the focal point for their beliefs.
Now they can be reminded of that with the Jerusalem Compass, which points towards Jerusalem at all times.
It was developed by Moshe Abraham, an Israeli Orthodox Jew with a degree from American University, to remind believers about the significance of the Holy City.
Made of pure, solid brass, it is a conversation piece as well as an inspiration, and is the result of meticulous workmanship.
It is already pre-calibrated for the continental United States to be ready to use immediately, and has a dozen of the most frequently used international city zone settings available on the inside of the brass cover to make it accurate anywhere.
"I started thinking to myself, wouldn't it be wonderful if the compass could point in a direction that had more meaning to all of us?" Abraham said. "A direction that was more important. Where would that be?
"So here we are in the holiest city in the world, the center of the universe, and all roads lead to Jerusalem. Let the compass point here," he said.
"The Bible says many things about Jerusalem, especially in Psalm 122:6 where it says 'Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love you.' This is a prayer that comes with a blessing and the Jerusalem Compass will not only remind people to pray, but give them the accurate direction to face while they are praying," he said.
It is the size of a pocket watch and is decorated with some of the same designs found on carvings from the First Temple Period in Jerusalem. And its calibration system keeps the compass needle pointing toward Jerusalem at all times.
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page - 28 The
Jewish Yoice and opinion December 2005
Mizrach or Jerusalem: The Invention of the Jerusalem Compass™
No one is more concerned
with the issue of direction
of East than Jews who
are about to pray. When it is
time to recite one of the three
daily prayer services, Jews
everywhere find themselves
scrambling, whether in a
car, an office, or in a friend’s
home, to determine the direction
Usually, the best they can
do is approximate which way
faces East, but now, with the
introduction of the Jerusalem
Compass™, Jews everywhere
will always be able properly to
fulfill the mitzvah of prayer.
For $39.95 per compass,
Jews throughout the world,
whether in airports, hotels, or
foreign countries, now have
the opportunity always to
face in the proper direction.
Ideas from the Past
But what is the correct direction?
The answer is not as
straight-forward as it seems.
When the creator of the
Jerusalem Compass™ was a
young man, learning in one
of Jerusalem’s popular Yeshivas,
he discovered in the Gemara,
a discussion on a topic
concerning the four corners
of the altar in the Temple in
Jerusalem Each corner of the
altar was designated by its direction,
i.e. south-east, southwest,
The young man, who
prefers to use only his first
name, Moshe, began to ponder
the idea of directions in
general. Suddenly, a question
entered his mind: What do
we have today that enables us
to determine direction?
The answer was easy:
A compass, which always
points to the North.
“This was a law of physics
not to be broken. Yet, for
me, pointing North was a
very significant limitation. I
came to the conclusion that
a compass, being a navigational
instrument, needs to
point to a more significant
direction. With the Talmud
Bavli still open before me,
it became crystal clear that
the direction with which we
are most concerned is Jerusalem,”
Not Always Due East
According to Jewish
law, Jews are supposed to
pray facing the direction of
the land of Israel.
“But here in the US there
is a misconception that we
are to face Mizrach—East.
If Mizrach were always towards
Yerushalayim, then this
would be correct, but, as is
stated in the Shulchan Aruch,
we are to face towards Eretz
Yisrael, towards, Yerushalayim,
towards the makome
hamikdash, towards the
East, he explains,
is not necessarily
of Jerusalem. It
is the direction of
China and Syria.
that, according to
94 of the Mishna
Brurah, written by
the Chafetz Chaim at the turn
of the 20th century, all the
achronim, latter-day commentators,
agree that since
Jews in the US are actually
more North-West of Eretz
Yisroel, it is proper for them
to face more South-East, i.e.
in the direction of Jerusalem.
“Also, when in shul, the
mitzvah is not to daven to
the aron, but rather towards
Yerushalayim. Therefore, the
Mishna Brurah states, so as
not to show disrespect to the
aron, it is correct to place it
on the same wall facing in
this direction. Due to building
regulations, many times
this is not possible, therefore,
while davening, we should
at least turn our heads in the
direction of Yerushalayim
in order to fulfill what is
brought down in Siman 94,”
Moshe worked on the Jerusalem Compass™ to satisfy
this requirement. When he
presented it to leading rabbanim,
their responses, he
says, were extremely positive.
They saw The Jerusalem
Compass™ as a means to enable
Jews to fulfill properly
the mitzvah of prayer.
“As it says in the Shulchan
Aruch, ‘to pray in the
direction of Jerusalem,’”
The first great Talmud
scholar Moshe approached
with the new invention was
Harav Yoseph Liberman,
shlita, who is well known in
Israel for his scholarly work
concerning the building of
synagogues in accordance
with halacha. An engineer,
Rav Liberman was in a position
to rule whether or
not The Jerusalem Compass™
could be relied upon accurately
to point in the direction
After securing Rav
Liberman’s stamp of approval,
Moshe approached Harav
Moshe Halbershtam, shlita, of
the Aida Hacharedit, and then
Harav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita,,
the Rosh Av Beis Din of the
Aida Hacharedit. According
to Moshe, they also approved
the new invention, saying,
“may our prayers be answered
with heavenly compassion.”
According to Moshe, one
of the chief advantages of The
Jerusalem Compass™ is its portability.
“Wherever you go, you
can carry it, and it will carry
you. It will open the gates to
your prayers,” says Moshe.
With The Jerusalem Compass
™, he says, not only can
Jews pray every day facing the
right direction, “but we can also
fulfill our obligation to educate
our precious children to the
importance of directing their
prayers towards Jerusalem.”
Fashioned of solid brass
so that the golden color is rehttp://flective of “the golden city”
itself, The Jerusalem Compass
™ has an engraved cover
and an attractive chain for
holding keys or to attach the
device to a belt buckle. It uses
no computer chips, circuitry,
or batteries, making it useful
even on the Sabbath.
“Since the Jerusalem Compass
™ was designed to serve
such a lofty purpose—to
point all of the Jewish nation
anywhere in the world to one
place—to the most important
and significant city in the holiest
of lands—to enable us to
face and focus our prayers in
the proper direction with no
further need for approximation,
it was fitting that the
Jerusalem Compass™ be fashioned
from only quality materials,”
Small Enough for Children
At $39.95, Moshe believes
it will be a very popular
Chanukah gift this year.
The relatively small size
was also well considered.
Moshe wanted it to be small
enough to fit in a pocket. “This
way it allows the owner to use
it wherever he finds himself,
whether for prayer, or just to
somehow be connected to the
Holy City,” he says.
It is also small enough
for children to carry.
The Jerusalem Compass™,
also referred to as the Jerusalem
Compass™, is manufactured
by N.D. Your Direction,
Ltd, which also holds
the patent for the device. It
can be ordered by calling, toll
free, 1-866-WE-DAVEN (1-
866-933-2836) or by logging
com. The email address is
“It’s amazing. No matter
where you are, it’s pointing
towards Jerusalem. Just like a
Jew himself, wherever he is,
he is always going home, to
Jerusalem,” says Jerusalem
Rabbi Yonah Yaffe. S.L.R.
6 Kislev 5766/ December 7, 2005
‘Mizrach’ or Yerushalayim
The invention of the Jerusalem Compass™
I was a young avreich, learning
in one of Yerushalayim’s popular
yeshivos. A topic in Gemara was
being discussed concerning the four
corners of the mizbei’ach. Each
corner was designated by its direction,
i.e., southeast, southwest, etc. I
began to drift off and ponder the
idea of directions in general.
Suddenly, a question entered my
mind: “What do we have today that
enables us to determine direction?”
The answer was forthcoming: “A
compass.” “And what does a compass
do?” the questions continued.
“It points in the direction of north,”
came the reply. This was a law of
physics not to be broken. Yet for
me, pointing north was a very significant
limitation. I came to the
conclusion that a compass, being a
navigational instrument, needs to
point in a significant direction. With
the Talmud Bavli still open before
me, it became crystal clear with
which direction we need to be concerned…
the one towards
We all know that we are supposed
to daven while facing in the
direction of Eretz Yisrael, but here
in the U.S. there is a misconception
that we are supposed to face
mizrach — east. If facing mizrach
would always mean facing
Yerushalayim, then this would be
correct, but, as is stated in the
Shulchan Aruch, “we are to face
towards Eretz Yisrael, towards
Yerushalayim, towards the makom
hamikdash, towards the Kodesh
The Mishna Brura states in
siman 94 that all of the Acharonim
agree that since we are in fact more
northwest of Eretz Yisrael, then it is
proper for us to face southeast, i.e.,
in the direction of Yerushalayim.
Also, when in shul, the mitzva is
not to daven to the aron, but rather
towards Yerushalayim. Therefore,
the Mishna Brura states, so as not
to show disrespect to the aron, it is
correct to place the aron on the wall
facing in that direction. Due to
building regulations, many times
this is not possible; therefore, while
davening we should remain facing
the aron, but at least turn our heads
in the direction of Yerushalayim, in
order to fulfill what is brought
down in siman 94.
The Jerusalem Compass™ was
invented in order to enable Klal
Yisrael to fulfill the mitzva of tefilla
properly. Whether in airports,
hotels, foreign countries or even in
a shul or home, we now have the
opportunity to always face in the
When the Jerusalem Compass™
was brought before leading
Rabbanim, they were very happy
and impressed, and saw it as a
means to enable Klal Yisrael to fulfill
the mitzva of prayer more properly.
The first to see the Jerusalem
Compass™ was Harav Yoseph
Liberman, shlita. Harav Liberman
is a great talmid chacham, well
known in Eretz Yisrael for his sefer
concerning the building of shuls in
accordance with halacha, as well as
being an engineer. Rav Liberman
was the first to say that the Jerusalem
Compass™ could be relied upon to
accurately point in the direction of
Yerushalayim. Next came stamps
of approval from Harav Moshe
Halbershtam, shlita, of the Eida
Hachareidis, and Harav Moshe
Sternbuch, shlita, Rosh Av Beis Din
of the Eida Hachareidis. Each
closed his haskama with the appropriate
phrase: “May our tefillos be
answered with heavenly compassion.”
Judy Siegel-Itzkovich (1/13/2006)
Tests with a unique compass device in recent months have established that many of the world's - and even Israel's - synagogues have been built without their holy arks facing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, even though this is the traditional position for Jewish prayer, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
The synagogues have been tested by the world's first and only "Jerusalem Compass," a mechanical solid brass device that points to Jerusalem and the site of the Temple from anywhere on Earth - invented by a New Jersey-born Jerusalem yeshiva student who goes only by the name "Moshe."
The Shulchan Aruch, the Jewish legal code compiled by the great Sephardic sage Rabbi Joseph Caro in the 16th century, states (in section 94) that a Jew who comes to pray should face the Land of Israel, and that if he is already in Israel, he should face the site of the destroyed Temple and the Holy of Holies in Jerusalem. If a person is in a windowless room and hasn't a clue where this is, he should direct his prayers from his heart "to God in heaven."
Moshe noted that many synagogues have been built abroad with their holy ark (aron kodesh), which houses the Torah scrolls, facing the "wrong" direction - either because the builders did not know where Jerusalem was in relation to its location or because of building ordinance constraints.
A married father of six who has a US university degree in music education, Moshe an Orthodox Jew, studied in a variety of haredi yeshivot here. He said that in recent months, he and friends have "tested" many synagogues for their position using his Jerusalem Compass and found many with the arks facing the wrong direction. Even in Israel, and Jerusalem, many are significantly off the mark. The synagogue at a well-known haredi yeshiva in the capital, for instance, faces north rather than toward the Temple Mount.
"Most Diaspora Jews face the traditional Mizrah (East) when they pray, but if you face east and pray in Florida, Toronto or London, you will be facing totally different spots," he explained. Christian Zionists who love Israel also have the habit of praying towards Jerusalem - or towards where they think Jerusalem is.
Conventional compasses always point north because of the magnetic force of the North Pole, but since Jerusalem is always in a different direction depending on where you are, the ingenious Jerusalem Compass has a "magnetic polarity recalibrator" (MPR) to point to the right direction.
The $39, non-electrical, non-computerized device - registered for an international patent - appears to defy nature, as the magnetic needle does not always point north. It is pre-calibrated for the continental US (excluding Miami, Hawaii and Alaska). But "log book" code numbers on the inside of the brass cover encompass virtually any other location on the globe. The user recalibrates by releasing the MPR bar, rotating the rim of the compass glass until the needle is opposite the relevant code number on the dial and sliding the MPR bar towards him after recalibration. The setting doesn't have to be changed until you travel to another city in a large country or a different small country.
Moshe, who moved to Israel two decades ago and lives in a Jerusalem haredi neighborhood, told the Post that he first thought of the need for such a compass when he was studying the Talmud tractate of Succot in a yeshiva in 1991. "We were learning about descriptions of the altar in the Temple, and I was very confused by all the directions given. I thought to myself how it would be possible always to find where the Holy of Holies of the Temple stood. I quickly came up with the concept, but it took me almost 14 years to turn my ideas into an actual product."
After he designed it, the inventor went to China - believed to be the original home of the first compass invented during ancient times - to have it manufactured according to his exact specifications. Within a few months, he had designed the compass - with its Star of David engraved on the cover and also positioned under the rotating needle - as well as a key chain attachment, a cube-shaped gift box and instructions, with endorsements from prominent haredi rabbis (Moshe Halbershtam, Moshe Sternbuch and Yosef Lieberman) in Jerusalem.
"People I've shown it to are very enthusiastic," Moshe said. "But they are shocked when they find they have been praying for years facing the wrong direction. Those who have the compass now face the correct position to pray even when the aron kodesh is in the wrong place."
The device will soon be available in Israel as well. "Moshe managed to bring together all aspects of design, manufacture, graphics and promotion by himself," commented TES Jerusalem's representative. "It fills a real need, and also will be valued for sentimental reasons because it always faces Jerusalem. I remember recently being in the windowless room that serves as a synagogue at New York's JFK International Airport. Nobody knew in which direction to pray. I pulled out my compass, and it pointed to Jerusalem. Everybody was amazed. It seemed to defy nature."
Arutz Sheva - Israel National Radio
Yishai Fleisher & Alex Traiman (2/15/2006)
Speaking with the inventor of the Jerusalem Compass, a patent-pending invention and great gift, that always points toward Jerusalem.
Click Here to Listen (To download, right-click your mouse and 'Save Target As...')