My family was led around the Excavations of the Kotel by the wife of Rabbi Zusman (from your Kollel) tonight. She suggested I ask you this question.
While Herod was raising and leveled the mountain was the AVODAH disrupted? and if not how was it not?
PS I am a member of the daf yomi of Riverdale, NY and we enjoy your site, Thank you
Thanks for your excellent question. The Mishnah in Eiduyos (8:6) states that when they built the Heichal they first erected "Kila'im" (curtains) in place of the walls. According to the opinion that the first Kedushah remained, the curtains are not required for the sake of sanctification. With regard to the Yom Kipur Avodah, there is a requirement to have a roof on the Heichal, thus I believe that for the sake of the Yom Kippur Avodah, they must have built some temporary structure, or else they planned it in such a way that the old Heichal was torn down after Sukos, and by the next year, the first floor of the new Heichal was already completed. According to Josephus, the duration of the construction of the entire Heichal (two floors) was one and a half years, so it is feasible.
The Mishnah mentioned above is referring to the period when they built the Beis ha'Mikdash in the days of Ezra, however it teaches us the options that they had in the days of Herod.