The Babylonian Talmud

Middoth

 

Mishna - Mas. Middoth Chapter 1

MISHNAH 1. IN THREE PLACES PRIESTS KEEP WATCH1 IN THE TEMPLE2 — IN THE CHAMBER OF ABTINAS, IN THE FLASH CHAMBER AND IN THE FIRE CHAMBER.3 THE LEVITES KEEP WATCH IN TWENTY-ONE PLACES — FIVE AT THE FIVE GATES4 OF THE TEMPLE MOUNT,5 FOUR AT ITS FOUR CORNERS ON THE INSIDE, FIVE AT THE6 FIVE GATES OF THE AZARAH.7 FOUR AT ITS FOUR CORNERS ON THE OUTSIDE,8 ONE AT THE OFFERING CHAMBER,9 ONE AT THE CHAMBER OF THE VEIL,10 AND ONE BEHIND THE PLACE OF THE MERCY SEAT.11

MISHNAH 2. THE OFFICER OF THE TEMPLE MOUNT USED TO GO ROUND TO EVERY WATCH, WITH LIGHTED TORCHES BEFORE HIM, AND IF ANY WATCHER DID NOT RISE [AT HIS APPROACH] AND SAY TO HIM, PEACE BE TO THEE, SUPERVISOR OF THE TEMPLE MOUNT, IT WAS OBVIOUS THAT HE WAS ASLEEP,12 AND HE USED TO BELABOUR HIM WITH HIS STICK, AND HE WAS ALSO AT LIBERTY TO BURN HIS CLOTHES, AND THE OTHERS USED TO SAY, WHAT IS THE NOISE IN THE AZARAH? IT IS THE CRY OF A LEVITE WHO IS BEING BEATEN AND WHOSE CLOTHES ARE BEING BURNT, BECAUSE HE WAS ASLEEP AT HIS POST. R. ELIEZER B. JACOB SAID: ONCE THEY FOUND MY MOTHER'S BROTHER ASLEEP, AND THEY BURNT HIS CLOTHES.

MISHNAH 3. THERE WERE FIVE GATES TO THE TEMPLE MOUNT-THE TWO GATES OF HULDAH13 ON THE SOUTH WHICH WERE USED BOTH FOR ENTRANCE AND EXIT, THE GATE OF KIPONUS14 ON THE WEST WHICH WAS USED BOTH FOR ENTRANCE AND EXIT, THE GATE OF TADDI15 ON THE NORTH WHICH WAS NOT USED [BY THE PUBLIC] AT ALL,16 AND THE EASTERN GATE OVER WHICH WAS A REPRESENTATION OF THE PALACE OF SUSA17 AND THROUGH WHICH THE HIGH PRIEST18 WHO BURNT THE RED HEIFER AND ALL WHO ASSISTED WITH IT19 USED TO GO FORTH TO THE MOUNT OF OLIVES.20

MISHNAH 4. THERE WERE THREE GATES IN THE AZARAH,21 THREE IN THE NORTH AND THREE IN THE SOUTH AND ONE IN THE EAST. IN THE SOUTH THERE WAS FIRST THE GATE OF KINDLING,22 THEN THE GATE OF OFFERING,23 THEN THE WATER GATE.24 IN THE EAST THERE WAS THE GATE OF NICANOR25 WHICH HAD TWO ROOMS ATTACHED, ONE ON ITS RIGHT AND ONE ON ITS LEFT, ONE THE ROOM OF PHINEAS THE DRESSER26 AND ONE THE ROOM OF THE GRIDDLE CAKE MAKERS.27

MISHNAH 5. ON THE NORTH WAS THE GATE OF THE FLASH28 WHICH WAS SHAPED LIKE A VERANDAH.29 IT HAD AN UPPER CHAMBER BUILT ON IT, AND THE PRIESTS USED TO KEEP WATCH ABOVE AND THE LEVITES BELOW, AND IT HAD A DOOR OPENING INTO THE HEL.30 NEXT31 TO IT WAS THE GATE OF OFFERING AND NEXT TO THAT THE FIRE CHAMBER.

MISHNAH 6. THERE WERE FOUR SIDE CHAMBERS TO THE FIRE ROOM LIKE ALCOVES OPENING INTO A HALL, TWO IN SACRED GROUND AND TWO IN NON-SACRED,32 AND THERE WAS A ROW OF STONES33 SEPARATING THE HOLY FROM THE PROFANE. FOR WHAT WERE THEY USED? THE ONE ON THE SOUTH-WEST WAS THE CHAMBER OF OFFERING,34 THE ONE ON THE SOUTH-EAST WAS THE CHAMBER OF THE SHEWBREAD. IN THE ONE TO THE NORTH-EAST THE HASMONEANS DEPOSITED THE STONES OF THE ALTAR WHICH THE KINGS OF GREECE HAD DEFILED.35 THROUGH THE ONE ON THE NORTHWEST THEY36 USED TO GO DOWN TO THE BATHING PLACE.

MISHNAH 7. THE FIRE ROOM HAD TWO GATES, ONE OPENING ON TO THE HEL AND ONE ON TO THE AZARAH. R. JUDAH SAYS: THE ONE THAT OPENED ON TO THE AZARAH HAD A SMALL LATTICE GATE THROUGH WHICH THEY WENT IN TO SEARCH THE AZARAH.37

MISHNAH 8. THE FIRE ROOM WAS VAULTED. IT WAS A LARGE ROOM SURROUNDED38 WITH STONE SLABS.39 ON THESE THE ELDERS OF THE FATHERS’ HOUSE40 [ON DUTY] USED TO SLEEP HAVING WITH THEM THE KEYS OF THE AZARAH, WHILE THE PRIESTLY NOVITIATES41 SLEPT EACH ON HIS GARMENT42 ON THE GROUND.

MISHNAH 9. THERE WAS A PLACE THERE ONE CUBIT SQUARE ON WHICH WAS A SLAB OF MARBLE. IN THIS WAS FIXED A RING AND A CHAIN [UNDERNEATH] ON WHICH THE KEYS WERE HUNG. WHEN CLOSING TIME CAME, THE PRIEST WOULD RAISE THE SLAB BY THE RING AND TAKE THE KEYS FROM THE CHAIN. THEN THE PRIEST WOULD LOCK UP43 WITHIN WHILE THE LEVITE WAS SLEEPING WITHOUT.44 WHEN HE HAD FINISHED LOCKING UP, HE WOULD REPLACE THE KEYS ON THE CHAIN AND THE SLAB IN ITS PLACE AND LAY HIS GARMENT ON IT AND SLEEP THERE. IF A SEMINAL EMISSION HAPPENED TO ONE OF THEM, HE WOULD GO OUT BY THE WINDING STAIR45 WHICH WENT UNDER THE BIRAH,46 AND WHICH WAS LIGHTED WITH LAMPS ON BOTH SIDES, UNTIL HE REACHED THE BATHING PLACE. R. ELIEZER B. JACOB SAYS: HE DESCENDED BY THE WINDING STAIR WHICH WENT UNDER THE HEL AND HE WENT OUT BY THE TADDI GATE.

 

(1) At night time. For the rule that there should be twenty-four watches, v. Tamid, 27a.
(2) Heb. Beth ha-Mikdush. ‘House of the Sanctuary’, a term covering the whole space round the Temple buildings which a person in a higher degree of ritual uncleanness was forbidden to enter, and the measurements of which are given in this Tractate.
(3) For the explanation of these names, v. Tamid, ad. init. (Sonc. ed.) and notes. These three rooms adjoined the priestly Azarah or court in which was the altar of sacrifice.
(4) Enumerated below in Mishnah 3.
(5) The name given to the outer wall of the Sanctuary. though it is also used to designate the space enclosed by the wall.
(6) In Mishnah 4 it says that there were seven gates to the Azarah, and in Tamid 27a we find a difference of opinion on the question, so it is doubtful whether we should translate here ‘the five’ or simply ‘five’.
(7) Temple court, v. infra p. 2. n. 10.
(8) Because it was not permitted to sit down in the Azarah, and they were not required to stand the whole time.
(9) This may be the same as the Lamb Chamber mentioned in Tamid 27a as being one of four rooms opening out from the Flash Chamber.
(10) Where the new veils for the Holy of Holies were woven. V. Tamid, l.c. These two rooms were apparently under the places where the priests watched. V. infra 5 and Tamid 26b.
(11) The Holy of Holies retained this name in the second Temple, although it contained no Ark. The western part of the Azarah wall ran a short distance behind it.
(12) Var. lec.: If any watcher did not rise . . . . the officer would say to him, Peace be to thee, and if it was obvious that he was asleep, he would belabour him etc., v. Tamid 27b.
(13) It is not known whether these had any connection with Huldah the prophetess mentioned in II Kings, XXII, 14.
(14) A certain Koponius succeeded Archelaus as procurator of Judea and Samaria, A.D. 6-7 (Josephus, Ant. XVIII, 2 and 29). Possibly this gate was called after him.
(15) Or perhaps Todi = GR. **. The origin of this name is not known.
(16) But it was used for other purposes, as explained at the end of the section.
(17) According to Jewish tradition, this was in commemoration of the permission to rebuild the Temple given by the kings of Persia. Cf. Men. 98a.
(18) This follows the opinion of R. Meir. According to the Rabbis, any priest was competent to perform the ceremony. Parah IV, 1.
(19) Maim. renders ‘all its appurtenances’.
(20) On the east of Jerusalem, where the heifer was burnt.
(21) The term here includes the whole of the area extending inward2 from the Court of the Israelites, in which the Temple services were carried out. It was evidently surrounded by a wall.
(22) So called because the wood for the fire was brought in by it.
(23) Perhaps the sacrificial animals were brought in by this gate. V. infra 5. Another reading is ‘gate of the firstborn’.
(24) V. infra, II, 6.
(25) For a tradition concerning this Nicanor, v. Yoma, 38a.
(26) I.e. it was called after a certain Phineas who used to robe the High Priest. V. Shek. V, I.
(27) Where the wafers were made for the High Priest's daily offering.
(28) Apparently the same as the ‘flash chamber’ mentioned above in Mishnah 1.
(29) I.e., it was open on one side, giving, perhaps a glimpse of the altar fire, whence its name.
(30) I.e., the back of it led out into the Hel, or outer circuit, v. infra II, 3.
(31) I.e., a little further south. The gate of the spark was near the north-west corner.
(32) The two former were to the south adjoining the Azarah and the other two to the north, adjoining the Hel.
(33) Lit., ‘heads of pebbles’, perhaps level with the floor but of a different colour.
(34) V. supra, Mishnah I. Var. lec.: the lambs for the offering.
(35) This incident is referred to in I Macc.,I, 46, 59. IV, 36. 46.
(36) Priests who had become defiled.
(37) To see that nothing had been left there. V. Tamid, 28a.
(38) On the outside.
(39) Let into the wall.
(40) The priests were divided into family groups of ‘fathers’ houses’, which ministered in rotation.
(41) Lit., ‘flowers of the priesthood’, young priests who had just commenced to minister.
(42) Var. lec. pillow.
(43) The gates of the Temple were always closed at nightfall.
(44) The point of this remark is not at all clear. Perhaps it means that the Levite was sleeping until it was time for him to rise and go on night duty.
(45) Heb. mesibbah. Lit., ‘circuit’. Hollis thinks perhaps it was only a gangway, not a stair.
(46) Lit., ‘palace’ or ‘fortress’, some building adjoining the Sanctuary on the north-west. V. Yoma 2a. For further notes on the passage v. Tamid (Sonc. ed.) p. 2.

Mishna - Mas. Middoth Chapter 2

MISHNAH 1. THE TEMPLE MOUNT WAS FIVE HUNDRED CUBITS BY FIVE HUNDRED.1 THE GREATER PART OF IT2 WAS ON THE SOUTH; NEXT TO THAT ON THE EAST; NEXT TO THAT ON THE NORTH; AND THE SMALLEST PART ON THE WEST. THE PART WHICH WAS MOST EXTENSIVE WAS THE PART MOST USED.3

MISHNAH 2. ALL WHO ENTERED THE TEMPLE MOUNT ENTERED BY THE RIGHT4 AND WENT ROUND [TO THE RIGHT] AND WENT OUT BY THE LEFT, SAVE FOR ONE TO WHOM SOMETHING UNTOWARD HAD HAPPENED, WHO ENTERED AND WENT ROUND TO THE LEFT. [IF HE WAS ASKED], WHY DO YOU GO ROUND TO THE LEFT, [AND HE ANSWERED] BECAUSE I AM A MOURNER, [THEY SAID TO HIM], MAY HE WHO DWELLS IN THIS HOUSE COMFORT THEE. [IF HE SAID] BECAUSE I AM EXCOMMUNICATED. [THEY SAID] MAY HE WHO DWELLS IN THIS HOUSE INSPIRE THEM TO BEFRIEND THEE5 AGAIN. SO R. MEIR. SAID R. JOSE TO HIM: YOU MAKE IT SEEM THAT THEY TREATED HIM UNJUSTLY.6 WHAT THEN SHOULD THEY SAY? MAY HE WHO DWELLS IN THIS HOUSE INSPIRE THEE TO LISTEN TO THE WORDS OF THY COLLEAGUES7 SO THAT THEY MAY BEFRIEND THEE AGAIN.

MISHNAH 3. WITHIN IT8 WAS THE SOREG9 TEN HANDBREADTHS HIGH. THERE WERE THIRTEEN BREACHES IN IT; THESE HAD BEEN ORIGINALLY MADE BY THE KINGS OF GREECE,10 AND WHEN THEY REPAIRED THEM THEY ENACTED THAT THIRTEEN PROSTRATIONS SHOULD BE MADE FACING THEM.11 WITHIN THIS WAS THE HEL,12 WHICH WAS TEN CUBITS [BROAD]. THERE WERE TWELVE STEPS THERE.13 THE HEIGHT OF EACH STEP WAS HALF A CUBIT AND ITS TREAD WAS HALF A CUBIT. ALL THE STEPS IN THE TEMPLE WERE HALF A CUBIT HIGH WITH A TREAD OF HALF A CUBIT, EXCEPT THOSE OF THE PORCH.14 ALL THE DOORWAYS IN THE TEMPLE WERE TWENTY CUBITS HIGH AND TEN CUBITS BROAD EXCEPT THOSE OF THE PORCH.15 ALL THE DOORWAYS THERE HAD DOORS IN THEM EXCEPT THOSE OF THE PORCH. ALL THE GATES THERE HAD LINTELS EXCEPT THAT OF TADDI WHICH HAD TWO STONES INCLINED TO ONE ANOTHER.16 ALL THE ORIGINAL GATES WERE CHANGED FOR GATES OF GOLD EXCEPT THE GATES OF NICANOR, BECAUSE A MIRACLE WAS WROUGHT TO THEM;17 SOME SAY, HOWEVER, IT WAS BECAUSE THE COPPER OF THEM GLEAMED [LIKE GOLD].

MISHNAH 4. ALL THE WALLS OF THE TEMPLE WERE HIGH EXCEPT THE EASTERN WALL, SO THAT THE PRIEST WHO BURNT THE RED HEIFER MIGHT WHILE STANDING ON THE TOP OF THE MOUNT OF OLIVES BY DIRECTING HIS GAZE CAREFULLY SEE THE DOOR OF THE HEKAL AT THE TIME OF THE SPRINKLING OF THE BLOOD.18

MISHNAH 5. THE WOMEN'S AZARAH19 WAS A HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FIVE CUBITS LONG BY A HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FIVE BROAD. IT HAD FOUR CHAMBERS IN ITS FOUR CORNERS,20 EACH OF FORTY CUBITS.21 THEY WERE NOT ROOFED, AND SO THEY WILL BE IN THE TIME TO COME, AS IT SAYS, THEN HE BROUGHT ME FORTH INTO THE OUTER COURT, AND CAUSED ME TO PASS BY THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE COURT, AND BEHOLD IN EVERY CORNER OF THE COURT THERE WAS A COURT. IN THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE COURT THERE WERE SMOKED22 COURTS;23 AND SMOKED24 MEANS ONLY THAT THEY WERE NOT ROOFED. FOR WHAT WERE THEY USED? THE SOUTHEASTERN ONE WAS THE CHAMBER OF THE NAZIRITES WHERE THE NAZIRITES USED TO BOIL THEIR PEACE-OFFERINGS AND POLL THEIR HAIR AND THROW IT UNDER THE POT.25 THE NORTH-EASTERN ONE WAS THE WOOD CHAMBER WHERE PRIESTS WITH A PHYSICAL DEFECT USED TO PICK OUT THE WOOD WHICH HAD WORMS, EVERY PIECE WITH A WORM IN IT BEING UNFIT FOR USE ON THE ALTAR. THE NORTH-WESTERN ONE WAS THE CHAMBER OF THE LEPERS.26 AS FOR THE SOUTHWESTERN ONE, A. ELIEZER B. JACOB SAID: I FORGET WHAT IT WAS USED FOR. ABBA SAUL SAYS: THEY USED TO STORE THERE WINE AND OIL, AND IT WAS CALLED THE OIL STORAGE ROOM.27 IT [THE WOMEN'S AZARAH] HAD ORIGINALLY BEEN QUITE BARE BUT SUBSEQUENTLY THEY SURROUNDED IT WITH A BALCONY SO THAT THE WOMEN COULD LOOK ON FROM ABOVE WHILE THE MEN WERE BELOW, AND THEY SHOULD NOT MIX TOGETHER.28 FIFTEEN STEPS LED UP FROM IT TO THE AZARAH OF ISRAEL, CORRESPONDING TO THE FIFTEEN [SONGS OF] ASCENTS MENTIONED IN THE BOOK OF PSALMS.29 THE LEVITES USED TO CHANT PSALMS ON THESE.28 THEY WERE NOT RECTANGULAR BUT CIRCULAR LIKE THE HALF OF A THRESHING FLOOR.

MISHNAH 6. THERE WERE CHAMBERS UNDERNEATH THE COURT OF ISRAEL WHICH OPENED INTO THE COURT OF WOMEN, WHERE THE LEVITES USED TO KEEP LYRES AND LUTES AND CYMBALS AND ALL KINDS OF MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS. THE COURT OF ISRAEL WAS A HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FIVE CUBITS IN LENGTH BY ELEVEN IN BREADTH. SIMILARLY THE COURT OF THE PRIESTS WAS A HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FIVE CUBITS IN LENGTH30 BY ELEVEN IN BREADTH, AND A ROW OF STONES31 SEPARATED THE COURT OF ISRAEL FROM THE COURT OF THE PRIESTS. A. ELlezer B. JACOB SAYS: THERE WAS A STEP A CUBIT HIGH ON WHICH WAS PLACED A PLATFORM,32 AND THIS HAD THREE STEPS EACH OF HALF A CUBIT. IN THIS WAY THE COURT OF THE PRIESTS WAS MADE TWO AND A HALF CUBITS HIGHER THAN THAT OF ISRAEL. THE WHOLE OF THE AZARAH33 WAS A HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-SEVEN CUBITS IN LENGTH BY A HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FIVE IN BREADTH, AND THIRTEEN PROSTRATIONS WERE MADE THERE.34 ABBA JOSE B. HANAN SAYS: THEY WERE MADE FACING THIRTEEN GATES.35 ON THE SOUTH ADJOINING THE WEST THERE WERE THE UPPER GATE, THE GATE OF BURNING, THE GATE OF THE FIRSTBORN,36 AND THE WATER GATE.37
(WHY WAS IT CALLED THE WATER GATE? BECAUSE THEY BROUGHT IN THROUGH IT THE PITCHER OF WATER FOR LIBATION ON THE FESTIVAL. R. ELIEZER B. JACOB SAYS: IN IT THE WATER WELLED UP, AND IN THE TIME TO COME THEY WILL ISSUE FROM UNDER THE THRESHOLD OF THE TEMPLE).38 CORRESPONDING TO THEM IN THE NORTH ADJOINING THE WEST WERE THE GATE OF JECONIAH, THE GATE OF THE OFFERING,39 THE WOMEN'S GATE,40 THE GATE OF SONG.41 WHY WAS IT CALLED THE GATE OF JECONIAH? BECAUSE JECONIAH WENT FORTH INTO CAPTIVITY42 THROUGH IT.43 ON THE EAST WAS THE GATE OF NICANOR; IT HAD TWO WICKETS,44 ONE ON ITS RIGHT AND ONE ON ITS LEFT. THERE WERE FURTHER TWO GATES IN THE WEST WHICH HAD NO SPECIAL NAME.

 


(1) By ‘Temple Mount’ is apparently meant all that part of the temple area which lay outside of the Azarah, between the wall of the Azarah and the outer wall. This area was not actually consecrated but it had to be treated with a certain respect; thus one was not supposed to enter it with stick and wallet, to use it for a short cut etc. (Ber. 54a). According to Hollis, the corresponding areas in the present Haram-esh-Sherif are found by measurement to be 255,000 sq. feet on the southern side, 150,000 on the east, 92,900 on the north and 90,600 on the west, a total of 488,500 sq. ft., which reckoning a cubit at 12/2 feet, is nearly 500 cubits square.
(2) V. previous note.
(3) I.e. the majority of people entered from the south.
(4) I.e., on entering they turned to the right, even if their immediate objective was to the left, so that they had to make a circuit to reach it.
(5) Lit., ‘bring thee back’.
(6) So that it was necessary for them to alter their mind.
(7) Excommunication was usually inflicted on an elder who would not conform to the ruling of the majority.
(8) Viz., the wall of the Temple Mount.
(9) According to the Jewish commentators, this was a kind of lattice work, the root sarag meaning ‘to entwine’. Josephus, however, says It was of stone. Its exact purpose is not known as there was no higher degree of holiness till the Hel was reached.
(10) Cf. I Macc. IX, 54, 55.
(11) By worshippers in the Azarah. V. infra 6.
(12) A level promenade running right round the Azarah.
(13) Leading up from the Hel to the Court of Women. Apparently these steps ran the whole length of the Hel on its southern side.
(14) Which had a tread of a cubit.
(15) Which were forty cubits high and twenty broad.
(16) Hollis (p. 267) supposes this to mean that the two sides of the gate converged not in the vertical plane (which would have been unsafe), but in the horizontal, so that it was narrower on the outside than on the inside, and required no lintel. It is doubtful, however, if the Hebrew will bear this meaning.
(17) V. Yoma 38a.
(18) In accordance with the biblical injunction, And he shall sprinkle facing (E. V. toward) the front of the lent of meeting, Num. XIX. 4. There were three walls between the Mount of Olives and the door of the Hekal — the outer wall of the Temple Mount, the wall of the Women's Azarah, and the wall between the Court of Women and the Court of Israel. As the ground level of the outer wall was much lower than that of the Hekal — over 22 cubits — this wall would have had to be very high to obstruct the view from the Mount of Olives, and Hollis therefore (p. 273) thinks that it is the inner wall, separating the Court of Women from the Court of Israel, which is referred to.
(19) V. Yoma 16a.
(20) It is not certain whether these rooms were in the court or adjoining it on the outside.
(21) It is not clear whether this means forty cubits square.
(22) E. V. inclosed.
(23) Ezek. XLVI, 21, 22.
(24) The Hebrew word is keturoth, which is connected by the Mishnah with the root katar, to send up smoke, and is taken to mean that the smoke was allowed to ascend without impediment.
(25) V. Num. VI, 18.
(26) Where they bathed on purification before the blood of the offering was placed on their thumb; v. Neg. XIV, 8-9.
(27) Lit., ‘room of the house of oils’.
(28) At the festival of the drawing of water. V. Suk. 51b.
(29) Ps. CXX-CXXXIV.
(30) Running alongside of the Women's Court. The longer side of any area is called by the Talmud its length.
(31) V. supra, p. 3. n. 12.
(32) From which the priests blessed the people. Perhaps it was really a movable pulpit.
(33) The whole of the sanctified area of the Temple from the Court of Israel to the Holy of Holies.
(34) By worshippers in the Azarah. According to the Rabbis, they were made towards the thirteen breaches in the soreg (v. supra), but Abba Jose b. Hanan differs.
(35) These were not all necessarily in the outer wall.
(36) Through which firstlings of flock and cattle were led to be offered, v. supra, p. 3, n. 2.
(37) These last three are mentioned in I, 4.
(38) V. Ezek. XLVII, 1, and Yoma 77b.
(39) Mentioned in I, 5. It is hard to say what was the relation of the other gates mentioned here to the ‘Room of the Flash’, and the Fire Chamber mentioned there.
(40) Which serves, perhaps, as exit for women.
(41) Through which, perhaps, the Levites brought in their instruments.
(42) V. II Kings XXIV, 8-16.
(43) After paying his last visit to the Temple.
(44) Not in it but adjoining it, and therefore reckoned as two separate gates.

Mishna - Mas. Middoth Chapter 3

MISHNAH 1. THE ALTAR1 WAS THIRTY-TWO CUBITS BY THIRTY-TWO.2 IT ROSE A CUBIT AND WENT IN A CUBIT, AND THIS FORMED THE FOUNDATION,3 LEAVING THIRTY CUBITS BY THIRTY. IT THEN ROSE FIVE CUBITS AND WENT IN ONE CUBIT, AND THIS FORMED THE SURROUND, LEAVING TWENTY-EIGHT CUBITS BY TWENTY-EIGHT.4 THE HORNS EXTENDED A CUBIT IN EACH DIRECTION,5 THUS LEAVING TWENTY-SIX BY TWENTY-SIX.6 A CUBIT ON EVERY SIDE WAS ALLOWED FOR THE PRIESTS TO GO ROUND, THUS LEAVING TWENTY-FOUR BY TWENTY-FOUR AS THE PLACE OF THE WOOD PILE [FOR THE ALTAR FIRE].

R. JOSE SAID: ORIGINALLY THE COMPLETE AREA [OCCUPIED BY THE ALTAR] WAS ONLY TWENTY-EIGHT CUBITS BY TWENTY-EIGHT, AND IT ROSE WITH THE DIMENSIONS MENTIONED7 UNTIL THE SPACE LEFT FOR THE ALTAR PILE WAS ONLY TWENTY BY TWENTY. WHEN, HOWEVER, THEY RETURNED FROM THE CAPTIVITY,8 THEY ADDED FOUR CUBITS ON THE NORTH,9 AND FOUR ON THE WEST LIKE A GAMMA,10 SINCE IT IS SAID: AND THE HEARTH11 SHALL BE TWELVE CUBITS LONG BY TWELVE BROAD, SQUARE.12 AM I TO SUPPOSE THAT IT WAS ONLY TWELVE CUBITS BY TWELVE? WHEN IT SAYS, IN THE FOUR SIDES THEREOF,13 THIS SHOWS THAT HE WAS MEASURING FROM THE MIDDLE, TWELVE CUBITS IN EVERY DIRECTION.

A LINE OF RED PAINT RAN ROUND IT IN THE MIDDLE14 TO DIVIDE BETWEEN THE UPPER AND THE LOWER BLOOD.15 THE FOUNDATION RAN THE WHOLE LENGTH OF THE NORTH AND OF THE WEST SIDES, BUT IT LEFT OPEN16 ONE CUBIT ON THE SOUTH AND ONE ON THE EAST.17

MISHNAH 2. AT THE SOUTH-WESTERN CORNER [OF THE FOUNDATION] THERE WERE TWO OPENINGS LIKE TWO FINE NOSTRILS THROUGH WHICH THE BLOOD WHICH WAS POURED ON THE WESTERN SIDE OF THE FOUNDATION AND ON THE SOUTHERN SIDE18 FLOWED DOWN TILL THE TWO STREAMS BECAME MINGLED IN THE CHANNEL,19 THROUGH WHICH THEY MADE THEIR WAY OUT TO THE BROOK OF KIDRON.

MISHNAH 3. ON THE PAVEMENT BENEATH AT THAT CORNER THERE WAS A PLACE A CUBIT SQUARE ON WHICH WAS A MARBLE SLAB WITH A RING FIXED IN IT,20 AND THROUGH THIS THEY21 USED TO GO DOWN TO THE PIT22 TO CLEAN IT OUT.23 THERE WAS AN ASCENT ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE ALTAR, THIRTY-TWO CUBITS [LONG] BY SIXTEEN BROAD. IT HAD A CAVITY IN ITS WESTERN SIDE WHERE REJECTED SIN-OFFERINGS OF BIRDS WERE PLACED.24

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

MISHNAH 5. THERE WERE RINGS28 TO THE NORTH OF THE ALTAR, SIX ROWS OF FOUR EACH, OR, ACCORDING TO SOME, FOUR ROWS OF SIX EACH, AT WHICH THEY USED TO SLAUGHTER THE SACRIFICIAL ANIMALS. THE SLAUGHTERERS SHED WAS AT THE NORTH OF THE ALTAR. THERE WERE EIGHT DWARF PILLARS THERE, ON WHICH WERE BLOCKS OF CEDAR-WOOD. IN THESE WERE FIXED HOOKS OF IRON, THREE ROWS IN EACH, ON WHICH THEY HUNG THE CARCASSES, AND FLAYED THEM OVER TABLES OF MARBLE BETWEEN THE PILLARS.29

MISHNAH 6. THE LAVER30 WAS BETWEEN THE PORCH AND THE ALTAR, A LITTLE TO THE SOUTH. THE SPACE BE TWEEN THE PORCH AND THE ALTAR WAS TWENTY-TWO CUBITS. THERE WERE TWELVE STEPS THERE, EACH STEP BEING HALF A CUBIT HIGH AND A CUBIT BROAD. THERE WAS A CUBIT, A CUBIT AND A LEVEL SPACE OF THREE CUBITS,31 THEN A CUBIT, A CUBIT AND A LEVEL SPACE OF THREE CUBITS, THEN AT THE TOP A CUBIT, A CUBIT AND A LEVEL SPACE OF FOUR CUBITS. R. JUDAH SAYS THAT AT THE TOP THERE WAS A CUBIT, A CUBIT AND A LEVEL SPACE OF FIVE CUBITS.32

MISHNAH 7. THE DOORWAY OF THE PORCH WAS FORTY CUBITS HIGH AND ITS BREADTH WAS TWENTY CUBITS. OVER IT WERE FIVE MAIN BEAMS OF CEDAR. THE LOWEST PROJECTED A CUBIT ON EACH SIDE BEYOND THE DOORWAY. THE ONE ABOVE PROJECTED BEYOND THIS ONE A CUBIT ON EACH SIDE. THUS THE TOPMOST ONE WAS THIRTY CUBITS LONG. THERE WAS A LAYER OF STONES BETWEEN EACH ONE AND THE NEXT.

MISHNAH 8. THERE WERE CROSS BARS OF STONE33 STRETCHING FROM THE WALL OF THE HEKAL TO THE WALL OF THE PORCH TO PREVENT IT FROM BULGING.34 THERE WERE CHAINS OF GOLD FIXED IN THE ROOF BEAMS OF THE PORCH BY WHICH THE PRIESTLY NOVITIATES35 USED TO ASCEND AND SEE THE CROWNS,36 AS IT SAYS, AND THE CROWNS SHALL BE TO HELEM AND TO TOBIJAH AND TO JEDAIAH AND TO HEN THE SON OF ZEPHANIAH AS A MEMORIAL IN THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD.37 A GOLDEN VINE STOOD AT THE DOOR OF THE HEKAL TRAINED ON POLES, AND ANYONE WHO OFFERED A LEAF OR A GRAPE OR A BUNCH USED TO BRING IT AND HANG IT THEREON. R. ELIEZER SON OF R. ZADOK SAID: ON ONE OCCASION THREE HUNDRED PRIESTS WERE COMMISSIONED [TO CLEAR IT].

 


(1) For a description of the altar, cf. Zeb. 54a.
(2) At its base.
(3) Which was thus a kind of step one cubit high and one wide going right round the altar.
(4) The Mishnah here does not mention that from the surround the altar rose three cubits, as this is known from the statement of Scripture, and the height thereof shall be three cubits (Ex. XXVII, 1).
(5) They were also one cubit high, so that the whole height of the altar was ten cubits.
(6) Quite clear of the horns.
(7) I.e., one for the foundation and five for the surround.
(8) Lit., ‘when the children of the exile came up’.
(9) So the text. The proper reading, however, is ‘south’ as appears from Zeb. 61b.
(10) I.e., two sides of a square.
(11) I.e., the place of the altar fire.
(12) Ezek. XLIII, 16.
(13) Ezek. XLIII, 16.
(14) Maim. calculates that this ‘middle’ was 26 handbreadths from the ground.
(15) The blood of animals brought as sin-offerings and of birds brought as burnt.offerings was sprinkled above the line, of other sacrifices below the line.
(16) Lit. ‘consumed’.
(17) I.e., the south-east corner. So Maim. Asheri, however, explains that it ran only one cubit on the south and on the east side. The reason is given in Zeb. 53b.
(18) The blood of the offerings which was left after the sprinkling.
(19) A channel which flowed through the Azarah into the brook of Kidron.
(20) In order to lift it.
(21) Young priests detailed for the task.
(22) Into which the wine of the libations flowed.
(23) According to Suk. 49a, this was done only once in seventy years.
(24) Until they became unrecognisable, when they were taken out and burnt. Birds were killed at the altar, and therefore if a disqualification was subsequently found in the bodies they could not be taken away.
(25) Mentioned in Jer. VI, 1. It was not far from Jerusalem.
(26) With wooden spades.
(27) So that it was certain that no plough had touched them.
(28) Hoops fixed round the necks of the animals to keep them in place. V. Tamid IV, 1.
(29) V. Tam. III, 5, (Sonc. ed.) notes.
(30) V. Ex. XXX, 18.
(31) This is taken by Asheri to mean that there were four steps each half a cubit high and each a cubit broad, which with level pavement of three cubits would make seven cubits. Then came four more steps and a level of three cubits, making another seven cubits, and then four more steps and a level space of four cubits, making eight cubits. Thus altogether between the altar and the porch there were twelve steps and twenty-two cubits. It is not clear on this explanation why it should say, ‘a cubit, a cubit’ and not ‘two cubits’ or ‘four steps’. Maim. takes the whole statement to refer to the wall of the porch and to mean that after every two cubits there was a projection issuing from the wall. Certainly the word robed which Asheri takes to mean ‘level pavement is used for ‘projection’ in Tamid I, 1, but it is much more natural to take the passage here as referring to the steps. The reading is uncertain.
(32) R. Judah (according to Asheri) must suppose that one of the previous level spaces was only two cubits.
(33) Var. lec.: ‘cedar’.
(34) On account of its great height.
(35) Lit., ‘flowers of the Priesthood’. v. supra. I, 8.
(36) Which were placed as ornaments in the windows of the upper chambers of the Porch. According to Asheri, the young priests climbed up to see if they were in good order, not merely for pleasure, which was forbidden.
(37) Zech. VI, 14.

Mishna - Mas. Middoth Chapter 4

MISHNAH 1. THE DOORWAY OF THE HEKAL1 WAS TWENTY CUBITS HIGH AND TEN BROAD.2 IT HAD FOUR DOORS, TWO ON THE INNER SIDE,3 AND TWO ON THE OUTER, AS IT SAYS, AND THE TEMPLE AND THE SANCTUARY HAD TWO DOORS.4 THE OUTER ONES OPENED INTO THE INTERIOR OF THE DOORWAY SO AS TO COVER THE THICKNESS OF THE WALL, WHILE THE INNER ONES OPENED INTO THE TEMPLE SO AS TO COVER THE SPACE BEHIND THE DOORS,5 BECAUSE THE WHOLE OF THE TEMPLE WAS OVERLAID WITH GOLD EXCEPT THE SPACE BEHIND THE DOORS. R. JUDAH SAYS: THE DOORS6 WERE PLACED WITHIN THE DOORWAY,7 AND THEY RESEMBLED FOLDING DOORS,8 ONE HALF COVERING TWO CUBITS AND A HALF [OF THE WALL] AND THE OTHER HALF COVERING TWO CUBITS AND A HALF, LEAVING HALF A CUBIT AND A DOORPOST AT THE ONE END AND HALF A CUBIT AND A DOORPOST AT THE OTHER END, AS IT SAYS: AND THE DOORS HAD TWO LEAVES APIECE, TWO TURNING LEAVES, TWO LEAVES FOR THE ONE DOOR AND TWO LEAVES FOR THE OTHER.9

MISHNAH 2. THE GREAT GATE10 HAD TWO WICKETS, ONE TO THE NORTH AND ONE TO THE SOUTH. BY THE ONE TO THE SOUTH NO MAN EVER WENT IN, AND CONCERNING THIS THE RULE WAS DISTINCTLY LAID DOWN BY THE MOUTH OF EZEKIEL, AS IT SAYS, AND THE LORD SAID UNTO ME: THIS GATE SHALL BE SHUT, IT SHALL NOT BE OPENED, NEITHER SHALL ANY MAN ENTER IN BY IT, FOR THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL HATH ENTERED IN BY IT; THEREFORE IT SHALL BE SHUT.11 HE [THE PRIEST] TOOK THE KEY AND OPENED THE [NORTHERN] WICKET AND WENT IN TO THE CELL,12 AND FROM THE CELL HE WENT IN TO THE HEKAL. R. JUDAH SAYS: HE USED TO WALK ALONG IN THE THICKNESS OF THE WALL13 UNTIL HE CAME TO THE SPACE BETWEEN THE TWO GATES.14 HE USED TO OPEN THE OUTER DOORS FROM WITHIN AND THE INNER DOORS FROM WITHOUT.15

MISHNAH 3. THERE WERE THIRTY-EIGHT CELLS THERE,16 FIFTEEN ON THE NORTH, FIFTEEN ON THE SOUTH, AND EIGHT ON THE WEST. ON THE NORTH AND ON THE SOUTH THERE WERE FIVE OVER FIVE AND FIVE AGAIN OVER THESE;17 ON THE WEST THERE WERE THREE OVER THREE AND TWO OVER THESE. EACH HAD THREE OPENINGS,18 ONE TO THE CELL ON THE RIGHT AND ONE TO THE CELL ON THE LEFT AND ONE TO THE CELL ABOVE. IN THE [ONE AT THE] NORTHEASTERN CORNER THERE WERE FIVE OPENINGS, ONE TO THE CELL ON THE Rlght,19 ONE TO THE CELL ABOVE, ONE TO THE MESIBBAH,20 ONE TO THE WICKET,21 AND ONE TO THE HEKAL.22

MISHNAH 4. THE LOWEST STOREY CHAMBER WAS FIVE CUBITS WIDE WITH A CEILING OF SIX CUBITS;23 THE MIDDLE STOREY CHAMBER WAS SIX CUBITS WIDE WITH A CEILING OF SEVEN; THE TOP STOREY CHAMBER WAS SEVEN CUBITS WIDE, AS IT SAYS, THE NETHERMOST STOREY OF THE SIDE-STRUCTURE WAS FIVE CUBITS BROAD, AND THE MIDDLE WAS SIX CUBITS BROAD, AND THE THIRD WAS SEVEN CUBITS BROAD.24

MISHNAH 5. A WINDING PASSAGE25 WENT UP FROM THE NORTH-EAST CORNER TO THE NORTH-WEST CORNER BY WHICH THEY USED TO MOUNT TO THE ROOFS OF THE CELLS. ONE ASCENDED THE PASSAGE FACING THE WEST, AND TRAVERSED THE WHOLE OF THE NORTHERN SIDE TILL HE REACHED THE WEST. WHEN HE REACHED THE WEST HE TURNED TO FACE SOUTH. HE THEN TRAVERSED THE WEST SIDE26 TILL HE REACHED THE SOUTH. WHEN HE REACHED THE SOUTH HE TURNED TO FACE EASTWARDS. HE THEN TRAVERSED THE SOUTH SIDE TILL HE REACHED THE DOOR OF THE UPPER CHAMBER,27 SINCE THE DOOR OF THE UPPER CHAMBER OPENED TO THE SOUTH. IN THE DOORWAY OF THE UPPER CHAMBER WERE TWO COLUMNS OF CEDAR BY WHICH THEY USED TO CLIMB28 UP TO THE ROOF OF THE UPPER CHAMBER, AND AT THE TOP OF THEM WAS A ROW OF STONES29 SHOWING THE DIVISION IN THE UPPER CHAMBER BETWEEN THE HOLY PART AND THE HOLY OF HOLIES.30 THERE WERE TRAP DOORS IN THE UPPER CHAMBER OPENING INTO THE HOLY OF HOLIES BY WHICH THE WORKMEN WERE LET DOWN IN BASKETS SO THAT THEY SHOULD NOT FEED THEIR GAZE ON THE HOLY OF HOLIES.31

MISHNAH 6. THE HEKAL32 WAS A HUNDRED CUBITS BY A HUNDRED33 WITH A HEIGHT OF A HUNDRED. THE SUBSTRUCTURE34 WAS SIX CUBITS, THEN IT ROSE FORTY, THEN A CUBIT FOR THE ORNAMENTATION, TWO CUBITS FOR THE GUTTERING,35 A CUBIT FOR THE ROOF AND A CUBIT FOR THE PLASTERING. THE HEIGHT OF THE UPPER CHAMBER WAS FORTY CUBITS, THERE WAS A CUBIT FOR ITS ORNAMENTATION,36 TWO CUBITS FOR THE GUTTERING, A CUBIT FOR THE CEILING, A CUBIT FOR THE PLASTERING, THREE CUBITS FOR THE PARAPET AND A CUBIT FOR THE SPIKES.37 R. JUDAH SAYS THE SPIKES WERE NOT INCLUDED IN THE MEASUREMENT, THE PARAPET BEING FOUR CUBITS.

MISHNAH 7. FROM EAST TO WEST WAS A HUNDRED CUBITS — THE WALL OF THE PORCH FIVE CUBITS, THE PORCH ITSELF ELEVEN, THE WALL OF THE HEKAL SIX CUBITS AND ITS INTERIOR FORTY, A CUBIT FOR THE PARTITION38 AND TWENTY CUBITS FOR THE HOLY OF HOLIES, THE WALL OF THE HEKAL SIX CUBITS,39 THE CELL40 SIX CUBITS AND THE WALL OF THE CELL FIVE. FROM NORTH TO SOUTH WAS SEVENTY CUBITS — THE WALL OF THE MESIBBAH FIVE CUBITS, THE MESIBBAH ITSELF THREE, THE WALL OF THE CELL FIVE AND THE CELL ITSELF SIX, THE WALL OF THE HEKAL SIX CUBITS AND ITS INTERIOR TWENTY, THEN THE WALL OF THE HEKAL AGAIN SIX AND THE CELL SIX AND ITS WALL FIVE, THEN THE PLACE OF THE WATER DESCENT41 THREE CUBITS AND ITS WALL FIVE CUBITS. THE PORCH EXTENDED BEYOND THIS FIFTEEN CUBITS ON THE NORTH AND FIFTEEN CUBITS ON THE SOUTH, AND THIS SPACE WAS CALLED THE KNIFE-HOUSE WHERE THEY USED TO STORE THE [SLAUGHTERERS’] KNIVES.42 THUS THE HEKAL WAS NARROW BEHIND AND BROAD IN FRONT, RESEMBLING A LION, AS IT SAYS, AH, ARIEL, ARIEL, THE CITY WHERE DAVID ENCAMPED.43 JUST AS A LION IS NARROW BEHIND AND BROAD IN FRONT, SO THE HEKAL WAS NARROW BEHIND AND BROAD IN FRONT.

 


(1) The Temple proper exclusive both of the Holy of Holies and the Porch.
(2) It was also six cubits thick.
(3) Towards the Hekal.
(4) Ezek. XLI, 23.
(5) Thus the outer doors were drawn back a right angle, the inner ones a full half circle.
(6) I.e., the outer doors.
(7) Drawn back a little from the edge of the wall.
(8) They consisted of two leaves joined by hinges. R. Judah does not differ from the First Tanna, but adds a new detail.
(9) Ibid. 24.
(10) So the doorway of the Hekal is now called.
(11) Ezek. XLIV, 2.
(12) Heb. ta, a small apartment let into the wall. V. infra, 3.
(13) Parallel to the direction of the wall, back towards the gateway.
(14) I.e., between the two ends of the great gateway.
(15) The terms ‘within’ and ‘without’ here are used relatively to the Hekal. According to R. Judah, the priest did not enter directly from the cell into the Hekal.
(16) Surrounding the Temple.
(17) I.e., three stories of five each.
(18) This was the general rule, but some must have had more and some less.
(19) Of one looking towards the Hekal.
(20) V. infra. 5.
(21) V. supra. 2.
(22) This follows the view of the First Tanna above in 1. According to R. Judah, one door opened not into the Hekal, but into the great gateway.
(23) When the wall of the Hekal rose as high as the top of the lowest storey chambers, it narrowed one cubit, and this space was used for extending the ceiling beams of the chamber.
(24) I Kings VI, 6.
(25) Lit., ‘circuit’, an ascent running from the foot of the chambers on the north-east to the roof and then the whole length of the north side to the roof of the north-west.
(26) On the roofs of the chambers.
(27) This must have been a chamber adjoining the Holy of Holies and part of it must have projected over the Holy of Holies.
(28) By rungs or by hooks.
(29) V. supra p. 3, n. 12.
(30) I.e., the stones were exactly over the dividing partition. cf. n. 5.
(31) V. Pes. 26a.
(32) Including the Porch and the Holy of Holies.
(33) In front; behind it was narrow, as is explained infra.
(34) The lower blocks or packed earth on which the weight of the whole rested.
(35) Affording protection against a leak in the upper roof (Maim.).
(36) A panel ornamented with carvings and figures.
(37) Lit., ‘consuming the raven’, the object of the spikes being to keep birds from settling on the roof.
(38) The two curtains with one cubit space between them dividing the Hekal and the Sanctuary. V. Yoma 51b.
(39) The western wall of the Hekal embracing also the Holy of Holies.
(40) V. supra Mish. 4.
(41) This was really a continuation of the mesibbah on the south side, and it was called thus because it contained a conduit leading water to the brazen sea.
(42) Maim.: which had become disqualified.
(43) Isa. XXIX, I. ‘Ariel’, the lion of God.

Mishna - Mas. Middoth Chapter 5

MISHNAH 1. THE WHOLE OF THE AZARAH1 WAS A HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-SEVEN CUBITS LONG BY A HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FIVE BROAD. FROM EAST TO WEST IT WAS A HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-SEVEN. THE SPACE TO WHICH THE ISRAELITES2 HAD ACCESS WAS ELEVEN CUBITS. THE SPACE TO WHICH THE PRIESTS HAD ACCESS WAS ELEVEN CUBITS. THE ALTAR TOOK UP THIRTY-TWO. BETWEEN THE PORCH AND THE ALTAR WAS TWENTY-TWO CUBITS. THE HEKAL TOOK UP A HUNDRED CUBITS, AND THERE WERE ELEVEN CUBITS BEHIND THE MERCY SEAT.3

MISHNAH 2. FROM NORTH TO SOUTH WAS A HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FIVE CUBITS. THE ASCENT AND THE ALTAR TOOK UP SIXTY-TWO;4 FROM THE ALTAR TO THE RINGS WAS EIGHT CUBITS. THE RINGS TOOK UP TWENTY-FOUR CUBITS. FROM THE RINGS TO THE TABLES WAS FOUR CUBITS, FROM THE TABLES TO THE DWARF PILLARS FOUR, AND FROM THE DWARF PILLARS TO THE WALL OF THE AZARAH EIGHT CUBITS, AND THE REMAINDER5 WAS BETWEEN THE ASCENT AND THE WALL6 AND THE SPACE OCCUPIED BY THE PILLARS.7

MISHNAH 3. THERE WERE SIX CHAMBERS IN THE AZARAH, THREE ON THE NORTH AND THREE ON THE SOUTH. ON THE NORTH WERE THE SALT CHAMBER, THE PARWAH8 CHAMBER AND THE WASHERS CHAMBER. IN THE SALT CHAMBER THEY USED TO KEEP THE SALT FOR THE OFFERINGS. IN THE PARWAH CHAMBER THEY USED TO SALT THE SKINS OF THE ANIMAL-OFFERINGS. ON ITS ROOF WAS THE BATH USED BY THE HIGH PRIEST ON THE DAY OF ATONEMENT.9 IN THE WASHERS’ CHAMBER THEY USED TO WASH THE ENTRAILS OF THE SACRIFICIAL ANIMALS, AND FROM IT A WINDING ASCENT WENT UP TO THE ROOF OF THE PARWAH CHAMBER.

MISHNAH 4. ON THE SOUTH WERE THE WOOD CHAMBER, THE CHAMBER OF THE CAPTIVITY AND THE CHAMBER OF HEWN STONES. WITH REGARD TO THE WOOD CHAMBER, R. ELIEZER B. JACOB SAYS: I FORGET WHAT IT WAS USED FOR. ABBA SAUL SAYS:10 THE CHAMBER OF THE HIGH PRIEST11 WAS BEHIND TWO OF THEM, AND ONE ROOF COVERED ALL THREE. IN THE CHAMBER OF THE CAPTIVITY THERE WAS A FIXED CISTERN12 WITH A WHEEL OVER IT, AND FROM THERE WATER WAS PROVIDED FOR ALL THE AZARAH. IN THE CHAMBER OF HEWN STONE13 THE GREAT SANHEDRIN OF ISRAEL USED TO SIT AND JUDGE [AMONG OTHER THINGS THE APPLICANTS, FOR PRIESTHOOD. A PRIEST IN WHOM WAS FOUND A DISQUALIFICATION14 USED TO PUT ON BLACK UNDER GARMENTS AND WRAP HIMSELF IN BLACK AND CLEAR AWAY. ONE IN WHOM NO DISQUALIFICATION WAS FOUND USED TO PUT ON WHITE UNDER GARMENTS AND WRAP HIMSELF IN WHITE AND GO IN AND MINISTER ALONG WITH HIS BROTHER PRIESTS. THEY USED TO MAKE A FEAST BECAUSE NO BLEMISH HAD BEEN FOUND IN THE SEED OF AARON THE PRIEST, AND THEY USED TO SAY THUS: BLESSED IS THE OMNIPRESENT,15 BLESSED IS HE, BECAUSE NO BLEMISH HAS BEEN FOUND IN THE SEED OF AARON. BLESSED IS HE WHO CHOSE AARON AND HIS SONS TO STAND TO MINISTER BEFORE THE LORD IN THE HOLY OF HOLIES.

 


(1) The Temple Court. The space which was called ‘the camp of the divine presence’.
(2) Lit. ‘place of the treading of the feet of the Israelites’.
(3) More precisely behind the western wall of the Hekal. V. supra p. 1, n. 11.
(4) Cf. supra III, 3. Apparently the base of the ascent was thirty cubits.
(5) Of the hundred and thirty-five cubits.
(6) I.e., the southern wall.
(7) We must also suppose the space occupied by the tables to be included, although strangely enough this is not mentioned.
(8) Supposed to have been so called after a man named Parwah. V. Yoma, 35a. Or it may be connected with parim, bulls.
(9) V. Yoma 30a.
(10) Abba Saul's remark has nothing to do with R. Eliezer's.
(11) This apparently is the ‘Chamber of Parhedrin’ mentioned at the beginning of Tractate Yoma.
(12) Supposed to have been dug by the returned exiles.
(13) V. Tam. (Sonc. ed.) p. 14, n. 9.
(14) E.g., that his mother had been a divorced woman.
(15) Heb. Ha-makom, lit., ‘the Place’.

 

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