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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Beit Habechirah - Chapter 5, Beit Habechirah - Chapter 6, Beit Habechirah - Chapter 7

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Beit Habechirah - Chapter 5

1

Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount, measured 500 cubits by 500 cubits.1 It was surrounded by a wall.2 [The earth beneath it was hollowed out to prevent contracting ritual impurity] due to Tumat Ohel.3 Arches above arches were built underneath [for support].4 It was entirely covered,5 one colonnade inside another.6

א

הַר הַבַּיִת וְהוּא הַר הַמּוֹרִיָּה הָיָה חֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת אַמָּה עַל חֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת אַמָּה וְהָיָה מֻקָּף חוֹמָה. וְכֵפִין עַל גַּבֵּי כֵּפִין הָיוּ בְּנוּיוֹת מִתַּחְתָּיו. מִפְּנֵי אֹהֶל הַטֻּמְאָה. וְכֻלּוֹ הָיָה מְקֹרֶה סְטָיו לְפָנִים מִסְּטָיו:

2

Five gates led to the [Temple Mount]: One from the west,7 one from the east,8 one from the north,9 and two from the south.10 Each gate was 10 cubits [wide] and twenty cubits high.11 [Each gate] had doors.12

ב

וַחֲמִשָּׁה שְׁעָרִים הָיוּ לוֹ. אֶחָד מִן הַמַּעֲרָב וְאֶחָד מִן הַמִּזְרָח וְאֶחָד מִן הַצָּפוֹן וּשְׁנַיִם מִן הַדָּרוֹם. רֹחַב כָּל שַׁעַר עֶשֶׂר אַמּוֹת וְגָבְהוֹ עֶשְׂרִים. וְיֵשׁ לָהֶם דַּלְתוֹת:

3

Further within, a latticework partition,13 10 handbreadths high, surrounded it on all sides.14

The Chayl [a rampart] ten cubits high, was located further inside this partition.15 It is referred to in the [Book of] Lamentations [2:6]: 'The wall and the rampart mourned.' [This wall] refers to the wall surrounding the Temple Courtyard.

ג

לְפָנִים מִמֶּנּוּ סוֹרֵג מַקִּיף סְבִיב גָּבְהוֹ עֲשָׂרָה טְפָחִים וּלְפָנִים מִן הַסּוֹרֵג הַחֵיל [גָּבְהוֹ] עֶשֶׂר אַמּוֹת. וְעָלָיו הוּא אוֹמֵר בַּקִּינוֹת (איכה ב ח) "וַיַּאֲבֶל חֵל וְחוֹמָה" זוֹ חוֹמַת הָעֲזָרָה:

4

Further inward, beyond the chayl, was the Temple Courtyard.16 The Temple Courtyard was 187 [cubits] long and 135 [cubits] wide.17

It had seven gates.18 Three were on its north side, close to the west,19 and three were on the south side, close to the west. One [gate] in the east was positioned in the center, [directly] opposite the Holy of Holies.20

ד

לְפָנִים מִן הַחֵיל הָעֲזָרָה. וְכָל הָעֲזָרָה הָיְתָה אֹרֶךְ קפ''ז עַל רֹחַב קל''ה. וְשִׁבְעָה שְׁעָרִים הָיוּ לָהּ. שְׁלֹשָׁה מִן הַצָּפוֹן הַסְּמוּכִין לַמַּעֲרָב. וּשְׁלֹשָׁה מִן הַדָּרוֹם סְמוּכִין לַמַּעֲרָב. וְאֶחָד בַּמִּזְרָח מְכֻוָּן כְּנֶגֶד בֵּית קֹדֶשׁ הַקָּדָשִׁים בָּאֶמְצַע:

5

Each gate was ten cubits wide and twenty cubits high.21 Each one had gold-plated doors,22 except for the eastern gate which was plated with bronze that resembled gold. This was called the Upper Gate.23 It was [also called] the gate of Nicanor.24

ה

כָּל שַׁעַר מֵהֶן הָיָה רָחְבּוֹ עֶשֶׂר אַמּוֹת וְגָבְהוֹ עֶשְׂרִים אַמָּה. וְהָיוּ לוֹ דְּלָתוֹת מְחֻפּוֹת זָהָב. חוּץ מִשַּׁעַר מִזְרָחִי שֶׁהָיָה מְצֻפֶּה נְחשֶׁת דּוֹמָה לְזָהָב. וְשַׁעַר זֶה הוּא הַנִּקְרָא שַׁעַר הָעֶלְיוֹן וְהוּא שַׁעַר נִיקָנוֹר:

6

The Temple Courtyard was not situated directly in the center of the Temple Mount. Rather, it was set off further from the southern [wall] of the Temple Mount than from [the wall of] any other direction.25 It was closer to the western [wall] than to [the wall of] any other direction.26 There was a greater distance between it and the northern [wall] than between it and the western [wall]. [Similarly,] there was a greater distance between it and the eastern [wall] than between it and the northern [wall].27

ו

הָעֲזָרָה לֹא הָיְתָה מְכֻוֶּנֶת בְּאֶמְצַע הַר הַבַּיִת. אֶלָּא רְחוֹקָה מִדְּרוֹם הַר הַבַּיִת יֶתֶר מִכָּל הָרוּחוֹת וּקְרוֹבָה לַמַּעֲרָב יֶתֶר מִכָּל הָרוּחוֹת. וּבֵינָהּ וּבֵין הַצָּפוֹן יֶתֶר מִמַּה שֶּׁבֵּינָהּ וּבֵין הַמַּעֲרָב. וּבֵינָהּ וּבֵין הַמִּזְרָח יֶתֶר מִמַּה שֶּׁבֵּינָהּ וּבֵין הַצָּפוֹן:

7

The Women's Courtyard28 was in front of the Temple Courtyard on the East29 and was 135 cubits long and 135 cubits wide. It had four chambers, each forty cubits [by forty cubits, one] in [each of] its four corners.30 They did not have roofs, nor will they in the Messianic Age.31

ז

וְלִפְנֵי הָעֲזָרָה בַּמִּזְרָח הָיְתָה עֶזְרַת הַנָּשִׁים. וְהִיא הָיְתָה אֹרֶךְ מֵאָה אַמָּה וַחֲמִשָּׁה וּשְׁלֹשִׁים עַל רֹחַב קל''ה. וְאַרְבַּע לְשָׁכוֹת הָיוּ בְּאַרְבַּע מִקְצְעוֹתֶיהָ שֶׁל אַרְבָּעִים אַרְבָּעִים אַמָּה וְלֹא הָיוּ מְקֹרוֹת וְכֵן עֲתִידִין לִהְיוֹת:

8

For what purpose were they used?

The southeastern chamber32 was [called] the Chamber of the Nazirites.33 There, they cooked peace offerings and shaved their hair.

The northeastern chamber34 was [called] the Chamber of the Woodshed. There, the priests who [were disqualified from the Temple service] because of physical deformities35 checked the wood [brought for the Altar] for worms. If a worm was found, it was unfit for use.36

The northwestern chamber37 was [called] the Chamber of Those Afflicted with Tzara'at.38

The southwestern chamber39 was used to store wine and oil. It was called "The Chamber of the Oils."40

ח

וּמַה הֵם מְשַׁמְּשׁוֹת. דְּרוֹמִית מִזְרָחִית לִשְׁכַּת הַנְּזִירִים שֶׁשָּׁם מְבַשְּׁלִין אֶת שַׁלְמֵיהֶם וּמְגַלְּחִין אֶת שַׂעֲרָם. מִזְרָחִית צְפוֹנִית לִשְׁכַּת דִּיר הָעֵצִים שֶׁשָּׁם כֹּהֲנִים בַּעֲלֵי מוּמִין מַתְלִיעִים בָּעֵצִים. שֶׁכָּל עֵץ שֶׁנִּמְצָא בּוֹ תּוֹלַעַת פָּסוּל. צְפוֹנִית מַעֲרָבִית לִשְׁכַּת הַמְצֹרָעִים. מַעֲרָבִית דְּרוֹמִית בָּהּ הָיוּ נוֹתְנִין יַיִן וְשֶׁמֶן וְהִיא הָיְתָה נִקְרֵאת לִשְׁכַּת בֵּית שַׁמְנַיָּא:

9

The Women's Courtyard41 was surrounded by balconies so that women could look on from above and the men from below without intermingling.42

ט

עֶזְרַת הַנָּשִׁים הָיְתָה מֻקֶּפֶת גְּזוּזְטְרָא כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיוּ הַנָּשִׁים רוֹאוֹת מִלְּמַעְלָן וְהָאֲנָשִׁים מִלְּמַטָּן כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיוּ מְעֵרְבָּבִין. וּבַיִת גָּדוֹל הָיָה בְּצַד הָעֲזָרָה בִּצְפוֹנָהּ מִבַּחוּץ בֵּין הָעֲזָרָה וְהַחֵיל וְהָיָה בָּנוּי כִּפָּה וּמֻקָּף רְבָדִין שֶׁל אֶבֶן וְהוּא הָיָה נִקְרָא בֵּית הַמּוֹקֵד. וּשְׁנֵי פְּתָחִים הָיוּ לוֹ אֶחָד פָּתוּחַ לָעֲזָרָה וְאֶחָד פָּתוּחַ לַחֵיל:

10

Outside the Temple Courtyard,43 on its northern side,44 was a large structure between the Courtyard and the chayl. It was built with a dome45 and [its inner walls] were surrounded with stone protrusions.46 It was called the Chamber of the Hearth.47

It contained two entrances: one to the Temple Courtyard48 and one to the chayl.49

There were four chambers inside it.50 Two were consecrated51 and two were not.52 Marking posts53 separated the consecrated [chambers] from those which were not consecrated.54

For what purpose were they used?

The southwestern [chamber]55 was the Chamber of the Lambs.56

The southeastern [chamber]57 was the Chamber of the Bakers of the Showbread.58

[In] the northeastern [chamber], the Hasmoneans entombed the stones of the Altar59 which were defiled by the Greek kings.60

[In] the northwestern chamber, [a stairwell] descended to the mikveh.61

י

וְאַרְבַּע לְשָׁכוֹת הָיוּ בּוֹ. שְׁתַּיִם קֹדֶשׁ וּשְׁתַּיִם חֹל. וְרָאשֵׁי פִּסְפְּסִין מַבְדִּילִין בֵּין הַקֹּדֶשׁ וְהַחל. וּמַה הָיוּ מְשַׁמְּשׁוֹת מַעֲרָבִית דְּרוֹמִית לִשְׁכַּת הַטְּלָאִים. וּדְרוֹמִית מִזְרָחִית לִשְׁכַּת עוֹשֵׂי לֶחֶם הַפָּנִים. מִזְרָחִית צְפוֹנִית בָּהּ גָּנְזוּ בֵּית חַשְׁמוֹנַי אַבְנֵי מִזְבֵּחַ שֶׁשִּׁקְּצוּם מַלְכֵי יָוָן. צְפוֹנִית מַעֲרָבִית בָּהּ יוֹרְדִין לְבֵית הַטְּבִילָה:

11

One who descended from this chamber to the mikveh62 proceeded along a winding stairway located under the entire Temple complex.63 Candles were kindled on both sides [of the passageway, to illuminate the way] until reaching the mikveh.

This [chamber] also contained the hearth64 and the seat of dignity.65 This was the dignity associated with it. If one found it locked, he knew it was occupied by another person [and did not enter].66

יא

הַיּוֹרֵד לְבֵית הַטְּבִילָה מִלִּשְׁכָּה זוֹ הָיָה הוֹלֵךְ בַּמְּסִבָּה הַהוֹלֶכֶת תַּחַת הַמִּקְדָּשׁ כֻּלּוֹ וְהַנֵּרוֹת דּוֹלְקוֹת מִכָּאן וּמִכָּאן עַד שֶׁמַּגִּיעַ לְבֵית הַטְּבִילָה. וּמְדוּרָה הָיְתָה שָׁם. וּבֵית הַכִּסֵּא שֶׁל כָּבוֹד. וְזֶהוּ כְּבוֹדוֹ, מְצָאוֹ נָעוּל בְּיָדוּעַ שֶׁיֵּשׁ שָׁם אָדָם:

12

The Temple Courtyard was 187 cubits long from east to west.67 The measurement can be broken down as follows:

Eleven cubits from the western wall of the Courtyard to the wall of the Temple building.

100 cubits, the length of the Temple building.68

22 cubits between the Entrance Hall and the Altar.69

22 cubits, [the length of] the Altar.70

Eleven cubits, the area where the priests could walk.71 This was called the Priestly courtyard.72

Eleven cubits, the area where Israelites could walk.73 This was called the Courtyard of Israel.

יב

אֹרֶךְ הָעֲזָרָה מִן הַמִּזְרָח לַמַּעֲרָב קפ''ז וְזֶהוּ חֶשְׁבּוֹנָן. מִכֹּתֶל מַעֲרָבִי שֶׁל עֲזָרָה עַד כֹּתֶל הַהֵיכָל אַחַת עֶשְׂרֵה אַמָּה. וְאֹרֶךְ הַהֵיכָל כֻּלּוֹ מֵאָה אַמָּה. בֵּין הָאוּלָם וְלַמִּזְבֵּחַ שְׁתַּיִם וְעֶשְׂרִים. הַמִּזְבֵּחַ שְׁתַּיִם וּשְׁלֹשִׁים. מְקוֹם דְּרִיסַת רַגְלֵי הַכֹּהֲנִים וְהוּא הַנִּקְרָא עֶזְרַת כֹּהֲנִים אַחַת עֶשְׂרֵה אַמָּה. מְקוֹם דְּרִיסַת רַגְלֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהוּא הַנִּקְרָא עֶזְרַת יִשְׂרָאֵל אַחַת עֶשְׂרֵה אַמָּה:

13

The Courtyard was 135 cubits wide, from north to south.74 The measurement can be broken down as follows:

Eight cubits from the northern wall75 until the butchering area.

Twelve and one half cubits, the width of the butchering area.76 There, they would suspend the sacrificed animals [on posts] and remove their hides.77

יג

וְרֹחַב הָעֲזָרָה מִן הַצָּפוֹן לַדָּרוֹם מֵאָה וּשְׁלֹשִׁים וְחָמֵשׁ וְזֶהוּ חֶשְׁבּוֹנָן. מִכֹּתֶל צְפוֹנִי עַד בֵּית הַמִּטְבָּחַיִם שְׁמוֹנֶה אַמּוֹת. בֵּית הַמִּטְבָּחַיִם י''ב אַמּוֹת וּמֶחֱצָה. וְשָׁם תּוֹלִין וּמַפְשִׁיטִין אֶת הַקָּדָשִׁים בְּצִדּוֹ:

14

At its side was the place for the tables; it was eight cubits wide.78 It had marble tables79 on which the severed limbs were placed. The meat was washed [there]80 before it was cooked.81 There were eight tables.82

The area of the rings83 [was positioned] next to the location of the tables. It was 24 cubits [wide].84 There, they slaughtered the sacrifices.85

יד

מְקוֹם הַשֻּׁלְחָנוֹת שְׁמוֹנֶה אַמּוֹת וּבוֹ שֻׁלְחָנוֹת שֶׁל שַׁיִשׁ שֶׁמַּנִּיחִין עֲלֵיהֶן הַנְּתָחִים וּמְדִיחִין אֶת הַבָּשָׂר לְבַשְּׁלוֹ. וּשְׁמוֹנָה שֻׁלְחָנוֹת הָיוּ. וּבְצַד מְקוֹם הַשֻּׁלְחָנוֹת מְקוֹם הַטַּבָּעוֹת כ''ד אַמָּה. וְשָׁם שׁוֹחֲטִין אֶת הַקָּדָשִׁים:

15

There were eight cubits between the Altar and the area of the rings.86 The Altar was 32 cubits wide.87 The ramp was 30 cubits [long].88 There were twelve and a half cubits between the ramp and the southern wall.89

[The area] from the northern wall of the Temple Courtyard90 until the wall91 of the Altar, was sixty and a half [cubits] wide.92 The length of this area, from the wall of the Entrance Hall until the eastern wall of the Courtyard, was 76 [cubits].93

טו

וּבֵין מְקוֹם הַטַּבָּעוֹת וְהַמִּזְבֵּחַ שְׁמוֹנֶה אַמּוֹת וְהַמִּזְבֵּחַ ל''ב. וְהַכֶּבֶשׁ שְׁלֹשִׁים. וּבֵין הַכֶּבֶשׁ וּלְכֹתֶל דְּרוֹמִי י''ב אַמָּה וּמֶחֱצָה. מִכֹּתֶל צְפוֹנִי שֶׁל עֲזָרָה עַד כֹּתֶל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ שֶׁהוּא רֹחַב שִׁשִּׁים וּמֶחֱצָה. וּכְנֶגְדוֹ מִכֹּתֶל הָאוּלָם עַד כֹּתֶל מִזְרָחִי שֶׁל עֲזָרָה שֶׁהוּא אֹרֶךְ שֵׁשׁ וְשִׁבְעִים:

16

The entire rectangle [described above] is called "the northern portion." The sacrifices of the most sacred order of holiness were slaughtered there.94

טז

כָּל הַמְרֻבָּע הַזֶּה הוּא הַנִּקְרָא צָפוֹן הוּא הַמָּקוֹם שֶׁשּׁוֹחֲטִין בּוֹ קָדְשֵׁי קָדָשִׁים:

17

The Courtyard of the Israelites had eight chambers:95 three in the north and three in the south.96 In the south,97 were the Chamber of Salt, Parve's Chamber,98 and the Washing Chamber.

The salt for the sacrifices was stored in the Chamber of the Salt.99 The hides of the sacrifices were salted in Parve's chamber.100 Its roof had a mikveh, used by the High Priest on Yom Kippur.101 The internal organs of the sacrifices were washed in the Washing Chamber.102 It had a winding ramp way leading to the roof of Parve's chamber.103

The three [chambers] in the north were the Chamber of Hewn Stone, the Chamber of the Bowl, and the Chamber of Wood.104

The Supreme Sanhedrin sat105 [in judgment] in the Chamber of Hewn Stone.106 Half was consecrated107 and half was not.108 The Sanhedrin sat in the half that was not consecrated.

The Chamber of the Bowl had a well from which water was drawn with a bowl. This [well] supplied water to the entire Temple Courtyard.

The Chamber of Wood was situated behind these two. It was the Chamber of the High Priest and [also] called "the Chamber of Parhedrin."109 The roofs of these three chambers were on the same level.110

The Courtyard of the Israelites had two other chambers:111 one to the right of the eastern gate, [called] the Chamber of Pinchas, the clothes-butler;112 and one to the left. It was [called] the Chamber of the Bakers of the chavitin.113

יז

שְׁמוֹנֶה לְשָׁכוֹת הָיוּ בְּעֶזְרַת יִשְׂרָאֵל. שָׁלֹשׁ בַּצָּפוֹן. וְשָׁלֹשׁ בַּדָּרוֹם. שֶׁבַּדָּרוֹם לִשְׁכַּת הַמֶּלַח. לִשְׁכַּת הַפַּרְוָה. לִשְׁכַּת הַמְּדִיחִין. לִשְׁכַּת הַמֶּלַח שָׁם נוֹתְנִין מֶלַח לַקָּרְבָּן. לִשְׁכַּת הַפַּרְוָה שָׁם מוֹלְחִין עוֹרוֹת הַקָּדָשִׁים. וְעַל גַּגָּהּ הָיְתָה בֵּית טְבִילָה לְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל בְּיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים. לִשְׁכַּת הַמְּדִיחִין שָׁם הָיוּ מְדִיחִין קִרְבֵי הַקָּדָשִׁים וּמִשָּׁם מְסִבָּה עוֹלָה לְגַג בֵּית הַפַּרְוָה. וְהַשָּׁלֹשׁ שֶׁבִּצְפוֹן לִשְׁכַּת הַגָּזִית. לִשְׁכַּת הַגּוֹלָה. לִשְׁכַּת הָעֵץ. לִשְׁכַּת הַגָּזִית שֶׁבָּהּ סַנְהֶדְרִי גְּדוֹלָה יוֹשֶׁבֶת. וְחֶצְיָהּ הָיָה קֹדֶשׁ וְחֶצְיָהּ הָיָה חֹל. וְלָהּ שְׁנֵי פְּתָחִים אֶחָד לַקֹּדֶשׁ וְאֶחָד לְחל וּבַחֵצִי שֶׁל חֹל הָיוּ הַסַּנְהֶדְרִין יוֹשְׁבִין. לִשְׁכַּת הַגּוֹלָה שָׁם הָיְתָה בּוֹר שֶׁמְּמַלְּאִין מִמֶּנּוּ בַּגּוֹלָה וּמִשָּׁם מְסַפְּקִין מַיִם לְכָל הָעֲזָרָה. וְלִשְׁכַּת הָעֵץ הָיְתָה אֲחוֹרֵי שְׁתֵּיהֶן וְהִיא הָיְתָה לִשְׁכַּת כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל וְהִיא הַנִּקְרֵאת לִשְׁכַּת פַּרְהֶדְרִין. וְגַג שְׁלָשְׁתָּן שָׁוֶה. וּשְׁתֵּי לְשָׁכוֹת אֲחֵרוֹת הָיוּ שָׁם בְּעֶזְרַת יִשְׂרָאֵל. אַחַת מִימִין שַׁעַר מִזְרָחִי וְהוּא לִשְׁכַּת פִּינְחָס הַמַּלְבִּישׁ. וְאֶחָד מִשְּׂמֹאלוֹ וְהוּא לִשְׁכַּת עוֹשֶׂה חֲבִיתִין:

Footnotes
1.

The commentaries, basing themselves on the Jerusalem Talmud (Eruvin 2:5), explain that this figure was derived as follows:

Exodus 27:18 states: 'The length of the courtyard shall be 100 cubits and its width, 50 by 50.' This verse can obviously not be understood literally, for area has only two coordinates. Hence, the Sages explained that rather than refer to the courtyard of the Tabernacle, the verse describes a measure related to the future Sanctuaries. The Temple Tabernacle, the verse describes a measure related to the future Sanctuaries. The Temple Mount measured a total of 50 x 100 x 50 cubits in area, i.e., a total of 250,000 sq. cubits.

The Piskei Tosafot (Middot 5) relate that the total area of the Temple Mount was greater than 250,000 sq. cubits. However, only the latter figure was consecrated.

2.

With the exception of the wall on the eastern side, the walls on all sides were very high. We know that their gates were 20 cubits high and the walls themselves were even higher. In modern terms, that would mean at least 10 meters (32.5 feet high).

3.

Tumat Ohel refers to ritual impurity contracted by being under the same tent or structure as a corpse. Even thought the corpse is buried, ritual impurity can be contracted unless there is a vacant space between the corpse and the earth above it. To prevent the possibility of impurity from a grave under the Temple courtyard, the entire earth below was hollowed out. See Parah 3:3.

4.

Though the Mishnah (Parah, loc. cit.) states that the earth beneath the Temple was hollowed out, it does not mention the construction of arches. However, since the Mishnah (ibid.:6) states that arches supported the ramp leading from the Temple Mount to the Mount of Olives, we may assume that a similar technique was used in the instance (Kessef Mishneh). See also the commentary to Chapter 1, Halachah 13.

5.

With the exception of the Temple Courtyard.

6.

Rashi (Pesachim 13a) explains that this roof was built to protect the visitors to the Temple fom rain.

7.

Middot 1:3 relates that this gate was called Kaiphonus. The Shiltei Giborim explains that this means 'garden' in Greek. The name was given because a rose was planted outside this gate.

8.

This gate was called the Gate of Shushan, and the image of the city of Shushan was engraved upon it. This was done at the command of King Cyrus of Persia, who gave permission for the Temple to be rebuilt.

9.

It was called the Tadi gate, meaning 'hiddenness.' This gate was used when someone was forced to leave the Temple, but he did not want to publicize the circumstances (Middot 1:9, 2:2). Its construction differed from that of the other gates. Rather than have an ordinary lintel, it had two stones leaning against each other (ibid.:3).

10.

These were the gates most frequently used to enter the Temple Mount. They were named after the prophetess Chuldah. In the time of the First Temple, she stood before these gates and urged the people to repent.

The tractate Sofrim 19:12 relates that there were two additional gates to the Temple Mount: one for mourners and one for grooms. The Jewish people would sit between these two gates waiting to console the mourners and join in the celebration of the grooms. The Kaftor ViPerach states that these gates were on the east, to the north of the gate of Shushan. They were called the 'gates of mercy.' Today, the term is used to refer to the two gates on the east side of the Temple Mount, which can be seen from the Mount of Olives and are permanently shut.

11.

This was the standard size of the gates in the Temple complex.

12.

In contrast to the gateway to the Entrance Hall, which had no doors.

13.

Made of wooden shafts arranged in a crisscross pattern.

14.

Rabbenu Asher explains that this structure was constructed to allow the articles to be carried on the Sabbath. Therefore, it was made 10 handbreadths high. The Temple Mount was surrounded by a wall and, therefore, could not be considered a public domain. Nonetheless, its size exceeded the limits placed by the Sages, and without this partition, there would have been a Rabbinic against carrying on the Sabbath.

The Tosafot Yom TOv (Middot 2:3) objects to this reasoning, explaining that the Rabbinic prohibitions regarding the Sabbath were generally relaxed within the Temple premises. Instead, he offers the hypothesis that this partition served to delineate the point beyond which gentiles were not allowed to proceed.

15.

Middot 2:3 states: 'The Chayl, ten cubits.' In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Middot 1:4), the Rambam describes the Chayl as a rampart. He, therefore, interprets this statement as referring to its height. In contrast, Rav Ovadiah of Bartinura does not define the Chayl as a wall. Rather, he refers to it as an empty space, 10 cubits wide.

16.

In this halachah, the Rambam does not mention the Women's Courtyard (See Halachah 7), because he intends to list the dividers which circumscribe an area of the Temple Mount on all four sides. The Women's Courtyard had the same dimensions as the Temple Courtyard on the north and south. Hence, it was not mentioned in this place.

17.

See Halachot 12 and where the Rambam details the space allocation of the Temple Courtyard.

18.

This statement raises a number of problems: Three mishnayot in the tractate of Middot mention the number of gates to the Temple Courtyard:

Mishnah 1:1 states: "The Levites [stood guard] in twenty one places: five at the five gates of the Temple Courtyard...."

Mishnah 1:4 states: "There were seven gates to the Temple Courtyard...."

Mishnah 2:6 states: "Thirteen prostrations were carried out there. Abba Yossi ben Chanan declared: 53[These were instituted] because of the thirteen gates... 54

It is difficult to conceive that the Mishnah would contradict itself within the same tractate. The apparent discrepancies can be explained as follows: The Sages do not disagree about the number of entrances to the Temple Courtyard. They did, however, debate the question of which entrance met the legal criteria for a gate. Guards were required to stand watch over every entrance that was considered a gate.

Similarly, although a person who is ritually impure may not enter the Temple premises, it is not clear whether he would be obligated to bring a sin offering if he came in through an entrance which is not considered a gate. See Chapter 8, Halachah 8, and Likkutei Sichot, Vol. 18, p.212-217.

19.

These gates were:

a) the gate of the spark. A two-floor structure with an entrance to the chayl.

b) the gate of the offerings. The most sacrifices of the highest order of sanctity, were slaughtered on the north side of the courtyard, and were brought in through this gate.

c) the gate to the Chamber of the Hearth. See Halachah 10.

20.

The Gate of Nicanor. It was most commonally used to enter the Temple Courtyard. The notes to the following halachah offers an explanation of that name.

21.

This was the standard size of the gates on the Temple Mount.

22.

See Chapter 1, Halachot 11 and 19.

23.

As mentioned in the beginning of Chapter 6, the Temple was built on an incline and had steps leading from the Women's Courtyard to the gate of Nicanor. Hence, the gate leading to the Women's Courtyard was referred to as the lower gate, and the gate of Nicanor, the Upper Gate. See Hilchot Klei HaMikdash, Chapter 7, Mishnah 6.

24.

In honor of the noble person who donated its doors.

Yoma 38a relates that Nicanor journeyed to Alexandria to ask the skilled bronzeworkers there to fashion these gates. When the gates were finished, he set sail with them to return to Eretz Yisrael.

At sea, a violent storm almost capsized the vessel. After other measures failed, the crew members decided to jettison some of the ship's cargo to reduce its weight. Immediately, they tossed one of the heavy bronzed gates to the waves.

The danger did not cease, and the crew wanted to cast the second gate overboard as well. Hearing this, Nicanor protested and declared that he would have to be thrown into the sea before the gate. Directly after he made that statement, the storm subsided and the ship was able to proceed.

Throughout the remainder of the journey, Nicanor was overcome with remorse. Why, he thought, hadn't he defended the first gate as well? How great was his joy when the ship docked at Acre and the gate emerged from under its hull.

When the financial situation of the Jewish people improved, they replaced all the Temple's bronze gates with gold-covered gates. Nevertheless, they allowed Nicanor's gates to remain in memory of the miracles which occurred. The Sages declared: "Their bronze shined like gold."

25.

As mentioned above (Halachah 2), the main entrance to the Temple Mount was on the South. Therefore, more space was left in this direction, and more Temple functions were carried out on that side.

26.

In deference to the Holy of Holies, no mundane business was carried on behind it. Hence, less space was left there than in the other directions.

According to most opinions, the Wailing Wall at which we worship today, is the western wall which surrounded the Temple Mount (Kaftor Viperach).

27.

The Tosafot Yom Tov calculated the distances between the Temple Courtyard and the walls as follows:

Between the Courtyard and the southern wall, 250 cubits,

Between the Courtyard and the eastern wall, 213 cubits,

Between the Courtyard and the northern wall, 115 cubits,

Between the Courtyard and the western wall, 100 cubits.

28.

The reason for this name is explained in Halachah 9 and notes.

29.

Except for certain unique circumstances, people entered the Temple through this area.

30.

The chambers were inside the walls of the Courtyard, and not on the outside.

31.

The Mishnah (Middot 2:5) bases the latter statement on the prophecy of Ezekiel (46:21-22): "Then he took me out into the outer courtyard.... Behold, there was a chamber in each corner of the courtyard. At the four corners, there were roofless chambers...."

32.

The chamber to the left upon entering the Women's Courtyard.

33.

Numbers 6:18 commands: "The Nazirite shall shave off the crown of hair on his head before the Tent of Meeting. He shall take the hair... and place it in the fire under the peace offering." Nazir 45a explains that, in deference to the presence of the Shechinah, the shaving was not carried out before the Sanctuary itself, but rather in this chamber, while the door to the Sanctuary was open. See also Hilchot Nizirut 8:2-3.

34.

The chamber to the right upon entering.

35.

Leviticus 21:16-24 lists the physical deformities which disqualified a priest for Temple service and the relevant regulations. See also Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash, Chapter 6.

36.

Just as the choicest animals should be chosen for the sacrifices, so too, the wood used to burn them should be of the highest quality (Hilchot Issurei Mizbeiach, 6:1-2).

37.

The chamber on the right side before the entrance to the Temple Courtyard.

38.

It contained a mikveh in which those seeking purification from tzara'at immersed themselves as part of their process of regaining ritual purity. See Hilchot Michusrei Kapporah, Chapter 4.

39.

The chamber on the left side before the entrance to the Temple Courtyard.

40.

Its name mentioned oil rather than wine, because a sacrifice is acceptable if a wine libation is lacking. In contrast, all meal offerings are invalidated if they lack oil (Yeriat Shlomo).

41.

Women were not allowed to enter the Temple Courtyard except to perform certain rituals in connection with sacrifices which they had brought. However, they were permitted to enter this outer courtyard and therefore, it was named accordingly.

42.

The Mishnah (Middot 2:5) relates that these balconies were a later addition to the Temple structure.

On the festival of Sukkot, the entire Jewish nation would gather in this courtyard to watch the Simchat Beit HaShoevah celebrations (the festivities associated with the water libation). Though the men and the women were seated in separate sections, the closeness between them aroused a certain dimension of frivolity which was not appropriate to the holiness of the occasion. To avoid such circumstances, these balconies were constructed. See also Sukkot 51b.

43.

Although the Kessef Mishneh and other commentaries explain that half of the Chamber of the Hearth was positioned within the Temple Courtyard, and half on the outside, the diagrams drawn by the Rambam depict it as being positioned entirely outside the Courtyard's walls.

44.

To the right upon entering the Temple Courtyard.

45.

As a roof.

46.

On which the priests slept at night (Tamid 1:1).

47.

Because the priests kindled a fire there to keep warm.

48.

Each morning, the priests entered the Courtyard through this entrance to prepare it for the morning sacrifices.

49.

A priest who became impure at night and therefore, could not participate in the Temple services would leave through this exit.

50.

Middot 1:5 describes the chambers as resembling "bedrooms opening out to a large hallway."

Note the accompanying diagram which was copied from the Rambam's drawings in his Commentary to the Mishnah.

51.

Thus they were considered extensions of the Temple Courtyard. This distinction is significant in regard to the prohibition against eating the sacrifices of the highest degree of sanctity outside the Temple Courtyard.

52.

According to the interpretation of the Kessef Mishneh mentioned above, this statement is quite clear. Two chambers were situated inside the Temple Courtyard, and two were on the outside. However, according to the Rambam, the entire structure was situated outside the Temple Courtyard. If so, how could two structures be consecrated?

This difficulty can be resolved as follows: The Jerusalem Talmud (Ma'aser Sheni 3:4) states that chambers which are built on ground that was not consecrated, but which open up to the Temple Courtyard, are considered as consecrated. Should they open up to the outside, they are not sacred. According to the Rambam's diagram, the two southern chambers of the Chamber of the Hearth faced the Temple Courtyard, while the two northern chambers faced the chayl. Hence, the southern chambers alone were consecrated. See also Chapter 6, Halachah 8.

53.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah, the Rambam defines "marking posts" as "a lattice divider, sometimes made of reeds, sometimes made of wood, and at other times, made of other building materials." They were placed on the ceiling of this structure.

54.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Tamid, loc. cit.), the Rambam writes that the priests only slept in the part of the chamber which was not consecrated. Hence, these marking posts were useful in clarifying this matter to them.

55.

The chamber to the right when facing the Temple Courtyard.

56.

Here the lambs to be offered as daily sacrifices were inspected to see if they had any disqualifying blemishes. The lambs were kept in this chamber before they were sacrificed. In Hilchot Temidim UMusafim 1:9, the Rambam writes that at least six lambs were always kept in this chamber.

57.

The chamber to the left when facing the Temple Courtyard.

16The southeastern [chamber] - The chamber to the left when facing the Temple Courtyard.

58.

Here, the Showbread offered each Sabbath on the Golden Table was baked.

59.

See Chapter 1, Halachah 15.

60.

The Greeks who occupied Jerusalem before the Maccabean revolt defiled the altar by offering sacrifices to idols upon it.

Tamid 3:3 mentions that there was a Chamber of Seals within the Chamber of the Hearth. There, the priests would authorize the sale of the wine and meal offerings. In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Middot 1:5), the Rambam explains that this chamber was used for that purpose in addition to the entombment of the altar's stones.

61.

As explained in the following halachah.

62.

Tamid 1:1 relates that the priests slept in the Chamber of the Hearth. "If one of them had a seminal emission [in his sleep,] he would descend to the mikveh."

The emission of semen renders a man ritually impure (Leviticus 15:16). Thus, a priest who had a nocturnal emission may not enter the Temple premises or take part in its services. The process of ritual purification involves immersion in a mikveh and waiting until nightfall. In the morning, the priest left the Temple premises through the gate leading to the chayl (Tamid, loc. cit.).

63.

An intricate chain of underground passageways was located under the Temple Mount, including this stairwell leading to a natural reservoir of water where a mikveh was constructed.

This halachah raises a question. As mentioned above, in this condition, the priests were not able to enter the Temple premises. If so, how could they enter these passageways which passed under consecrated ground?

The commentaries answer (see Chapter 8, Halachah 7) that since these underground passageways did not open to the Temple Courtyard itself, they were not consecrated. See Pesachim 86a.

64.

The fire that the priests kindled at night, from which the entire chamber derived its name. See Tamid 3:3.

65.

I.e., a toilet.

66.

Rav Ovadiah of Bartinura wrote that no one ever entered this toilet while it was occupied by another person.

There are additional references to the Chamber of the Hearth and to the stairwell leading to the mikveh in Chapter 8, Halachot 5-7.

67.

This measure did not include the width of the courtyard's walls.

68.

As explained above, Chapter 3, Halachah 4.

69.

The washbasin and the steps leading to the Entrance Hall (See Chapter 6, Halachah 4) were located here.

70.

See Chapter 2, Halachah 7.

71.

When they were not directly involved with the Temple services.

72.

See Chapter 1, Halachah 7.

73.

As explained in Chapter 7, Halachah 19, an Israelite was only allowed beyond this region for four reasons:

a) to perform semichah on an animal he had brought as a sacrifice;

b) to offer the confessional prayers that accompany the sacrifices;

c) to slaughter a sacrificial animal;

d) to wave the peace offerings.

The source for this halachah and those following is the fifth chapter of the tractate of Middot. It must be noted that the Rambam's text of the Mishnah does not have a fifth chapter. Rather, all these mishnayot are included as mishnah 8 of Chapter 3.

See the diagram of the Temple Courtyard at the conclusion of this chapter.

74.

The Rambam describes the breakdown of this figure in this and the following three halachot.

75.

In this instance as well, the width of the courtyard's walls are not included in the total measure.

76.

This area included eight posts permanently affixed to the floor of the Courtyard. The posts were made of a short stone pillar in which was embedded a post of cedar wood. Each post had three iron hooks from which the sacrifices were suspended (Middot 3:5).

77.

Also, at this time, the limbs of the animal which was suspended on these hooks were cut off, and given to the priests to bring to the altar.

78.

Middot 5:2 states as follows:

The ramp and the altar took up 62 cubits. From the altar to the rings, there were eight cubits. The area of the rings was 24 cubits wide. There were four cubits between the rings and the tables, and four cubits from the tables to the short pillars. From the short pillars to the wall of the Courtyard were eight cubits. The remainder [of the 5 cubits] was taken up by the short pillars and by the space between the ramp and [the Courtyard's northern] wall.

The Rambam's interpretation of the mishnah divides the 25 remaining cubits equally between the area of the pillars, the butchering area mentioned in the previous halachah, and the space between the ramp and the southern wall. The Rambam also combined the two measurements given for the space of the tables into one figure (Kessef Mishneh).

79.

As mentioned on several occasions above, an effort was made to use gold for all utensils in the Temple. However, marble was sometimes used, because it is a poorer conductor of heat. In this case as well, marble tables were used lest the heat cause the meat to spoil.

80.

This statement is somewhat difficult. Tamid 4:2 states that a sacrificial animal's internal organs, except for its stomach, were washed on these tables. It does not mention the washing of the meat at all. The Rambam states that the internal organs were washed in the Washing Chamber (see Halachah 17) and that these tables were used for washing the meat. The commentaries question the source for the Rambam's statements (Ra'avad). Kin'at Eliyahu emphasizes that the Rambam's wording indicates that here we are not speaking about meat offered on the altar, but meat cooked and eaten by the priests.

81.

As a preliminary stage in the process of salting meat, the meat must be washed to remove all surface blood.

82.

See Shekalim 3:4.

Tosafot (Yoma 16b) notes that Yoma 30b describes the tables as being placed between the pillars. Two possible explanations are offered:

a) there were two sets of tables: one between the pillars, and one to their left;

b) even though there was a small gap between the pillars and the tables, the expression "between the tables" could be used.

83.

These rings were permanently affixed to the floor of the Temple Courtyard, at the request of Yochanan, the High Priest. The feet of an animal brought as a sacrifice were placed inside the rings to hold the animal in place while it was being slaughtered. (See the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah 5:2. Note Rashi, Sukkah 56a for a different interpretation of the rings' use.)

84.

There were 24 rings. There is a debate in Middot 3:5 whether there were six rows of four rings, or four rows of six. Though the Rambam does not specify which opinion he follows, his diagrams which accompany his Commentary to the Mishnah apparently tend toward the former opinion.

85.

As mentioned in Halachah 16, the sacrifices of the most sacred order had to be slaughtered in the northern portion of the courtyard. The rings included in that region were therefore used for this purpose. The sacrifices of a lesser degree of holiness could be slaughtered any place within the Temple courtyard. When many people brought their sacrifices at the same time, for example on the festivals, the priests took advantage of this leniency.

Note the accompanying diagram.

86.

See Middot 3:5.

87.

See Chapter 2, Halachah 7.

88.

See Chapter 2, Halachah 13.

89.

See the notes to Halachah 14 of this chapter.

90.

The wall on the right upon entering.

91.

More specifically, the base of the altar.

92.

That measurement can be broken down as follows:

the space between the pillars and the northern wall 8 cubits,

the area of the pillars 12.5 cubits,

the area of the tables 8 cubits,

the area of the rings 24 cubits,

the space between the rings and the altar 8 cubits.

93.

See Halachah 12.

94.

Leviticus 1:11 declares that the burnt offerings are to be slaughtered "on the north side of the altar." Similar instructions were given in regard to sin offerings, guilt offerings, and communal peace offerings.

This definition of "the northern portion" of the Temple Courtyard follows the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah HaNasi (Zevachim 20a).

95.

See Middot 5:3, 4 and 1:4.

96.

These chambers were not situated parallel to each other.

97.

The side of the Temple Courtyard to the left when facing the Temple building.

98.

This chamber was named after a Gentile magician who dug an tunnel under the Temple Courtyard to observe the services. He was discovered and killed on the spot (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, Middot 5:3).

99.

The Rambam writes in Hilchot Issurei HaMizbayach 5:11:

It is a positive commandment to salt all sacrifices before they are brought up to the altar, as in Leviticus 2:13: "You shall offer salt on all your sacrifices."

In Halachah 13 there, he continues:

They placed salt [on the sacrifices] in three places: in the Chamber of Salt, on the ramp [leading to the altar,] and on the top of the altar.

The Lechem Mishneh explains that salt for all the Temple's needs was stored in this chamber.

100.

The hides of the sacrifices were given to the priests for their private use. They were treated with salt to preserve them.

16There is a difficulty with this halachah. In Hilchot Issurei Mizbeiach (loc. cit.), the Rambam states that the hides were salted in the Chamber of Salt. The Lechem Mishneh resolves that difficulty by explaining that although the salt was stored in the Chamber of Salt, the actual salting of the hides was carried out in Parve's Chamber.

101.

On Yom Kippur, the High Priest immersed himself in the mikveh five times. Except for the first immersion, all were carried out in this mikveh (Yoma 3:3).

102.

As mentioned previously in Halachah 14, there is a slight difficulty with this statement. Tamid 4:2 states that the internal organs were washed on the tables, except for the lower digestive organs. They were not washed in the open since it was not proper to spill out their contents before the Temple building. However, the Rambam goes beyond that source and states that all internal organs were washed in this chamber.

103.

Allowing access to the mikveh located there.

104.

The name "Chamber of Wood" is somewhat problematic. As mentioned in Chapter 1, Halachah 9, it is forbidden to build a chamber of wood in the Temple Courtyard. The commentaries explain that the chamber itself was not made of wood. However, it was given that name either because it was used to store wood or because it had wooden paneling.

105.

Only kings from the House of David were allowed to sit in the Temple Courtyard (Yoma 25a).

106.

This name was given because of the seats of hewn stone upon which the Sanhedrin were seated. Two reasons are given for the placement of Israel's highest court in the Temple Courtyard. Firstly, to a large extent, they were involved with judging cases related to the priesthood (Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 6:11).

Secondly, the holiness of the Temple inspired their decisions and provided them with additional insight. Once the Sanhedrin was forced to leave this site, it was not granted the authority to judge capital cases.

107.

Considered as part of the Temple Courtyard.

108.

Commenting on the Mishnah, the Rambam states that the chamber was situated entirely within the Courtyard. Nevertheless, half is considered unconsecrated because one entrance opened to the outside. In Chapter 6, Halachah 7, the Rambam states that even if a chamber is built within the Courtyard, if it opens to the outside, it is not considered consecrated. The Chamber of Hewn Stone had two entrances, one leading into the Temple Courtyard and one leading outside. Therefore, half was consecrated and half was not.

Nevertheless, there are unresolved difficulties concerning this Halachah. Among them:

a) How was it possible for all the judges and the students who would attend the sessions of the Sanhedrin to sit in so small an area?

b) Which entrance leading from the Courtyard is referred to? It was not mentioned among the seven gates mentioned in Halachah 5:4 or even among the 13 gates listed in Middot 2:6.

109.

Seven days before Yom Kippur, the High Priest left his own home and adjourned to this chamber, where he busied himself, preparing for the service of that holy day (Yoma 2a).

Yoma 8b (note Rashi's commentary) explains that the name Parhedrin meant "officer of the king." This name was given to this chamber in the days of the Second Temple when the High Priests would purchase this office from the king at a high price.

These "High Priests" were not righteous and as a sign of Divine retribution, they would die within a year of assuming office. Upon their death, the position would be sold again. To emphasize that these "High Priests" received the position through bribery and not through merit, they were referred to as "the officers of the king."

110.

Rav Ovadiah of Bartinura explains that one roof was placed over all three buildings. However, the Rambam's diagrams do not appear to subscribe to this idea.

111.

See Middot 1:4.

112.

The clothes-butler was responsible for weaving and knitting the priestly garments (Hilchot Klai HaMikdash 7:20).

According to the commentaries (Shekalim 5:1), the first person entrusted with this task in the second Temple was named Pinchas. Hence, all his successors were called by that name.

113.

This term refers to a meal offering, prepared in a frying pan. The product resembled pancakes. This offering was prepared every day in this chamber and brought by the High Priest, as commanded in Leviticus 6:13-15.

Beit Habechirah - Chapter 6

1

The entire Temple complex was not built on flat ground, but rather on the incline1 of Mount [Moriah.] Thus, a person who entered from the Eastern Gate of the Temple Mount would proceed to the end of the chayl on one level.2

He would ascend from the chayl to the Woman's Courtyard on twelve steps. Each step was half a cubit high and half a cubit wide.3

א

הַמִּקְדָשׁ כֻּלּוֹ לֹא הָיָה בְּמִישׁוֹר אֶלָּא בְּמַעֲלֵה הָהָר. כְּשֶׁאָדָם נִכְנָס מִשַּׁעַר מִזְרָחִי שֶׁל הַר הַבַּיִת מְהַלֵּךְ עַד סוֹף הַחֵיל בְּשָׁוֶה. וְעוֹלֶה מִן הַחֵיל לְעֶזְרַת הַנָּשִׁים בִּשְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה מַעֲלוֹת רוּם כָּל מַעֲלָה חֲצִי אַמָּה וְשִׁלְחָהּ חֲצִי אַמָּה:

2

One proceeded through the entire Women's Courtyard4 on one level.5 From it, one ascended6 to the Courtyard of the Israelites, which is the beginning of the Temple Courtyard, using fifteen steps.7 Each step was half a cubit high and half a cubit wide.

ב

וּמְהַלֵּךְ כָּל עֶזְרַת הַנָּשִׁים בְּשָׁוֶה. וְעוֹלֶה מִמֶּנָּה לְעֶזְרַת יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁהוּא תְּחִלַּת הָעֲזָרָה בַּחֲמֵשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה מַעֲלוֹת. רוּם כָּל מַעֲלָה חֲצִי אַמָּה וְשִׁלְחָהּ חֲצִי אַמָּה:

3

One would proceed through the entire Israelites' Courtyard on one level8 and ascend from it to the Priestly Courtyard [using] one step, one cubit high.9

Above [that step] was a platform of three steps.10 Each step was half a cubit high and half a cubit wide.11 Thus, the Priestly Courtyard was two and a half cubits higher than the Courtyard of the Israelites.

ג

וּמְהַלֵּךְ כָּל עֶזְרַת יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּשָׁוֶה וְעוֹלֶה מִמֶּנּוּ לְעֶזְרַת הַכֹּהֲנִים בְּמַעֲלָה גְּבוֹהָה אַמָּה וְעָלֶיהָ דּוּכָן יֵשׁ בּוֹ שָׁלֹשׁ מַעֲלוֹת. רוּם כָּל מַעְלָה חֲצִי אַמָּה וְשִׁלְחָהּ חֲצִי אַמָּה. נִמְצֵאת עֶזְרַת הַכֹּהֲנִים גְּבוֹהָה עַל שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל שְׁתֵּי אַמּוֹת וּמֶחֱצָה:

4

One would proceed through the entire Priestly Courtyard,12 [the area of] the Altar,13 and the space between the Entrance Hall and the Altar14 on one level. From there, one would ascend to the Entrance Hall using twelve steps.15 Each step was half a cubit high and half a cubit wide.16

The Entrance Hall and [the remainder of] the Temple building were both on the same level.17

ד

וּמְהַלֵּךְ כָּל עֶזְרַת הַכֹּהֲנִים וְהַמִּזְבֵּחַ. וּבֵין הָאוּלָם וְלַמִּזְבֵּחַ בְּשָׁוֶה. וְעוֹלֶה מִשָּׁם לָאוּלָם בִּשְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה מַעֲלוֹת. רוּם כָּל מַעְלָה חֲצִי אַמָּה וְשִׁלְחָהּ חֲצִי אַמָּה וְהָאוּלָם וְהַהֵיכָל כֻּלּוֹ בְּשָׁוֶה:

5

Thus, the ground [on which] the Temple building [was located] was 22 cubits higher than the ground [on which] the Eastern Gate [was located].18

The Eastern Gate was twenty cubits high.19 Accordingly, a person standing opposite the Eastern Gate could not see the Temple building.20 For this reason, the wall above this gate was low.21 Thus, the priest [who offered the Parah Adumah] could see the opening of the Temple when he sprinkled its blood,22 while standing on the Mount of Olives.23

ה

נִמְצָא גֹּבַהּ קַרְקַע הַהֵיכָל עַל קַרְקַע שַׁעַר הַמִּזְרָח שֶׁל הַר הַבַּיִת שְׁתַּיִם וְעֶשְׂרִים אַמּוֹת. וְגֹבַהּ שַׁעַר הַר הַבַּיִת עֶשְׂרִים אַמָּה. לְפִיכָךְ הָעוֹמֵד כְּנֶגֶד שַׁעַר הַמִּזְרָח אֵינוֹ רוֹאֶה פֶּתַח הַהֵיכָל. וּמִפְּנֵי זֶה עָשׂוּ כֹּתֶל שֶׁעַל גַּבֵּי שַׁעַר זֶה נָמוּךְ. כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּהֵא כֹּהֵן הָעוֹמֵד בְּהַר הַמִּשְׁחָה רוֹאֶה פֶּתַח הַהֵיכָל בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁמַּזֶּה מִדַּם הַפָּרָה נֹכַח הַהֵיכָל:

6

There were chambers under the Courtyard of the Israelites opening up to the Women's Courtyard.24 There, the Levites stored their harps, lyres,25 cymbals, and other musical instruments.26

The Levites stood on the platform which ascends from the Courtyard of the Israelites to the Courtyard of the Priests, when they chanted songs over the sacrifices.27

ו

וּלְשָׁכוֹת הָיוּ שָׁם תַּחַת עֶזְרַת יִשְׂרָאֵל פְּתוּחוֹת לְעֶזְרַת הַנָּשִׁים. שֶׁשָּׁם הַלְוִיִּם נוֹתְנִין הַכִּנּוֹרוֹת וְהַנְּבָלִים וְהַמְּצִלְתַּיִם וְכָל כְּלֵי הַשִּׁיר. וְעַל הַדּוּכָן הָעוֹלֶה מֵעֶזְרַת יִשְׂרָאֵל לְעֶזְרַת הַכֹּהֲנִים הָיוּ הַלְוִיִּם עוֹמְדִים בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁאוֹמְרִים שִׁירָה עַל הַקָּרְבָּן:

7

[Regarding] the chambers that were built on consecrated ground, but which opened up to an area that was not consecrated:28 If [their roofs] were on the same level as the earth of the Courtyard, their inner space is not consecrated,29 but their roofs are consecrated.30

If they are not on the same level [as the Courtyard], their roofs are also not consecrated, for the roofs and the upper floors [of the structures in the Temple Courtyard] were not consecrated.31

Therefore, sacrifices of the highest degree of sanctity32 may not be eaten on these roofs,33 nor may sacrifices of a lesser degree of sanctity34 be slaughtered there.35

ז

הַלְּשָׁכוֹת הַבְּנוּיוֹת בַּקֹּדֶשׁ וּפְתוּחוֹת לַחל אִם הָיוּ גַּגּוֹתֵיהֶן שָׁוִין עִם קַרְקַע הָעֲזָרָה תּוֹכָן חֹל וְגַגּוֹתֵיהֶן קֹדֶשׁ וְאִם אֵינָן שָׁוִין אַף גַּגּוֹתֵיהֶן חֹל שֶׁהַגַּגּוֹת וְהָעֲלִיּוֹת לֹא נִתְקַדְּשׁוּ. לְפִיכָךְ גַּגִּים אֵלּוּ אֵין אוֹכְלִין שָׁם קָדְשֵׁי קָדָשִׁים וְלֹא שׁוֹחֲטִין קָדָשִׁים קַלִּים:

8

[Regarding the chambers] which were built on unconsecrated ground, but were open to consecrated ground:36 Their inner space was considered consecrated when eating sacrifices of the most holy order.37 However, the sacrifices of a lesser degree of sanctity were not slaughtered there. [Similarly,] a person who enters while ritually impure is not required [to bring a sin offering].38

The roofs [of these chambers] are considered as unconsecrated ground in all respects.39

ח

הָיוּ בְּנוּיוֹת לַחל וּפְתוּחוֹת לַקֹּדֶשׁ תּוֹכָן קֹדֶשׁ לַאֲכִילַת קָדְשֵׁי קָדָשִׁים אֲבָל אֵין שׁוֹחֲטִין שָׁם קָדָשִׁים קַלִּים וְהַנִּכְנָס לְשָׁם בְּטֻמְאָה פָּטוּר. וְגַגּוֹתֵיהֶן חֹל לְכָל דָּבָר:

9

The underground passageways which open to the Temple Courtyard40 are consecrated.41 Those that open to the Temple Mount [outside the Courtyard] are not consecrated.42

The windows43 and the width44 of the wall are considered within [the Courtyard] in regard to partaking of the sacrifices of the most holy order and [entering while] ritually impure.45

ט

הַמְּחִלּוֹת הַפְּתוּחוֹת לָעֲזָרָה קֹדֶשׁ וְהַפְּתוּחוֹת לְהַר הַבַּיִת חֹל. הַחַלּוֹנוֹת וָעֳבִי הַחוֹמָה כִּלְפָנִים בֵּין לַאֲכִילַת קָדְשֵׁי קָדָשִׁים בֵּין לְטֻמְאָה:

10

If the Sanhedrin46 desires to add to [the city limits of] Jerusalem47 or the Temple Courtyard,48 they may.49 They may extend the Temple Courtyard to any place they desire on the Temple Mount.50 [Similarly, they may] extend the walls of Jerusalem to any place they desire.51

י

בֵּית דִּין שֶׁרָצוּ לְהוֹסִיף עַל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם אוֹ לְהוֹסִיף עַל הָעֲזָרָה מוֹסִיפִין. וְיֵשׁ לָהֶם לִמְשֹׁךְ הָעֲזָרָה עַד הַמָּקוֹם שֶׁיִּרְצוּ מֵהַר הַבַּיִת וְלִמְשֹׁךְ חוֹמַת יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עַד מָקוֹם שֶׁיִּרְצוּ:

11

We may not expand [the limits] of the city [of Jerusalem] or of the Temple Courtyard52 unless receiving the consent of the king, a prophet,53 the Urim V'Tumim,54 and the Sanhedrin of 71 judges,55 as [Exodus 25:9] states: "According to all that I show you, [the design of the Sanctuary]...so shall you make it." [The latter phrase was interpreted by our sages to mean that the same conditions should apply in] future generations.

[The presence of a king is required] because Moses, our teacher, was a king.56

יא

אֵין מוֹסִיפִין עַל הָעִיר אוֹ עַל הָעֲזָרוֹת אֶלָּא עַל פִּי הַמֶּלֶךְ וְעַל פִּי נָבִיא וּבְאוּרִים וְתֻמִּים וְעַל פִּי סַנְהֶדְרִין שֶׁל שִׁבְעִים וְאֶחָד זְקֵנִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כה ט) "כְּכל אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי מַרְאֶה אוֹתְךָ" וְכֵן תַּעֲשׂוּ לְדוֹרוֹת. וּמשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ מֶלֶךְ הָיָה:

12

How do we extend [the limits of] the city?57 The Sanhedrin must offer two thanksgiving offerings.58 [Then, two priests]59 take the leavened breads from these offerings [and proceed]. The Sanhedrin would follow the thanksgiving offerings.60 The thanksgiving offerings [would not proceed together, but] one would follow the other.61

They would stand on each and every corner and every single stone in Jerusalem, [playing] harps, lyres, and cymbals, and reciting [Psalms 30]: "I exalt you, Lord, for You have uplifted me...."62

[They would proceed] until reaching the end of the place [which they desired to] consecrate. There, they would stand and eat one of the two thanksgiving offerings. The other was burnt. A prophet would determine which was eaten and which was burnt.63

יב

וְכֵיצַד מוֹסִיפִין עַל הָעִיר. עוֹשִׂין בֵּית דִּין שְׁתֵּי תּוֹדוֹת וְלוֹקְחִין לֶחֶם חָמֵץ שֶׁבָּהֶם וְהוֹלְכִים בֵּית דִּין אַחַר שְׁתֵּי הַתּוֹדוֹת וּשְׁתֵּי הַתּוֹדוֹת זוֹ אַחַר זוֹ וְעוֹמְדִין בְּכִנּוֹרוֹת וּבִנְבָלִים וּבְצִלְצָל עַל כָּל פִּנָּה וּפִנָּה וְעַל כָּל אֶבֶן (וְאֶבֶן) שֶׁבִּירוּשָׁלַיִם וְאוֹמֵר (תהילים ל ב) "אֲרוֹמִמְךָ ה' כִּי דִלִּיתָנִי" וְגוֹ'. עַד שֶׁמַּגִּיעִין לְסוֹף הַמָּקוֹם שֶׁמְּקַדְּשִׁין אוֹתוֹ וְעוֹמְדִין שָׁם. וְאוֹכְלִים שָׁם לֶחֶם תּוֹדָה אַחַת מִשְּׁתֵי הַתּוֹדוֹת וְהַשְּׁנִיָּה נִשְׂרֶפֶת. וְעַל פִּי הַנָּבִיא שׂוֹרְפִין אֶת זוֹ וְאוֹכְלִין אֶת זוֹ:

13

Similarly, [if the Sages desire] to extend the [limits of the] courtyard,64 they must consecrate it with the remaining portion of the meal offering. Just as the thanksgiving offering, which must be eaten inside Jerusalem consecrates it, so, too, the remaining portion of the meal offering, which may only be eaten inside the Temple Courtyard,65 consecrates it. It is to be eaten at the end of the space which they desire to consecrate.66

יג

וְכֵן אִם הוֹסִיפוּ עַל הָעֲזָרָה מְקַדְּשִׁין אוֹתָהּ בִּשְׁיָרֵי הַמִּנְחָה. מַה יְּרוּשָׁלַיִם הַתּוֹדָה שֶׁנֶּאֱכֶלֶת בָּהּ מְקַדַּשְׁתָּהּ אַף הָעֲזָרָה שְׁיָרֵי הַמְּנָחוֹת שֶׁאֵין נֶאֱכָלִין אֶלָּא בָּהּ הֵן שֶׁמְּקַדְּשִׁין אוֹתָהּ בָּהֶן. וְאוֹכְלִין אוֹתָן בְּסוֹף הַמָּקוֹם שֶׁקִּדְּשׁוּ:

14

Any place which was not [consecrated] with all the above [elements] and according to the above procedure is not thoroughly consecrated.67 Though Ezra offered two thanksgiving offerings68 [to dedicate the city,] he merely carried out a testimonial act. The Sanctuary was not consecrated through his deeds, for neither a King nor the Urim V'Tumim69 were present there.70

[If so,] how was [the Second Temple] consecrated?71 With the first consecration performed by Solomon, for he consecrated the Temple Courtyard and Jerusalem for that time and for eternity.72

יד

כָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁלֹּא נַעֲשָׂה בְּכָל אֵלּוּ וְכַסֵּדֶר הַזֶּה אֵין קָדוֹשׁ גָּמוּר. וְזֶה שֶׁעָשָׂה עֶזְרָא שְׁתֵּי תּוֹדוֹת זִכָּרוֹן הוּא שֶׁעָשָׂה לֹא בְּמַעֲשָׂיו נִתְקַדֵּשׁ הַמָּקוֹם שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה שָׁם לֹא מֶלֶךְ וְלֹא אוּרִים וְתֻמִּים. וּבְמַה נִּתְקַדְּשָׁה בִּקְדֻשָּׁה רִאשׁוֹנָה שֶׁקִּדְּשָׁהּ שְׁלֹמֹה שֶׁהוּא קִדֵּשׁ הָעֲזָרָה וִירוּשָׁלַיִם לִשְׁעָתָן וְקִדְּשָׁן לֶעָתִיד לָבוֹא:

15

Therefore, we may offer all the sacrifices [on the Temple site], even though the Temple itself is not built.73 Similarly, sacrifices of the most holy order can be eaten in the entire [area of the] Courtyard, even though it is in ruin and not surrounded by a divider.74

We may also eat sacrifices of lesser sanctity and Ma'aser Sheni75 throughout Jerusalem,76 even though [it is not surrounded by] a wall, for through its original consecration, it was consecrated for that time and for eternity.

טו

לְפִיכָךְ מַקְרִיבִין הַקָּרְבָּנוֹת כֻּלָּן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין שָׁם בַּיִת בָּנוּי. וְאוֹכְלִין קָדְשֵׁי קָדָשִׁים בְּכָל הָעֲזָרָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא חֲרֵבָה וְאֵינָהּ מֻקֶּפֶת בִּמְחִצָּה וְאוֹכְלִין קָדָשִׁים קַלִּים וּמַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי בְּכָל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין שָׁם חוֹמוֹת שֶׁהַקְּדֻשָּׁה רִאשׁוֹנָה קָדְשָׁה לִשְׁעָתָהּ וְקָדְשָׁה לֶעָתִיד לָבוֹא:

16

77 Why do I say that the original consecration sanctified the Temple and Jerusalem for eternity,78 while in regard to the consecration of the remainder of Eretz Yisrael, in the context of the Sabbatical year, tithes, and other similar [agricultural] laws, [the original consecration] did not sanctify it for eternity?79

Because the sanctity of the Temple and Jerusalem stems from the Shechinah, and the Shechinah can never be nullified.80 Therefore, [Leviticus 26:31] states: "I will lay waste to your Sanctuaries." The Sages declared:81 "Even though they have been devastated, their sanctity remains."82

In contrast, the [original] obligation to keep the laws of the Sabbatical year and tithes on the Land stemmed from the fact that it was conquered by the [Jewish people, as a] community.83 Therefore, when the land was taken from their hands [by the Babylonians,] their [original] conquest was nullified. Thus, according to Torah law, the land was freed from the obligations of the Sabbatical year and of tithes because it was no longer Eretz Yisrael.84

When Ezra returned [to Eretz Yisrael] and consecrated it, it was not sanctified by means of through conquest, but rather through Chazzakah.85 Therefore, every place which was repossessed by the [exiles returning from] Babylon and consecrated when Ezra consecrated [the land] the second time, is sacred today.

Thus, as explained in Hilchot Terumah, it is necessary to keep the laws of the Sabbatical years and the tithes [on this land] even though it was taken from [the Jewish people in later years].86

טז

וְלָמָּה אֲנִי אוֹמֵר בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ וִירוּשָׁלַיִם קְדֻשָּׁה רִאשׁוֹנָה קָדְשָׁה לֶעָתִיד לָבוֹא. וּבִקְדֻשַּׁת שְׁאָר אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל לְעִנְיַן שְׁבִיעִית וּמַעַשְׂרוֹת וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן לֹא קָדְשָׁה לֶעָתִיד לָבוֹא. לְפִי שֶׁקְּדֻשַּׁת הַמִּקְדָּשׁ וִירוּשָׁלַיִם מִפְּנֵי הַשְּׁכִינָה וּשְׁכִינָה אֵינָהּ בְּטֵלָה. וַהֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר (ויקרא כו לא) "וַהֲשִׁמּוֹתִי אֶת מִקְדְּשֵׁיכֶם" וְאָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁשּׁוֹמְמִין בִּקְדֻשָּׁתָן הֵן עוֹמְדִים אֲבָל חִיּוּב הָאָרֶץ בִּשְׁבִיעִית וּבְמַעַשְׂרוֹת אֵינוֹ אֶלָּא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא כִּבּוּשׁ רַבִּים וְכֵיוָן שֶׁנִּלְקְחָה הָאָרֶץ מִידֵיהֶם בָּטַל הַכִּבּוּשׁ וְנִפְטְרָה מִן הַתּוֹרָה מִמַּעַשְׂרוֹת וּמִשְּׁבִיעִית שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינָהּ מִן אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל. וְכֵיוָן שֶׁעָלָה עֶזְרָא וְקִדְּשָׁהּ לֹא קִדְּשָׁהּ בְּכִבּוּשׁ אֶלָּא בַּחֲזָקָה שֶׁהֶחְזִיקוּ בָּהּ וּלְפִיכָךְ כָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁהֶחְזִיקוּ בָּהּ עוֹלֵי בָּבֶל וְנִתְקַדֵּשׁ בִּקְדֻשַּׁת עֶזְרָא הַשְּׁנִיָּה הוּא מְקֻדָּשׁ הַיּוֹם וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּלְקַח הָאָרֶץ מִמֶּנּוּ וְחַיָּב בִּשְׁבִיעִית וּבְמַעַשְׂרוֹת עַל הַדֶּרֶךְ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת תְּרוּמָה:

Footnotes
1.

This concept is explained in this and the following four halachot. Note the accompanying diagram.

There is a homiletic aspect to the placement of the Temple on the incline of a mountain. A Jew must realize that his advance in holy matters resembles the climbing of a mountain.

When ascending a mountain it is difficult to remain in one position. One must either climb further upward or descend. Similarly, a Jew must always strive to advance in his spiritual service. Otherwise, he is likely to fall to a lower level.

2.

As explained in the commentary to Chapter 5, Halachah 6, a distance of approximately 213 cubits separated between the exterior wall surrounding the Temple Mount and the Eastern Wall of the Temple Courtyard. The Women's Courtyard was 135 cubits long. A thick wall surrounded it, leaving approximately 68 cubits between that wall and the exterior wall.

According to the Rambam's diagrams, see Chapter 5, Halachah 6, the ratio of space between the chayl and the exterior wall, and the space between the chayl and the Women's Courtyard, was approximately 3:1. Thus, the distance mentioned here was approximately 51 cubits.

3.

Thus, he ascended six cubits when climbing these steps.

This was the size of all the steps in the Temple complex, except for the step dividing the Courtyard of the Israelites from the Priestly Courtyard.

4.

135 cubits.

5.

The steps leading to the Temple Courtyard did not take up the entire width of the Courtyard, and the area on both sides was on the same level as the remainder of the Courtyard.

6.

Seven and a half cubits.

7.

Middot 2:5 relates that the steps were semicircular in shape. In the Simchat Beit HaShoevah celebrations, during the holiday of Sukkot, the Levites stood on these steps, sang, and played music.

8.

A distance of eleven cubits.

9.

This step departed from the standard height of half a cubit. It served as a clear line of demarcation between the two regions.

10.

On which the Levites would stand and chant while sacrifices were being offered, as described in Halachah 6.

11.

Thus, the height of the platform was 3 x 1/2, for a total height of one and a half cubits.

12.

The Priestly Courtyard was eleven cubits long. However, one and a half cubits were taken up by the Levites' platform.

13.

32 cubits in length. See Chapter 5, Halachah 12.

14.

22 cubits in length,

15.

See the commentary to Chapter 4, Halachah 9.

16.

The Kessef Mishneh questions this statement. It appears to contradict two explicit statements of the Mishnah. Middot 2:3 states: "All the steps there [in the Temple complex] were half a cubit high and half a cubit wide, except for the steps of the Entrance Hall."

Similarly, Middot 2:6 states: "Twelve steps [led to the Entrance Hall]. They were half a cubit high and a cubit wide."

However, Yoma 16a quotes the latter mishnah, using the same text as the Rambam uses in this halachah.

17.

The commentaries explain that the differing heights of the various sections of the Temple Mount reflected their levels of holiness. Each level which was more sacred was actually physically higher than the preceding level. Since, as stated in the commentary to Chapter 1, Halachah 5, the Entrance Hall and the two inner chambers of the Sanctuary were considered one integral unit, there was no difference in altitude between them.

18.

The 22 cubits can be broken down as follows:

The steps leading to the Woman's Courtyard, 6 cubits

The steps leading to the Temple Courtyard, 7.5 cubits

The steps leading to the Priestly Courtyard, 2.5 cubits

The steps leading to the Entrance Hall, 6 cubits

19.

The standard height of the gates in the Temple complex.

20.

Five gates were placed in a straight line:

the Eastern Gate,

the gate to the chayl,

the gate to the Women's Courtyard,

the gate of Nicanor, and

the gate of the Entrance Hall.

Thus, had the Temple been built on flat ground, one would have been able to see through all the gates at once. However, because the person would be looking through the gates on an upward incline, he would only be able to see the steps leading to the Entrance Hall.

21.

All the other walls to the Temple Mount were very high. However, the eastern wall was only six cubits higher than the gate (Tifferet Yisrael, Middot 2:4).

22.

The Parah Adumah [Red Heifer] was necessary to purify those who had come in contact with a human corpse. Regarding its slaughter, Numbers 19:3-4 commands: "He shall take it outside the camp and ... take from the blood of the heifer and sprinkle it opposite the front of the Tent of Meeting." Similarly, in later generations, the Parah Adumah had to be sacrificed outside the Temple premises, but in view of the Sanctuary. Therefore, it was slaughtered on the Mount of Olives.

23.

The Mount of Olives is situated directly behind the Temple Mount, with the Kidron Valley in between. The priest stood on the Mount of Olives looking toward the Temple.

24.

As mentioned above, the mountain rose seven and a half cubits at this point. Thus, there was ample room to create storage chambers in the wall.

25.

The Sages explain that a harp and a lyre were similar in appearance, but the lyre had more strings.

26.

The Levites chanted Psalms while the daily communal sacrifices were offered and accompanied these songs with music. Also, on special occasions like the Simchat Beit HaShoevah celebrations, they played music for the people. See Hilchot K'lei HaMikdash 3:2.

27.

The Har HaMoriah noted that in a number of places the Talmud states that this platform was used by the Levites in the manner described above (e.g., Yoma 20a and 53a, Arichin 13b). Nevertheless, the platform was also used for other purposes. Chagigah 16a and Rosh Hashanah 31b relate that the priests stood on this platform when they blessed the people. Indeed, the Hebrew name for the platform, Duchan, has become synonymous with the priestly blessing. (It must be noted that in Hilchot Nesiat Kapaim 14:14, the Rambam writes that the priests would stand on the steps before the Entrance Hall when they blessed the people.)

28.

In this and the following two Halachot, the Rambam defines which structures of the Temple Courtyard share the sanctity of the area. This determination is significant in regard to three matters:

a) Sacrifices of the highest holy order of sanctity must be eaten within the Temple Courtyard.

b) Sacrifices of lesser degree of sanctity must be slaughtered within the Temple Courtyard.

c) Entry to the Temple Courtyard is forbidden when ritually impure.

See the Rambam's Commentary to Ma'aser Sheni 3:8.

29.

And does not share the sanctity of the Courtyard.

30.

And shares that level of holiness.

31.

Pesachim 86a explains that an exception to the latter principle was made regarding the upper storey of the Temple building itself.

I Chronicles 28:11 states: "Then David gave Solomon his son the design of the Entrance Hall, its houses, its treasure stores, its upper storeys, its inner chambers, and the place for the ark," implying that the upper storey shared the same level of holiness as the remainder of the Temple building.

32.

Sin offerings, guilt offerings, and communal peace offerings.

33.

Leviticus 6:6 requires the guilt offering to be eaten "in a sacred place," i.e. within the Temple courtyard. The same ruling applies to the other sacrifices of similar status.

34.

13for example, individual peace offerings, thanksgiving offerings, or the Passover sacrifice.

35.

Leviticus 3:8 states that individual peace offerings must be slaughtered "before the tent of meeting." In the Temple, that phrase refers to the Temple Courtyard. The same ruling applies to other sacrifices of similar status (Zevachim 55a).

36.

Among the chambers included in this category were those on the southern side of the Chamber of the Hearth. Though the latter was positioned outside the Temple Courtyard, these chambers were open to it. See Chapter 5, Halachah 10.

37.

Zevachim 56a explains that these chambers are by nature unconsecrated. However, the Torah made an exception in regard to the consumption of these sacrifices.

38.

Though there is no Scriptural prohibition against entering these chambers while ritually impure, the Sages forbade such an act.

39.

There is not even a Rabbinic prohibition against one who is ritually impure ascending to them.

40.

As mentioned above, many underground passageways were constructed on the Temple Mount.

41.

And all the laws applying to the Courtyard apply to them.

42.

Therefore, a ritually impure individual may enter them, as described in Chapter 5, Halachah 11.

43.

I.e., the apertures in the wall.

44.

I.e., the upper surface.

45.

The Ra'avad and the Kessef Mishneh question these statements. Pesachim 86a states that the wall's upper surface is only considered an extension of the Courtyard when it is on the same level as the Courtyard (as the roofs of the chambers mentioned in Halachah 7.) If the wall is higher than the Courtyard, it is not considered consecrated.

The following explanation may be offered for the decision rendered by the Rambam: Rashi (Pesachim, loc. cit.) relates that the chayl was the major wall around the inner Temple complex and the wall of the Courtyard itself was not high. Since the Temple was built on an incline, it was possible that the latter wall would be on the same level as the floor of the Courtyard, even though the Courtyard wall was raised above the ground in front of it.

However, the Rambam himself definitely cannot accept such an interpretation. He already stated (Chapter 5, Halachah3) that the chayl was only 10 cubits high. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that it would be the major wall surrounding the inner Temple complex. That likelihood is further reduced by the fact that the chayl was set off from the Temple Courtyard by a considerable distance, especially on the northern and southern sides. See also Tosefot Yom Tov, Middot 2:3.

The above three halachot also apply to the city of Jerusalem as a whole. As stated above, the sacrifices of the most holy order could only be eaten within the Temple Courtyard. Similarly, a limitation was placed on where the sacrifices of lesser sanctity could be eaten. One could only partake of those offerings within the confines of the city of Jerusalem, and the definition of the city's limits were therefore of consequence. The particular decisions regarding the Courtyard's chambers, underground passageways, and upper surfaces of the wall, refer to the counterparts of these structures at the city's outer wall.

46.

This decision can only be made by the Supreme Sanhedrin, the court of 71 judges who were seated in the Chamber of Hewn Stone.

47.

And thus, extend the area in which sacrifices of lesser sanctity may be eaten.

48.

And thus, extend the area to which the three mitzvot mentioned in the notes to Halachah 7 apply.

49.

Tosafot (Zevachim 33a) explains that since the design for the Temple was conveyed by Ruach HaKodesh, Divine inspiration, even the Sanhedrin could not add to the limits of the Courtyard unless they could find a verse in the Tanach to support their decision.

The passage cited in Zevachim and similarly, Sukkot 51b, reinforce the position of the Tosafot. However, the Yeriot Shlomo and other commentaries question whether the Rambam accepts that principle

50.

The Or Sameiach cites allusions from the Tanach which appear to limit the size of the Courtyard to the Temple Mount. Isaiah 2:3, Zechariah 8:3, and other prophets frequently referred to "the mountain of God," implying that the Temple could only be situated on that peak.

51.

Here, no restrictions are placed. Indeed, the Midrash relates that in the Messianic age, Jerusalem will encompass all of Eretz Yisrael, extending until Damascus.

52.

As the Rambam explains, the construction of the Temple and the establishment of its limits must conform to the pattern followed in the construction of the Shechinah's first resting place, the Sanctuary in the desert. See Sh'vuot 14a,b. Therefore, the expansion cannot take place unless the conditions mentioned by the Rambam are met.

53.

Moses was the master of all prophets.

54.

The stones of the breastplate of the High Priest. They served as oracles, and were consulted on all matters of national importance. See the commentary to Chapter 4, Halachah 1.

Tosafot (Sh'vuot 15a) questions the necessity for the Urim V'Tumim to be used in the establishment of the Courtyard's limits. Aharon, the High Priest, did not don the Urim V'Tumim until after the Sanctuary was constructed and its limits established. Since these requirements were set on the basis of the pattern followed when dedicating the Sanctuary, the Urim V'Tumim should not be required for dedicating future Sanctuaries.

Among the answers given to that question are that until Aharon's installation as High Priest, Moses served in that capacity and wore al the priestly garments (Ritbah).

55.

Some authorities maintain that the Sanhedrin was established before the Sanctuary was built. Other opinions maintain that the Sanhedrin was only established later. Nevertheless, Moses' participation is considered equivalent to that of the Sanhedrin.

56.

The commentaries explain that Deuteronomy 33:5: "And he was a king in Yeshurun," refers to Moses.

57.

13The entire procession described by the Rambam is described in detail in Sh'vuot 15a-16a.

The source for these practices is the description of the dedication of Jerusalem in Nechemiah 12:27-44. There, it is related that:

At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, they sought Levites...to bring them to Jerusalem to carry out the dedication with joy and thanksgiving, with songs, with cymbals, with harps, and with lyres....Then, I asked the princes of Judah to ascend the wall, and I brought up the greater portion of two thanksgiving offerings....They ascended to the wall by the stairs of the city of David....They offered great sacrifices that day, for God had made them rejoice with great joy....and the joy of Jerusalem was heard from far away.

58.

A thanksgiving offering includes three elements: the leavened breads, an animal which is sacrificed and loaves of unleavened bread.

Sh'vuot, loc. cit., explains that the leavened breads were chosen because Nechemiah's description of Jerusalem's dedication relates that he "brought up the greater portion of two thanksgiving offerings." That phrase alludes to the leavened breads of the thanksgiving offerings which rose, and thus, were more substantial than the unleavened breads.

59.

The bracketed addition was made on the basis of Rashi's commentary, Sh'vuot 16b.

60.

Sh'vuot, loc. cit. relates that the leaders of the people, the Sanhedrin, followed the thanksgiving offerings when Ezra and Nechemiah dedicated the city of Jerusalem.

This halachah is taken from the Mishnah, Sh'vuot 2:2. Many versions of that mishnah, including the one quoted in the Talmud, add the phrase: "And all of Israel followed after them." However, the Rambam's version of the text omits that phrase. Hence, it is also not included in this halachah.

61.

Similarly, in Nechemiah's narrative, the two offerings were separated.

62.

Psalm 30 is called "the song of the dedication of the House." Hence, it is appropriate for this occasion.

Sh'vuot, loc. cit., also relates that other Psalms, including 3, 91, and 100, were recited.

63.

This procedure was carried out at Nechemiah's dedication of Jerusalem. The prophets Chaggai, Zechariah, and Malachi participated in that dedication, and advised Nechemiah of the procedure to follow.

64.

There is no record of this practice ever being carried out. Rather, the Temple Courtyard remained the same size from the time it was dedicated by Ezra.

65.

Leviticus 2:1-3 states: "When a man offers a meal offering to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour....the priest shall burn the memorial part of it on the Altar....and the remnant of the meal offering shall be Aharon's and his sons. It is of the sacrifices of the highest order of holiness." Hence it must be eaten in the Temple Courtyard.

66.

Ri Migash, the Rambam's teacher, commenting on Sh'vuot, loc. cit., emphasizes that eating the offerings are not merely signs that the consecration of the city or the Courtyard had been carried out, but rather, the consecration becomes effective by eating of these offerings. The Rambam's statements here appear to be based on that principle.

67.

The expression used "not thoroughly consecrated" is somewhat problematic. The Maharit explains that this expression can be understood within the context of the Mishnah's statements (Sh'vuot, loc. cit.): "[In regard to] any place [in the Temple Courtyard] which was not consecrated with all of these [i.e., a king, a prophet, etc.], one who enters [while ritually impure] is not liable [for a sin offering]."

Generally, throughout the Talmud, such an expression implies that though a sin offering is not required, the act is forbidden. Similarly, in this context, a consecration which lacks all the elements listed previously in the Mishnah is not totally effective. Therefore, entering the portion of the Courtyard consecrated in this manner does not obligate an impure individual to bring a sacrifice. Nevertheless, there is a Rabbinic prohibition against entering that area.

68.

As described in the passage from Nechemiah quoted above

69.

See Chapter 4, Halachah 1.

70.

Although the dedication procedure carried out by Ezra and Nechemiah was merely a testimonial act, having no Halachic significance, we are forced to say that the testimonial was carried out in precise detail as if the city was actually being consecrated. Therefore, the description of their procedure can demonstrate the process necessary to actually dedicate the city.

71.

Since all sacrifices were offered there, we must conclude that it was indeed consecrated.

72.

13This concept is the subject of a debate in the Talmud (Sh'vuot 16a, Makkot 19a, Megillah 10a) and is discussed by the Rambam in the following two halachot.

73.

See the commentary to Chapter 2, Halachah 4 which explains that the exiles who returned from Babylon built an Altar before they completed the construction of the Second Temple. The prophets assured them that "all sacrifices could be offered on that Altar, even though the Temple itself was not [built] there [yet.]" The construction of the Temple took another twenty two years to complete.

Even in later generations, our spiritual leaders have desired to offer sacrifices on the Temple Mount. In the Middle Ages, the Sage, Rabbi Chayim (according to other sources, Rabbi Yechiel) of Paris made Aliyah and settled in Jerusalem. He was prepared to offer sacrifices on the Temple site and refrained from doing so only after his colleagues explained that sacrifices could not be offered because they were unaware of the proper location, size, and dimensions of the Altar.

74.

Twenty two years passed between the time that the exiles return to Jerusalem and the completion of the Second Temple. During that time, all the sacrifices were offered and eaten even though the walls of the Temple and the Courtyard were not built.

75.

The second tithe. After the first tithe was separated, a second tithe also had to be set aside. In four years out of the seven year agricultural cycle, Ma'aser Sheni was brought to Jerusalem and eaten there. See Deuteronomy:22-26, Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni.

76.

This statement is extremely problematic. In Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni 2:1, the Rambam himself writes that "Ma'aser Sheni is only eaten in Jerusalem while the Temple is standing." Though some authorities have explained that the statement in Hilchot Beit HaBechirah refers to the time when the Altar is standing, there is no indication in the Rambam's words to that effect. Furthermore, there are other inconsistencies between the Rambam's statements here and in Hilchot Ma'aser Sheni.

Even according to the Rambam's statements here, we are now prohibited from eating Ma'aser Sheni in Jerusalem. We are all ritually impure, and Ma'aser Sheni must be eaten in a state of ritual purity.

77.

In the previous halachot, the Rambam stated that the sanctity of the Temple Mount and Jerusalem would remain for eternity, because of the initial consecration by David and Solomon. Thus, when Ezra rededicated Jerusalem, as described in the Book of Nechemiah, his act was merely testimonial in nature. There was no need to reconsecrate the Temple, because its original holiness had never been nullified.

This seemingly contradicts the Rambam's statements in Sefer Zeraim, the portion of the Mishneh Torah which deals with the agricultural laws to be observed in Eretz Yisrael. There, the Rambam states that the original consecration of Eretz Yisrael was nullified after the Babylonian conquest. When Ezra returned from Babylon, he reconsecrated the Land, causing the various agricultural laws to be in effect again, though only M'd'Rabbanen, according to Rabbinic decree.

The portion he consecrated was considerably smaller than the original boundaries of Eretz Yisrael. Nevertheless, his consecration remained in effect even after the Gentiles' subsequent conquests. Indeed, on the basis of that consecration, these agricultural laws must be observed in Eretz Yisrael today.

To resolve that contradiction, the Rambam explains that the "consecration" of Jerusalem and of the Temple differs from the "consecration" of Eretz Yisrael as a whole. Jerusalem and the Temple were consecrated by the revelation of the Shechinah in the Temple. That Divine act can never be nullified by man's deeds. In contrast, the consecration of Eretz Yisrael as a whole was brought about by the Jewish people. It can thus be nullified by the Gentiles.

78.

As stated above in Halachot 14 and 15.

79.

In Hilchot Terumah (1:5), the Rambam states:

Every [place] which those ascending from Egypt took possession of was consecrated in the initial consecration. When [the Jewish people] were exiled, that sanctity was nullified. The first consecration... sanctified the land for that time, but not for eternity.

80.

See the commentary to Chapter 4, Halachah 1.

81.

Megillah 28a.

82.

Support for this statement can be brought from God's response to King Solomon, II Chronicles 7:15: "For now, I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My Name be there for eternity, and My eyes and My heart will be there forever."

Similarly, Sh'vuot 16b states that the Temple was consecrated forever.

Nevertheless, that statement is not accepted by all Halachic authorities. Both Rashi and the Tosafot interpret the Talmud's statements in Sh'vuot in a manner which indicates that they do not accept its simple meaning.

Similarly, commenting on this and the above halachot, the Ra'avad writes:

This is [the Rambam's] opinion. I am not aware of his source... According to the opinion in the Talmud which states that it was not originally consecrated for eternity, no differentiation was made between the Temple, Jerusalem, and the remainder of Eretz Yisrael...

Even R. Yossi who maintains that the second consecration consecrated the land for eternity made that statement only in regard to the remainder of Eretz Yisrael and not in regard to the Temple and Jerusalem.

Ezra knew that ultimately [the status] of the Temple and Jerusalem would ultimately change and that they would be eternally consecrated by God's glory [in the Messianic age]. Hence, he did not consecrate it when consecrating the remainder of Eretz Yisrael.

The above was revealed to me, [as it is said:] "The secrets of God [are conveyed] to those who fear Him."

83.

In contrast, lands that were conquered by only a certain portion of the Jewish community, for example, Syria, were not bound by these laws.

84.

After the Babylonians conquered Eretz Yisrael and exiled the people, the sanctity of the land was nullified. There was no obligation to keep any of the agricultural laws that apply in Eretz Yisrael during the seventy years of the Babylonian exile.

85.

Chazzakah is a manifestation of ownership. It is accepted by Torah law as one of the certain formal acts of contract which acknowledge the transfer of property from one person to another.

86.

The Kessef Mishnah finds these statements difficult to accept because of the following questions:

a) On what basis is Chazzakah considered a more effective means of acquisition than conquest?

b) After the initial conquest of Eretz Yisrael, the Jewish people manifested their ownership over it and thus, effected a Chazzakah. If so, why is Ezra's Chazzakah, which was not preceded by conquest, more effective than the Chazzakah which followed the original conquest? Why should the conquest detract from the consecration of the land?

These questions can be explained as follows: The Jerusalem Talmud (Challah 5:1) interprets Genesis 15:18: "I have given this land to your seed 48 to mean that from Abraham's time onward Eretz Yisrael became the property of the Jewish people. Though the land was still possessed by the Canaanites, the Jews were already its legal owners. See Bava Batra 119b.

Despite this claim of ownership, the sanctity of Eretz Yisrael came about only after the Jewish people entered the land, after the redemption from Egypt. At that time, they were commanded to conquer the land and take it forcefully from the Gentiles (See Numbers 32:29, Deuteronomy 3:21, etc.) Since God made the consecration of the land dependent on its conquest by Israel, it follows that conquest by a Gentile nation can nullify that holiness.

In contrast, Ezra was not commanded to reconquer Eretz Yisrael, but to settle it. In this instance, God made the sanctity of the land dependent on the Jewish people manifesting their ownership over the land which had been given to them as an eternal inheritance. Since Eretz Yisrael remains our land, regardless of how many times it has been conquered by Gentiles, the sanctity effected by that manifestation of ownership is also eternal. See Likkutei Sichot, Vol. 15, 102-109.

Beit Habechirah - Chapter 7

1

There is a positive commandment to hold the Temple in awe,1 as [Leviticus 19:30] states: "And you shall revere my Sanctuary."2 Nevertheless, it is not the [physical building of] the Temple which must be held in awe, but rather, He who commanded that it be revered.3

א

מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לְיִרְאָה מִן הַמִּקְדָּשׁ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יט ל) (ויקרא כו ב) "וּמִקְדָּשִׁי תִּירָאוּ". וְלֹא מִן הַמִּקְדָּשׁ אַתָּה יָרֵא אֶלָּא מִמִּי שֶׁצִּוָּה עַל יִרְאָתוֹ:

2

How is reverence for it manifest? A person should not enter the Temple Mount holding a staff,4 or with sandals on his feet,5 or wearing only underwear,6 with dust on his feet, or with money wrapped in his kerchief.7

It is superfluous to say that it is forbidden to spit on the entire Temple Mount.8 If one must spit, he should let it be absorbed in his clothing.9

One should not take a shortcut through the Temple Mount, by entering from one gate, and leaving from the opposite one, in order to shorten the way.10 Rather, one should walk around from the outside, entering only for the purpose of a mitzvah.11

ב

וְאֵי זוֹ הִיא יִרְאָתוֹ לֹא יִכָּנֵס אָדָם לְהַר הַבַּיִת בְּמַקְלוֹ אוֹ בְּמִנְעָל שֶׁבְּרַגְלָיו אוֹ בַּאֲפֻנְדָּתוֹ אוֹ בָּאָבָק שֶׁעַל רַגְלָיו אוֹ בְּמָעוֹת הַצְּרוּרִין לוֹ בִּסְדִינוֹ וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר שֶׁאָסוּר לָרֹק בְּכָל הַר הַבַּיִת אֶלָּא אִם נִזְדַּמֵּן לוֹ רֹק מַבְלִיעוֹ בִּכְסוּתוֹ. וְלֹא יַעֲשֶׂה הַר הַבַּיִת דֶּרֶךְ שֶׁיִּכָּנֵס מִפֶּתַח זוֹ וְיֵצֵא מִפֶּתַח שֶׁכְּנֶגְדָהּ כְּדֵי לְקַצֵּר הַדֶּרֶךְ אֶלָּא יַקִּיפוֹ מִבַּחוּץ. וְלֹא יִכָּנֵס לוֹ אֶלָּא לִדְבַר מִצְוָה:

3

All who enter the Temple Mount12 should [face] the right side, walk around [in that direction],13 and leave on the left side.14 [This applies to everyone] except to one to whom [a grievous] event occurred. He would circle around towards the left side.15 Therefore, [those who met him] would ask him: "Why are you circling towards the left?"16

"Because I have become a mourner," [he would answer].

"May the One Who rests in this House comfort you," [they would reply].

[Or he might answer:] "Because I have been ostracized."17

[In which case, they would reply:] "May the One Who rests in this House bring about a change in your heart and thus, you will follow the words of your colleagues. Then, they will draw you near."18

ג

וְכָל הַנִּכְנָסִין לְהַר הַבַּיִת נִכְנָסִין דֶּרֶךְ יָמִין וּמַקִּיפִין וְיוֹצְאִין דֶּרֶךְ שְׂמֹאל חוּץ מִמִּי שֶׁאֵרְעוֹ דָּבָר שֶׁהוּא מַקִּיף עַל הַשְּׂמֹאל. לְפִיכָךְ הָיוּ שׁוֹאֲלִין לוֹ מַה לְּךָ מַקִּיף עַל הַשְּׂמֹאל. שֶׁאֲנִי אָבֵל. הַשּׁוֹכֵן בַּבַּיִת הַזֶּה יְנַחֶמְךָ. שֶׁאֲנִי מְנֻדֶּה. הַשּׁוֹכֵן בַּבַּיִת הַזֶּה יִתֵּן בִּלְבָבְךָ וְתִשְׁמַע לְדִבְרֵי חֲבֵרֶיךָ וִיקָרְבוּךָ:

4

Anyone who has completed his service [in the Temple and desires] to leave, should not [turn around and] leave with his back to the Temple. Rather, he should walk backwards slightly19 and [then], walk slowly, and [turn] to his side20 until leaving the Temple Courtyard.21

Similarly, the members of the priestly watch,22 the representatives of the Jewish people,23 and the Levites [when they descend] from their platform,24 should leave the Temple in this manner, similar to one who steps backwards after his prayers.25 All these [are expressions of] reverence for the Temple.

ד

כָּל שֶׁהִשְׁלִים עֲבוֹדָה וְנִסְתַּלֵּק לוֹ אֵינוֹ יוֹצֵא וַאֲחוֹרָיו לַהֵיכָל אֶלָּא מְהַלֵּךְ אֲחוֹרַנִּית מְעַט מְעַט וּמְהַלֵּךְ בְּנַחַת עַל צִדּוֹ עַד שֶׁיֵּצֵא מִן הָעֲזָרָה. וְכֵן אַנְשֵׁי מִשְׁמָר וְאַנְשֵׁי מַעֲמָד וּלְוִיִּם מִדּוּכָנָן כָּךְ הֵם יוֹצְאִין מִן הַמִּקְדָּשׁ כְּמִי שֶׁפּוֹסֵעַ אַחַר תְּפִלָּה לַאֲחוֹרָיו. כָּל זֶה לְיִרְאָה מִן הַמִּקְדָּשׁ:

5

A person should not act frivolously before the gate of Nicanor, the eastern gate of the Temple Courtyard,26 for it is positioned opposite the chamber of the Holy of Holies.

Everyone who enters the Temple Courtyard should walk in a dignified manner,27in the region where he is permitted to enter.28 He should conceive of himself as standing before God, as [I Kings 9:3] states: "My eyes and My heart will be there forever."

One should walk with awe, fear, and trembling,29 as [Psalms 55:15] states: "We would walk in the House of the Lord with fervor."30

ה

לֹא יָקֵל אָדָם אֶת רֹאשׁוֹ כְּנֶגֶד שַׁעַר מִזְרָחִי שֶׁל עֲזָרָה שֶׁהוּא שַׁעַר נִיקָנוֹר. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא מְכֻוָּן כְּנֶגֶד בֵּית קֹדֶשׁ הַקָּדָשִׁים. וְכָל הַנִּכְנָס לָעֲזָרָה יְהַלֵּךְ בְּנַחַת בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁמֻּתָּר לוֹ לְהִכָּנֵס לְשָׁם. וְיִרְאֶה עַצְמוֹ שֶׁהוּא עוֹמֵד לִפְנֵי ה' כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים א ט ג) (דברי הימים ב ז טז) "וְהָיוּ עֵינַי וְלִבִּי שָׁם כָּל הַיָּמִים". וּמְהַלֵּךְ בְּאֵימָה וּבְיִרְאָה וּרְעָדָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהילים נה טו) "בְּבֵית אֱלֹהִים נְהַלֵּךְ בְּרָגֶשׁ":

6

It is forbidden for anyone to sit in the Temple Courtyard,31 [for] sitting in the Temple Courtyard is prohibited32 except for the Kings of the House of David, as [II Samuel 7:18] states: "And King David entered and sat before the Lord."33

The Sanhedrin34 met in the half of the Chamber of Hewn Stone which was not consecrated.35

ו

וְאָסוּר לְכָל אָדָם לֵישֵׁב בְּכָל הָעֲזָרָה וְאֵין יְשִׁיבָה בָּעֲזָרָה אֶלָּא לְמַלְכֵי בֵּית דָּוִד בִּלְבַד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמואל ב ז יח) (דברי הימים א יז טז) "וַיָּבֹא הַמֶּלֶךְ דָּוִד וַיֵּשֶׁב לִפְנֵי ה'". וְהַסַּנְהֶדְרִין שֶׁהָיוּ יוֹשְׁבִין בְּלִשְׁכַּת הַגָּזִית לֹא הָיוּ יוֹשְׁבִין אֶלָּא בְּחֶצְיָהּ שֶׁל חל:

7

Even though, the Temple is now in ruin because of our sins,36 a person must hold its [site] in awe, as one would regard it when it was standing.

[Therefore,] one should only enter a region which he is permitted to enter. He should not sit in [the area of] the Temple Courtyard, nor should he act frivolously when standing before [the place of] the eastern gate, as [implied by Leviticus 19:30]: "You shall observe My Sabbaths and you shall revere My Sanctuary." [Explaining the analogy between the two commands, the Sages comment:]37 "Just as the observance of the Sabbath [applies] for eternity, so too, the reverence for the Temple must be eternal. Even though it is in ruin, it remains holy."

ז

אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַמִּקְדָּשׁ הַיּוֹם חָרֵב בַּעֲוֹנוֹתֵינוּ חַיָּב אָדָם בְּמוֹרָאוֹ כְּמוֹ שֶׁהָיָה נוֹהֵג בּוֹ בְּבִנְיָנוֹ. לֹא יִכָּנֵס אֶלָּא לְמָקוֹם שֶׁמֻּתָּר לְהִכָּנֵס לְשָׁם וְלֹא יֵשֵׁב בָּעֲזָרָה וְלֹא יָקֵל רֹאשׁוֹ כְּנֶגֶד שַׁעַר הַמִּזְרָח שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יט ל) (ויקרא כו ב) "אֶת שַׁבְּתֹתַי תִּשְׁמֹרוּ וּמִקְדָּשִׁי תִּירָאוּ". מַה שְּׁמִירַת שַׁבָּת לְעוֹלָם אַף מוֹרָא מִקְדָּשׁ לְעוֹלָם שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁחָרֵב בִּקְדֻשָּׁתוֹ עוֹמֵד:

8

When the Temple is standing, a person may not act frivolously in the area from Mt. Scopus,38 which is outside of Jerusalem, and inwards [towards the city.39 This prohibition only applies] when he can see the Temple, and there is no fence between him and the Temple.

ח

בִּזְמַן שֶׁהַמִּקְדָּשׁ בָּנוּי אָסוּר לוֹ לְאָדָם לְהָקֵל אֶת רֹאשׁוֹ מִן הַצּוֹפִים שֶׁהוּא חוּץ לִירוּשָׁלַיִם וְלִפְנִים. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה רוֹאֶה אֶת הַמִּקְדָּשׁ. וְלֹא יִהְיֶה גָּדֵר מַפְסִיק בֵּינוֹ וּבֵין הַמִּקְדָּשׁ:

9

At all times,40 a person may not defecate41 or sleep42 [with his body positioned] between the east and the west.43 It is superfluous to state that one should not place a toilet between the east and the west in any place [throughout the world,] for the Temple is in the west. Therefore, one should not defecate to the west nor to the east, for it is opposite the west. Rather, we should always defecate and sleep [with our bodies] to the north and south.44

Whoever urinates from Mt. Scopus inward to the city should not sit facing the Temple. Rather, [he should position himself] to the north or to the south, or have the Temple at his side.45

ט

אָסוּר לְאָדָם לְעוֹלָם שֶׁיִּפָּנֶה אוֹ שֶׁיִּישַׁן בֵּין מִזְרָח לַמַּעֲרָב. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר שֶׁאֵין קוֹבְעִין בֵּית הַכִּסֵּא בֵּין מִזְרָח לַמַּעֲרָב בְּכָל מָקוֹם מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַהֵיכָל בְּמַעֲרָב. לְפִיכָךְ לֹא יִפָּנֶה לְמַעֲרָב וְלֹא לְמִזְרָח מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא כְּנֶגֶד הַמַּעֲרָב. אֶלָּא בֵּין צָפוֹן לְדָרוֹם נִפְנִים וִישֵׁנִים. וְכָל הַמֵּטִיל מַיִם מִן הַצּוֹפִים וְלִפְנִים לֹא יֵשֵׁב וּפָנָיו כְּלַפֵּי הַקֹּדֶשׁ אֶלָּא לְצָפוֹן אוֹ לְדָרוֹם אוֹ יְסַלֵּק הַקֹּדֶשׁ לַצְּדָדִין:

10

A person may not make46 a house47 according to the Temple's design,48 a porch with the design of the Entrance Hall,49 a courtyard resembling the Temple Courtyard,50 a table according to the design of the Table for the Showbread, or a lamp in the design of the Menorah.51 However, one may make a lamp [resembling the Menorah] with five branches or with eight branches52 [even] with seven branches if it is not made of metal.53

י

וְאָסוּר לְאָדָם שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה בַּיִת תַּבְנִית הֵיכָל. אַכְסַדְרָא תַּבְנִית אוּלָם. חָצֵר כְּנֶגֶד הָעֲזָרָה. שֻׁלְחָן בְּצוּרַת שֻׁלְחָן. וּמְנוֹרָה בְּצוּרַת מְנוֹרָה. אֲבָל עוֹשֶׂה הוּא מְנוֹרָה שֶׁל חֲמִשָּׁה קָנִים אוֹ שֶׁל שְׁמוֹנָה קָנִים אוֹ מְנוֹרָה שֶׁאֵינָהּ שֶׁל מַתֶּכֶת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהּ שִׁבְעָה קָנִים:

11

The [encampment of the Jewish people] in the desert[ was divided into] three areas:54

the camp of Israel, which was itself subdivided into four camps;55

the camp of the Levites about which [Numbers 1:50] states: "They shall camp around the Sanctuary;"56

and the camp of the Shechinah [which included the area] beginning at the entrance to the courtyard of the Tent of Meeting inwards.57

Correspondingly, for [future] generations:

[The area] from the entrance to Jerusalem to the Temple Mount is comparable to the camp of Israel.58

[The area] from the entrance to the Temple Mount until the entrance to the Temple Courtyard, the gate of Nicanor, is comparable to the camp of the Levites.59

[The area] from the entrance to the Temple Courtyard inward, is comparable to the camp of the Shechinah.60

The chayl61 and the Women's Courtyard62 were regions of increased sanctity which were first instituted in the Temple.63

יא

שְׁלֹשָׁה מַחֲנוֹת הָיוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר. מַחֲנֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהוּא אַרְבַּע מַחֲנוֹת. וּמַחֲנֵה לְוִיָּה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בָּהּ (במדבר א נ) "וְסָבִיב לַמִּשְׁכָּן יַחֲנוּ". וּמַחֲנֵה שְׁכִינָה וְהוּא מִפֶּתַח חֲצַר אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וְלִפְנִים. וּכְנֶגְדָּן לְדוֹרוֹת. מִפֶּתַח יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עַד הַר הַבַּיִת כְּמַחֲנֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל. וּמִפֶּתַח הַר הַבַּיִת עַד פֶּתַח הָעֲזָרָה שֶׁהוּא שַׁעַר נִיקָנוֹר כְּמַחֲנֵה לְוִיָּה. וּמִפֶּתַח הָעֲזָרָה וְלִפְנִים מַחֲנֵה שְׁכִינָה. וְהַחֵיל וְעֶזְרַת הַנָּשִׁים מַעֲלָה יְתֵרָה בְּבֵית עוֹלָמִים:

12

The entire land of Eretz Yisrael is more sanctified than all other lands. How is its holiness expressed?

The Omer offering, the two loaves (offered on Shavuot), and the first fruits must be brought from its [territory] and cannot be brought from other lands.

יב

כָּל אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת מִכָּל הָאֲרָצוֹת. וּמַה הִיא קְדֻשָּׁתָהּ שֶׁמְּבִיאִין מִמֶּנָּה הָעֹמֶר וּשְׁתֵּי הַלֶּחֶם וְהַבִּכּוּרִים מַה שֶּׁאֵין מְבִיאִין כֵּן מִשְּׁאָר אֲרָצוֹת:

13

Eretz Yisrael has ten gradations of holiness, each higher than the preceding level. The cities which are surrounded by a wall are holier than the rest of the Land.

[How is this holiness expressed?]

Those afflicted by tzara'at are sent out of [these cities].

A corpse cannot be buried inside them until the entire city or its seven chosen representatives agree.

If a corpse has been taken outside a city, it should not be returned, even though all of the inhabitants are willing.

If the inhabitants of a city desire to disinter [a corpse] and remove it from the country, they may. The graves [of any individual] may be disinterred except for those of a king or of a prophet.

[The following rules apply in the case of a grave which was originally placed outside a city. Afterwards, the city grew in size to the point where] it surrounded the grave on all four sides, or merely on two sides which faced each other. If [originally,] there was more than 50 cubits between the grave and the city on either side, [the corpse] cannot be disinterred from the grave until every inhabitant of the city agrees. If a smaller distance [had originally been left,] it may be removed.

יג

עֶשֶׂר קְדֻשּׁוֹת הֵן בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְזוֹ לְמַעְלָה מִזּוֹ. עֲיָרוֹת הַמֻּקָּפוֹת חוֹמָה מְקֻדָּשׁוֹת מִשְּׁאָר הָאָרֶץ שֶׁמְּשַׁלְּחִין מִתּוֹכָן אֶת הַמְצֹרָעִים וְאֵין קוֹבְרִין בְּתוֹכָן מֵת עַד שֶׁיִּרְצוּ שִׁבְעָה טוֹבֵי הָעִיר אוֹ כָּל אַנְשֵׁי הָעִיר. וְאִם יָצָא הַמֵּת חוּץ לָעִיר אֵין מַחֲזִירִין אוֹתוֹ לְתוֹכָהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁרָצוּ כֻּלָּן לְהַחְזִירוֹ. רָצוּ בְּנֵי הָעִיר לְהוֹצִיא הַקֶּבֶר מִן הַמְּדִינָה מְפַנִּין אוֹתוֹ. וְכָל הַקְּבָרוֹת מְפַנִּין חוּץ מִקֶּבֶר נָבִיא אוֹ מֶלֶךְ. קֶבֶר שֶׁהִקִּיפַתּוּ הָעִיר בֵּין מֵאַרְבַּע רוּחוֹתָיו בֵּין מִשְּׁתֵי רוּחוֹת זוֹ כְּנֶגֶד זוֹ אִם הָיְתָה בֵּינוֹ וּבֵין הָעִיר יֶתֶר מֵחֲמִשִּׁים אַמָּה לְכָאן וַחֲמִשִּׁים לְכָאן אֵין מְפַנִּין אוֹתוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּרְצוּ כֻּלָּן. פָּחוֹת מִכָּאן מְפַנִּין אוֹתוֹ:

14

Jerusalem is holier than other walled cities. We must eat the sacrifices of lesser sanctity and the second tithes within its walls.

[Because of this holiness], the following [restrictions] were enacted in regard to Jerusalem:

No corpse is left within [its boundaries] overnight.

Human bones may not be transported within it.

Homes cannot be rented within it.

A resident alien may not be given the opportunity to settle in the city.

No graves may remain within [its boundaries] except for the graves of the House of David and the grave of Chuldah, the prophetess, which were there from the days of the first prophets.

We should not plant gardens or orchards within the city. It cannot be sowed or plowed [as a field], so that it will not smell foul. No trees may be maintained within it, except for a rose garden which was there from the days of the first prophets.

We may not maintain a garbage dump there, because of creeping animals.

We may not [build] balconies or protrusions extending into the public domain because of Tumat Ohel.

We may not create furnaces within it because of the smoke.

We may not raise chickens within it, because they may cause ritually pure articles [to become impure]. Similarly, a priest may not raise chickens throughout Eretz Yisrael, because they cause ritually pure articles [to become impure].

A house in the city which is sold is never designated as the permanent property of the buyer.

A house in the city is never designated as leprous.

It cannot be judged as an "apostate city."

An Eglah Arufah is never brought from it.

[The latter four statements apply] because [Jerusalem] was never divided among the tribes.

יד

יְרוּשָׁלַיִם מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת מִשְּׁאָר הָעֲיָרוֹת הַמֻּקָּפוֹת חוֹמָה. שֶׁאוֹכְלִין קָדָשִׁים קַלִּים וּמַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי לְפָנִים מֵחוֹמָתָהּ. וְאֵלּוּ דְּבָרִים שֶׁנֶּאֶמְרוּ בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם. אֵין מְלִינִין בָּהּ אֶת הַמֵּת. וְאֵין מַעֲבִירִין בְּתוֹכָהּ עַצְמוֹת אָדָם. וְאֵין מַשְׂכִּירִין בְּתוֹכָהּ בָּתִּים. וְאֵין נוֹתְנִין בְּתוֹכָהּ מָקוֹם לְגֵר תּוֹשָׁב. וְאֵין מְקַיְּמִין בָּהּ קִבְרוֹת חוּץ מִקִּבְרֵי בֵּית דָּוִד וְקֶבֶר חֻלְדָּה שֶׁהָיוּ בָּהּ מִימוֹת נְבִיאִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים. וְאֵין נוֹטְעִין בָּהּ גַּנּוֹת וּפַרְדֵּסִים. וְאֵינָהּ נִזְרַעַת וְאֵינָהּ נֶחֱרֶשֶׁת שֶׁמָּא תִּסְרַח. וְאֵין מְקַיְּמִין בָּהּ אִילָנוֹת חוּץ מִגִּנַּת וְרָדִים שֶׁהָיְתָה שָׁם מִימוֹת נְבִיאִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים. וְאֵין מְקַיְּמִין בָּהּ אַשְׁפָּה מִפְּנֵי הַשְּׁרָצִים. וְאֵין מוֹצִיאִין הֵימֶנָּה זִיזִין וּגְזוּזְטְרָאוֹת לִרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים מִפְּנֵי אֹהֶל הַטֻּמְאָה. וְאֵין עוֹשִׂין בָּהּ כִּבְשׁוֹנוֹת מִפְּנֵי הֶעָשָׁן. וְאֵין מְגַדְּלִין בָּהּ תַּרְנְגוֹלוֹת מִפְּנֵי הַקָּדָשִׁים. וְכֵן לֹא יְגַדְּלוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים תַּרְנְגוֹלִים בְּכָל אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל מִפְּנֵי הַטָּהֳרוֹת. וְאֵין הַבַּיִת נֶחְלָט בָּהּ. וְאֵינוֹ מִטַּמֵּא בִּנְגָעִים. וְאֵינָהּ נַעֲשֵׂית עִיר הַנִּדַּחַת. וְאֵינָהּ מְבִיאָה עֶגְלָה עֲרוּפָה לְפִי שֶׁלֹּא נִתְחַלְּקָה לִשְׁבָטִים:

15

The Temple Mount is holier than [the city of Jerusalem]. Zavim, Zavot, Niddot, and women who have given birth may not enter there. [However,] a corpse may be brought into the Temple Mount and one has contracted ritual impurity from a corpse may definitely enter there.

טו

הַר הַבַּיִת מְקֻדָּשׁ מִמֶּנָּה שֶׁאֵין זָבִין וְזָבוֹת נִדּוֹת וְיוֹלְדוֹת נִכְנָסִין לְשָׁם. וּמֻתָּר לְהַכְנִיס הַמֵּת עַצְמוֹ לְהַר הַבַּיִת וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר טְמֵא מֵת שֶׁהוּא נִכְנָס לְשָׁם:

16

The chayl is holier than the Temple Mount. Gentiles and those who contracted impurity through contact with a corpse or engaging in sexual relations with a Niddah may not enter there.

טז

הַחֵיל מְקֻדָּשׁ מִמֶּנּוּ שֶׁאֵין עַכּוּ''ם וּטְמֵא מֵת וּבוֹעֵל נִדָּה נִכְנָסִים לְשָׁם:

17

The Women's Courtyard is holier than the chayl. A person who has immersed himself in a mikveh, but must wait until the sun sets to become ritually pure, may not enter there.

This prohibition was instituted by the Sages. According to Torah law, such a person may enter the camp of the Levites. [Similarly,] a person who contracted ritual impurity through contact with a corpse and who entered the Women's Courtyard, is not liable for a sin offering.

יז

עֶזְרַת הַנָּשִׁים מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת מִן הַחֵיל שֶׁאֵין טְבוּל יוֹם נִכְנָס לְשָׁם. וְאִסּוּר זֶה מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם אֲבָל מִן הַתּוֹרָה מֻתָּר לִטְבוּל יוֹם לְהִכָּנֵס לְמַחֲנֵה לְוִיָּה. וּטְמֵא מֵת שֶׁנִּכְנַס לְעֶזְרַת הַנָּשִׁים אֵינוֹ חַיָּב חַטָּאת:

18

The Courtyard of the Israelites is holier than the Women's Courtyard.64 A person who has purified himself, but has not brought the required sacrifices,65 may not enter there.66 Similarly, an impure person who enters there is liable for karet.67

יח

עֶזְרַת יִשְׂרָאֵל מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת מֵעֶזְרַת נָשִׁים שֶׁאֵין מְחֻסַּר כִּפּוּרִים נִכְנַס לְשָׁם. וְטָמֵא שֶׁנִּכְנַס לְשָׁם חַיָּב כָּרֵת:

19

The Priestly Courtyard is holier than [the Courtyard of the Israelites].68 An Israelite may only enter there when required for:

a) Semichah,69 c) slaughtering,70 b) confession,71 tenufah.72

יט

עֶזְרַת הַכֹּהֲנִים מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת מִמֶּנָּה. שֶׁאֵין יִשְׂרָאֵל נִכְנָסִין לְשָׁם אֶלָּא בִּשְׁעַת צָרְכֵיהֶם לִסְמִיכָה וּלְכַפָּרָה וְלִשְׁחִיטָה וְלִתְנוּפָה:

20

[The area] between the Altar and the Entrance Hall is holier than the area mentioned above. Priests who have physical deformities,73 have grown long hair,74 or whose [priestly] garments are torn may not enter there.75

כ

בֵּין הָאוּלָם וְלַמִּזְבֵּחַ מְקֻדָּשׁ מִמֶּנָּה שֶׁאֵין בַּעֲלֵי מוּמִין וּפְרוּעֵי רֹאשׁ וּקְרוּעֵי בְּגָדִים נִכְנָסִין לְשָׁם:

21

The Temple building is holier than [the area] between the Altar and the Entrance Hall. Only a priest who has sanctified his hands and feet may enter there.76

כא

הַהֵיכָל מְקֻדָּשׁ מִבֵּין הָאוּלָם וְלַמִּזְבֵּחַ. שֶׁאֵין נִכְנָס לְשָׁם אֶלָּא רְחוּץ יָדַיִם וְרַגְלַיִם:

22

The chamber of the Holy of Holies is holier than it. Only the High Priest may enter there, on Yom Kippur, while he is involved in the Temple service.77

כב

בֵּית קֹדֶשׁ הַקָּדָשִׁים מְקֻדָּשׁ מִמֶּנּוּ שֶׁאֵין נִכְנָס לְשָׁם אֶלָּא כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל בְּיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים בִּשְׁעַת הָעֲבוֹדָה:

23

There was a place in the upper storey [of the Temple]78which was located directly opposite the Holy of Holies.79 It was entered only once in seven years, to [inspect it] and find out what is necessary for its repair.80

When builders [are required] to enter the Temple building to construct or repair it, or to remove an impure object,81 it is a mitzvah for the [craftsmen] who enter to be priests who do not possess any disqualifying physical deformities.82

If no [capable craftsmen meeting those criteria] can be found, priests with disqualifying deformities should enter.83

If none are found, Levites should enter.84

If none are found, Israelites should enter.

It is a mitzvah for [those who enter] to be ritually pure. If no [capable craftsman] who are ritually pure can be found, impure [craftsmen] may enter.85

[If there is a choice between a craftsman] who is impure and a priest with a disqualifying deformity, the priest with the deformity should enter, for [although the prohibitions against] ritual impurity are put aside in regard to matters which concern the entire people, [they are not relaxed completely].86

All those who enter to repair the Temple87 should be lowered down inside crates [from the upper floor].88 If no crates are available or if it is impossible [to make arrangements for them to enter] using crates, they may enter through the [usual] entrances.

כג

מָקוֹם שֶׁהָיָה בַּעֲלִיָּה מְכֻוָּן עַל קֹדֶשׁ הַקָּדָשִׁים אֵין נִכְנָסִין לוֹ אֶלָּא פַּעַם אַחַת בְּשָׁבוּעַ לֵידַע מַה הוּא צָרִיךְ לְחַזֵּק בִּדְקוֹ. בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁנִּכְנָסִין הַבַּנָּאִים לִבְנוֹת וּלְתַקֵּן בַּהֵיכָל אוֹ לְהוֹצִיא מִשָּׁם אֶת הַטֻּמְאָה. מִצְוָה שֶׁיִּהְיוּ הַנִּכְנָסִין כֹּהֲנִים תְּמִימִים. לֹא מָצְאוּ תְּמִימִים יִכָּנְסוּ בַּעֲלֵי מוּמִין. וְאִם אֵין שָׁם כֹּהֲנִים יִכָּנְסוּ לְוִיִּם. לֹא מָצְאוּ לְוִיִּם יִכָּנְסוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל. מִצְוָה בִּטְהוֹרִים. לֹא מָצְאוּ טְהוֹרִים יִכָּנְסוּ טְמֵאִים. טָמֵא וּבַעַל מוּם יִכָּנֵס בַּעַל מוּם וְאַל יִכָּנֵס טָמֵא שֶׁהַטֻּמְאָה דְּחוּיָה בְּצִבּוּר. וְכָל הַנִּכְנָסִין לַהֵיכָל לְתַקֵּן יִכָּנְסוּ בְּתֵבוֹת. אִם אֵין שָׁם תֵּבוֹת אוֹ אִי אֶפְשָׁר לָהֶם שֶׁיַּעֲשׂוּ בְּתֵבוֹת יִכָּנְסוּ דֶּרֶךְ פְּתָחִים:

Footnotes
1.

Sefer HaMitzvot(Positive Commandment 21) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 254) consider this as one of the 613 mitzvot, incumbent on both men and women.

2.

As explained in Halachot 7-9, the fulfillment of this Mitzvah is not limited to the time when the Temple stood, but is applicable even at present.

3.

This clause is quoted from Yevamot 6a,b. Tosefot explain that such a clarification is necessary, lest the Jewish people worship the Temple per se, bowing down to the physical building or showing it other signs of reverence.

4.

The source for these statements is the Mishnah (Berachot 9:6). The Talmud accepts these as signs of reverence without even questioning the source for these practices.

5.

When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, He told him (Exodus 3:5): "Remove your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy." Similarly, on the Temple Mount, shoes had to be removed.

The Minchat Chinuch states that one may wear shoes on the Temple Mount if they are not made of leather.

6.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Berachot, loc. cit.), the Rambam defines the word, afundaso, as "a garment which one will wear against his flesh to collect sweat, so that his sweat will not spoil his dress clothing."

7.

Tosafot, in Bava Metzia 26a, explain that only the public display of money is prohibited. One may carry money discreetly in his pockets.

8.

Berachot 62b explains that this concept may be inferred from the prohibition against wearing shoes. If wearing shoes which generally is not considered an act of disrespect is forbidden, then surely spitting is not allowed.

9.

The Har HaMoriah explains that this law was derived from Berachot 24b, which recommended this course of action to someone who has to spit in the midst of the Amidah prayers.

10.

Berachot, loc. cit., also considers this as a lack of respect.

11.

The Kessef Mishneh explains that the latter concept is derived from Megillah 28b, where a similar statement is made in reference to a person's entering a synagogue.

12.

The Rambam's statements are based on Middot 2:2. By quoting that mishnah here, he implies that these practices are also an expression of deference to the Temple (Rambam LeAm).

13.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah, the Rambam writes: "For example, one who enters through the gate of Shushan, [the eastern gate,] should not turn toward the Chuldah gates, [the southern gates,] but rather toward the Tadi gate, [the northern gate]."

14.

Tosafot Yom Tov explains that this does not necessarily mean that one would exit from the gate in the opposite direction. Rather, one would continue circling towards the right, even though it would be shorter to leave by turning towards the left.

15.

Tifferet Yisrael (Middot, loc. cit.) explains that this distinction was made so that all who see him would be aroused to pray for his welfare. See also Shabbat 67a.

16.

Magen Avraham 651:21 states that from these statements, it appears that only a person who suffered one of the fates listed would circle to the left. Generally, a left-handed person must give his left hand prominence, as others do the right. In this instance, however, he would circle to the right even though it is his weaker side.

17.

Under certain circumstances, the court would place a person who did not follow its directives under a ban of ostracism, restricting the business and social relations he could have with other Jews. See Hilchot Talmud Torah, chs. 6-7.

18.

The Mishnah (Middot, loc. cit.) relates that Rabbi Meir maintained that the people would answer: "May the One Who dwells in this House cause them to have a change of heart and accept you." Rabbi Yossi explained that such an expression makes it appear that the court was unfair in its judgment and suggests the phrase quoted by the Rambam.

19.

Yoma 53a explains that one must leave the Temple service facing in the same direction as when he entered.

20.

One need not walk backwards the entire way. However, it is also improper to turn one's back to the Temple.

21.

At which point he may walk in an ordinary manner.

22.

In order to allow the priests to serve in the Temple throughout the year in an organized manner, the prophets organized a rotation system, dividing the entire priestly family into 24 watches. Each watch would serve for a week and perform all the sacrificial functions required. The following week they would be replaced by a new watch according to the order of rotation. See Hilchot K'lei HaMikdash, Chapter 4, Halachah 3.

23.

This refers to the Anshei Ma'amaad, who represented the entire Jewish people. In Hilchot Klei HaMikdash, Chapter 6, Halachah 1, the Rambam describes their function as follows:

It is impossible for a person's offering to be sacrificed unless he is present. The communal offerings are the sacrifices of the entire Jewish people, [and hence, their presence should be required. Nevertheless,] since it is impossible for the entire Jewish people to be present in the Temple Courtyard while sacrifices are being offered, the first prophets established a practice of choosing worthy and God-fearing men....to serve as the representatives of all of Israel, and to be present at the sacrifices...They were divided into 24 watches.

See also Ta'anit 4:2.

24.

After accompanying the sacrifices with songs and music.

25.

After the conclusion of the Amidah prayer, one retreats backwards three steps as "a servant departs from his master's presence." (Yoma 53b. See also Hilchot Tefillah 5:10.

The commentaries on the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 123:1) explain that since the prayers were instituted to replace the sacrifices, one should conclude his prayers in the same manner as the priests departed from their service.

26.

Rashi, commenting on Berachot 54a, explains that this also applies to someone standing outside the Temple Mount. See also Halachah 8.

27.

On this statement, the Ra'avad comments: "And not as common people conduct themselves."

28.

As explained in Chapter 1, Halachah 7, and in Chapter 5, Halachah 12, there were divisions in the Temple Courtyard for the priests and for the Israelites.

29.

The Targum Yonatan renders Leviticus 19:30: "And you shall revere My Sanctuary" as "Walk to My Sanctuary with fear." See also Ecclesiastics 4:17: "Guard your feet when you walk to the House of God."

30.

See Rashi, Avot 6:3.

31.

The Mishneh LiMelech states that this prohibition appears to have its source in the Torah itself.

Sefer HaMitzvot, positive commandment 21, the Rambam includes this prohibition as one expression of reverence for the Temple.

32.

Rashi (Yoma 25a) explains that this prohibition is derived from Deuteronomy 18:5: "For the Lord has chosen him...to stand and to serve in the name of the Lord."

Tosafot (Yoma, ibid.) question whether the priests are permitted to sit in the courtyard when they partake of the sacrifices of the most holy order. From the Rambam's statements, it appears that he does not permit such leniency.

33.

The narrative in II Samuel relates that after sitting, David stated: "Who am I, O Lord, God, and what is my house that You have brought me this far." At the moment when he was granted this great honor, he displayed humility.

34.

Who sat.

35.

See Chapter 5, Halachah 17, and Chapter 6, Halachah 7.

36.

The Rambam uses the expressions "our sins," rather than "the sins of our ancestors," for all Israel, in every generation and every place, is one communal body.

The usage of the term "our" also implies a deeper concept. Our Sages declared: "Whoever does not witness the rebuilding of the Temple in his days must consider as if it was destroyed in his days."

The exile and the Temple's destruction were caused by the sins of the Jewish people. As soon as sin, the cause for the exile, is eradicated, the effect, the exile, will cease. Similarly, our Sages declared: "If Israel repents, she will immediately be redeemed."

37.

Midrash Tanchuma, Vayikra 6.

38.

As stated above, even when the Temple is destroyed, one may not act frivolously directly opposite the gate to the Courtyard. However, when the Temple was standing, that prohibition was extended, and included any place within sight of Jerusalem. (Meiri, Berachot 61b.)

39.

Berachot, loc. cit., explains that Mt. Scopus is the most distant point from which one can see the Temple site.

40.

I.e., even at present, when the Temple is destroyed. It must be noted that with slight emendations, the following laws are all quoted as Halachah by the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim, sec. 3.

41.

Most of the Rabbis explain that there is no prohibition if the toilet is surrounded by a wall. However, the Rambam's phraseology does not imply such license. Therefore, some authorities recommend that, if possible, one should construct his home with the toilet facing the north or south.

42.

Most authorities follow the opinion of the Tosafot (Berachot 5b) who explain that this prohibition only applies when sleeping with one's wife. However, Rav Yosef Caro emphasizes that according to the Rambam, the prohibition applies even when sleeping alone and strongly urges that this ruling be accepted.

43.

The Halachic authorities question whether the Rambam's intention is to stress the directions of east and west or the direction of the Temple itself. The Jerusalem Talmud (Berachot 9:5) states that, regardless of where one is located, one should not face the west, because "the Shechinah is in the west." On the other hand, certain authorities emphasize that according to the Babylonian Talmud (Berachot 61b), the location of Jerusalem is the determining factor.

44.

The Rabbis explain that although it is preferable to follow the Rambam's view, one may position his bed between the east and the west if there is no other alternative.

45.

Less severe restrictions are placed on urinating than on defecating. However, from the point where one can see the Temple site, Mt. Scopus, one should also control oneself in this regard.

46.

The Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 254), explains that this prohibition also stems from the command to revere the Sanctuary. A building or utensil that cannot be copied is obviously unique and special, and emphasis on its uniqueness will lead to reverence.

47.

Based on Avodah Zarah 43a, it would appear that the prohibition forbids constructing a building following the Temple's measurements exactly, but making a model in miniature would be permitted.

48.

The Minchat Chinuch (Mitzvah 254) analyzes this prohibition in depth and raises a number of issues, including the following:

a) The Talmud (Avodah Zarah 43a) explains that the source for this prohibition is the command against making images, as the Torah commands (Exodus 20:20): "Do not make with Me gods of silver..." If so, on the surface, it would have been more appropriate for the Rambam to mention this concept within the laws of Avodah Zarah (worship of false gods) rather than in Hilchot Beit HaBechirah. Indeed, the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah 141:8, discuss these prohibitions in that context.

b) As explained above, the structure of the Second Temple differed from the First and the dimensions of the Third Temple will not resemble those of the Second in their entirety. Thus, we must understand: Which structure are we forbidden to copy, that of the First or the Second Temple? Does the prohibition apply only when the Temple is standing, or does it apply to all three structures?

The Minchat Chinuch himself, tends towards the opinion that at present there is no prohibition to duplicate the previous structures of the Temple. Only in the Third Temple, may it be built speedily in our days, will this prohibition apply.

The text, Ma'asai LiMelech, explains that the Rambam's source for this prohibition is not the abovementioned Talmudic portion, but rather the obligation of awe and reverence referred to previously. It is not respectful to duplicate the Temple or its structures and use them for mundane purposes.

49.

Despite the fact that the Entrance Hall had walls on all four sides. Nevertheless, since its gate was large, 40 cubits high and 20 cubits wide, and open at all times, it resembled a porch.

50.

The Minchat Chinuch (loc. cit.) states that this prohibition does not extend beyond the Temple Courtyard. One may make a copy of the chayl, the rampart surrounding the Courtyard, or another similar structure.

51.

The Minchat Chinuch questions if these two utensils were mentioned only as examples, and the same prohibition applies to the other sacred utensils, or if the Rambam meant them exclusively. He concludes that we may not make a replica of any utensil whose exact dimensions are known to us.

He also emphasizes that the prohibition against making a replica of the Menorah applies even if the goblets, bulbs, and flowers are omitted, since the Menorah is acceptable without them when made from other metals (Chapter 3, Halachah 4).

52.

Indeed, it is customary to make Chanukah lamps in the shape of the Menorah.

53.

As explained in Chapter 1, Halachah 18, the sacred utensils must be made of metal. Hence, there is no prohibition against making a replica from other substances.

54.

With these statements, the Rambam introduces the following twelve Halachot, which discuss various gradations of holiness. These statements are based on the Tosafta, Kelim 1:10 and Zevachim 116b.

55.

See Numbers 2:1-31, which describes the division of the twelve tribes into the camps of Judah, Reuven, Ephraim, and Dan.

56.

The Levites would dwell in a separate encampment, between the camp of Israel and the Courtyard of the Sanctuary. The particular encampment of each Levite family is described in Numbers, Chapter 3.

57.

No one was permitted to dwell in this region. People would enter only to participate in the service of the Sanctuary.

58.

The strictures to be observed because of its sanctity are described in Halachah 14.

59.

The strictures to be observed because of its sanctity are described in Halachah 15.

60.

The strictures to be observed because of its sanctity are described in Halachah 18.

61.

The strictures to be observed because of its sanctity are described in Halachah 16.

62.

The strictures to be observed because of its sanctity are described in Halachah 17.

63.

Parrallels to these divisions did not exist in the encampment in the desert. They were instituted when the First Temple was constructed.

64.

As mentioned in the commentary to Chapter 6, Halachah 4, the physical height of the different regions of the Temple Mount corresponded to the difference in spiritual level. There was a marked distinction between the Temple Courtyard and the preceding regions. Until this point, there was no Scriptural prohibition against entering when ritually impure. Correspondingly, the greatest rise in height between the different levels occurred at this point.

65.

In Hilchot Michusrei Kapporah (1:1), the Rambam writes:

There are four who are considered "lacking in purification:"

a) a zavah,

b) a woman who has just given birth,

c) a zav,

d) one afflicted with tzara'at.

Why are they called "lacking in purification?" Because in each of these cases, even though the individual has:

a) been purified from [the cause of] his impurity,

b) immersed [in a Mikveh,] and

c) waited until the day has passed,

he is still lacking. His purification process is not complete enough to entitle him to partake of the sacrifices until he brings the offering [required of] him.

66.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Kelim 1:8), the Rambam writes:

We have prevented a person from entering the Women's Courtyard though he has immersed himself in a mikveh, because he must wait until the sun sets to become ritually pure. However, we need not force away a person who has purified himself, but who has not brought the required sacrifices.

[Why is there a distinction between the two?] Because the former is prohibited from eating Terumah, while the latter is permitted to partake of Terumah. The above is based on the principle mentioned above: "All those whose state of impurity is more severe will be banished in a more severe manner."

67.

Premature death by the hand of God.

68.

To clarify this distinction, the step between the two was a cubit high (See Chapter 6, Halachah 3) and marking posts were placed at either side.

69.

In connection with the peace-offerings, Leviticus 3:2 declares: "He shall lay his hands on the head of his offering." See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 3:6-13.

70.

A person who brings a sacrifice is not required to slaughter it. However, the slaughtering of a sacrifice need not be performed by a priest. See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 5:1.

71.

In Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 3:14-15, the Rambam relates that a person offering a sacrifice is required to confess his sins while laying his hands on his sacrifice.

It must be noted that the source for this Halachah, Kelim 1:8, does not mention these confessional prayers. Note the commentary of the Har HaMoriah.

72.

With regard to the peace offerings, Leviticus 7:30-31 states: "With his own hands, he must bring the choice parts.... He shall wave the chest with the prescribed motions...." The waving of these offerings had to be performed by the person bringing the sacrifice himself. See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 9:6-10.

73.

Leviticus 21:16-23 describes the various physical deformities which disqualify a priest from service in the Temple. The concluding verse of that passage reads: "He shall not come near the Parochet or approach the Altar." In Hilchot Biat HaMikdash (6:1) and in Sefer HaMitzvot (neg. command 69), the Rambam explains that entering this area constitutes a violation of a Torah prohibition.

It must be noted that Nachmanides does not accept the Rambam' opinion and views this prohibition as Rabbinic in origin (Hasagot L'Sefer HaMitzvot).

74.

In Hilchot Biat HaMikdash (1:8), the Rambam writes:

A priest who has grown long hair is forbidden to enter [the area] beyond the Altar. If he transgresses [this command] and enters, he is liable to die by the hand of God, as a drunkard who participates in the Temple service, as it is said (Ezekiel 44:20-21): "All the priests shall not drink wine...nor shall they grow long hair."

75.

In Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 1:14, the Rambam explains that the Torah established an analogy between priests who have long hair and those whose priestly garments are torn, as Leviticus 10:6 states: "Do not let the hair of your heads grow long, nor rend your clothes." Therefore, the same prohibitions apply in both cases.

Kelim 1:9, which is the source for this Halachah, does not mention the prohibition against entering this region with torn garments. Also, it is significant to mention that in Hilchot Biat HaMikdash (1:1), the Rambam explains that a priest who has drunk wine is bound by the same prohibitions.

76.

The priests were obligated to sanctify their hands and feet before taking part in the Temple service. Thus, with this terminology, the Mishnah (Kelim, loc. cit., and the Rambam are referring to a priest involved in the Temple service.

The above statement can be compared with Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 2:2, where the Rambam writes:

All the priests were warned not to enter the Sanctuary or the Holy of Holies except when involved in the Temple service as [Leviticus 16:2] states: "Let him not enter the Sanctuary at all times, [to] the chamber of the Parochet." ["The Sanctuary"] refers to the Holy of Holies, "the chamber of the Parochet," to the entire Temple building.

77.

The above-mentioned verse in Leviticus continues: "In this manner, shall Aaron enter the Holy place" and proceeds to describe the details of the Yom Kippur service.

The High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies four times on Yom Kippur:

a) to bring the incense offering;

b) to sprinkle the blood of the bull offered as atonement for himself;

c) to sprinkle the blood of the goat sacrificed as atonement for the Jewish people;

d) to remove the incense holder.

We recite a description of the High Priest's service on Yom Kippur in the Avodah portion of the Musaf prayers on Yom Kippur. See also Hilchot Avodat Yom HaKippurim.

78.

See Chapter 4, Halachah 13.

79.

The Tosefta (Kelim 1:7) states:

Abba Saul declares: "[The status of] the upper storey of the Holy of Holies is more strict [than that of] the Holy of Holies. In regard to the Holy of Holies, the High Priest enters four times each year, on Yom Kippur...[In contrast,] they would only enter the upper storey of the Holy of Holies once in seven years..."

They replied to him: "That is not considered a distinguishing quality."

Certain commentaries explain that the Rambam placed this Halachah here to indicate his acceptance of Abba Saul's view. Although there are other reasons to support this argument, it would appear that the Rambam subscribes to the other view mentioned in the Tosefta. In Halachah 13, he stated that there are ten levels of holiness and proceeded to enumerate them, concluding with the highest level in Halachah 22.

Furthermore, the opening phrase of each of those halachot, states: "... is holier than it..." and this halachah does not begin in that fashion.

80.

Pesachim 86a mentions three opinions concerning the frequency in which this chamber was entered: twice in seven years, once in fifty years, and once every seven years as quoted above. See Tosafot Yom Tov, Middot 4:5.

81.

Eruvin 104b and 105a explain that this impurity could be either the body of one of the eight crawling species (sheratzim) which convey ritual impurity, or alternatively, sacraments belonging to idol worship that were placed in the Temple. II Chronicles (Chapter 29) explains that the Temple was cleansed of idol worship by King Chezekiah, and that narrative serves as a source from which these laws were derived.

82.

As mentioned in Halachah 20, priests with disqualifying physical deformities were generally forbidden to proceed beyond the Priestly Courtyard.

83.

Eruvin, loc. cit., explains that the prohibition against these priests entering the more sanctified portions of the Temple implies the permission to enter should they be required for their craftmanship.

84.

The Levites are granted precedence, since they are allowed to proceed beyond the Israelites and to stand on the steps within the Priestly Courtyard.

85.

This leniency is allowed because the restrictions stemming from the laws of ritual purity do not apply to cases involving communal offerings for the entire Jewish people.

86.

This statement has stirred much controversy among the commentaries. See the Kessef Mishneh and the Mishneh LiMelech.

Although the Sages all agreed that the restrictions stemming from ritual impurity did not apply to cases involving communal offerings for the entire Jewish people, they debated (Yoma 6b) the nature of the leniency. Rav Nachman maintains that once a need arises, all the restrictions governing ritual impurity are relaxed entirely. Rav Sheshet argues that these restrictions are only "put aside" when there is no alternative, and wherever possible, the restrictions should be maintained. In Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 4:15, the Rambam rules according to Rav Sheshet's opinion.

In our mishnah, both a craftsman who is impure, and a priest with a disqualifying physical deformity, are prohibited from entering the Temple. The prohibition against entering while impure is more severe. Thus, Rav Sheshet's opinion would explain that although the restrictions against entering while impure are "put aside" to repair the Temple, total license is not granted. Hence, in this instance, since an alternative exists, it should be employed, and the priests with the deformities should be allowed to enter.

87.

Middot 4:5 mentions this practice only in regard to the Holy of Holies. However, Eruvin (loc. cit.) and the Tosefta (loc. cit.) apply the concept to the entire Temple building.

88.

Middot 4:5, and Rambam (Chapter 4, Halachah 13) explain that this practice was instituted "so that they would not satiate their eyes, [gazing at] the chamber of the Holy of Holies."

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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