Shemot (Exodus) Chapter 27

1And you shall make the altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits wide; the altar shall be square, and its height [shall be] three cubits.   אוְעָשִׂ֥יתָ אֶת־הַמִּזְבֵּ֖חַ עֲצֵ֣י שִׁטִּ֑ים חָמֵשׁ֩ אַמּ֨וֹת אֹ֜רֶךְ וְחָמֵ֧שׁ אַמּ֣וֹת רֹ֗חַב רָב֤וּעַ יִֽהְיֶה֙ הַמִּזְבֵּ֔חַ וְשָׁל֥שׁ אַמּ֖וֹת קֹֽמָתֽוֹ:
And you shall make the altar…and its height [shall be] three cubits: The words are [to be understood] literally. These are the words of Rabbi Judah. Rabbi Jose says: It says here “square,” and concerning the inner altar, it says “square” (Exod. 30:2). Just as there, its height was twice its length [i.e, it was one cubit long and two cubits high], here too, its height was twice its length. [This method of expounding is known as גְּזֵרָה שָׁוָה, similar wording.] How then do I understand “and its height [shall be] three cubits"? [This means measuring] from the edge of the sovev [the ledge surrounding the altar] and higher. — [from Zev 60a] [According to Rabbi Judah, the altar was literally three cubits high. According to Rabbi Yose, it was ten cubits high, with the upper three cubits above the ledge mentioned in verse 5]   וְעָשִׂיתָ אֶת־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וגו' וְשָׁלשׁ אַמּוֹת קֹֽמָתֽוֹ: דְּבָרִים כִּכְתָבָן, דִּבְרֵי רַ' יְהוּדָה, רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר נֶאֱמַר כָּאן רָבוּעַ וְנֶאֱמַר בַּפְּנִימִי רָבוּעַ, מַה לְּהַלָּן גָּבְהוֹ פִּי שְׁנַיִם כְּאָרְכּוֹ, אַף כָּאן גָּבְהוֹ פִּי שְׁנַיִם כְּאָרְכּוֹ, וּמָה אֲנִי מְקַיֵּם וְשָׁלֹשׁ אַמּוֹת קֹמָתוֹ? מִשְּׂפַת סוֹבֵב וּלְמַעְלָה (זבח' נ"ט):
2And you shall make its horns on its four corners; its horns shall be from it, and you shall overlay it with copper.   בוְעָשִׂ֣יתָ קַרְנֹתָ֗יו עַ֚ל אַרְבַּ֣ע פִּנֹּתָ֔יו מִמֶּ֖נּוּ תִּֽהְיֶ֣יןָ קַרְנֹתָ֑יו וְצִפִּיתָ֥ אֹת֖וֹ נְחֽשֶׁת:
its horns shall be from it: [This means] that he should not make them [the horns] separately and [then] attach them to it [the altar].   מִמֶּנּוּ תִּֽהְיֶיןָ קַרְנֹתָיו: שֶׁלֹּא יַעֲשֵׂם לְבַדָּם וִיחַבְּרֵם בּוֹ:
and you shall overlay it with copper: to atone for brazenness, as it is said: “and your forehead is brazen (נְחוֹּשָה)” (Isa. 48:4). [I.e., נְחֹשֶת, which means copper, is also used idiomatically to mean brazen or bold.]-[from Tanchuma 11]   וְצִפִּיתָ אֹתוֹ נְחֽשֶׁת: לְכַפֵּר עַל עַזּוּת מֶצַח, שֶׁנֶּ' וּמִצְחֲךָ נְחוּשָׁה (ישעיהו מ"ח):
3And you shall make its pots to remove its ashes, and its shovels and its sprinkling basins and its flesh hooks and its scoops; you shall make all its implements of copper.   גוְעָשִׂ֤יתָ סִּֽירֹתָיו֙ לְדַשְּׁנ֔וֹ וְיָעָיו֙ וּמִזְרְקֹתָ֔יו וּמִזְלְגֹתָ֖יו וּמַחְתֹּתָ֑יו לְכָל־כֵּלָ֖יו תַּֽעֲשֶׂ֥ה נְחֽשֶׁת:
its pots: Heb. סִּירֹתָיו, sort of kettles. — [from targumim]   סִּֽירֹתָיו: כְּמִין יוֹרוֹת:
to remove its ashes: Heb. לְדַשְׂנוֹ, to remove its ashes [and place them] into them [the kettles]. This is what Onkelos rendered: לְמִסְפֵּי קִטְמֵיהּ, to remove its ashes into them. In Hebrew, some words [are used in such a manner that] one word [i.e., the same root] changes in its meaning to serve [both] as building and demolishing [i.e., it has a positive and a negative meaning], like, “it took root (וַתַַּשְׁרֵשׁ)” (Ps. 80:10), “a fool taking root (מַשְׁרִישׁ)” (Job 5:3), and its opposite, “and it uproots (תְשָׁרֵשׁ) all my grain” (Job 31:12); similar to this, “on its branches (בִּסְעִיפֶיהָ) when it produces fruit” (Isa. 17:6), and its opposite, “lops off (מְסָעֵף) the branches” (Isa. 10:33); similar to this, “and this last one broke his bones (עִצְּמוֹ)” (Jer. 50:17) [עִצְּמוֹ, which usually means “became boned,” here means] “broke his bones” ; similar to this, “and stoned him with stones (וַיִּסְקְלֻהוּ בָּאִבָנִים)” (I Kings 21:13), and its opposite, "clear it of stones (סַקְּלוּ מֵאֶבֶן) ” (Isa. 62:10), [meaning] remove its stones, and so, “and he fenced it in, and he cleared it of stones (וַיִּסְקְלֵהוּ)” (Isa. 5:2). Here too, לְדַשְׁנוֹ means “to remove its ashes (דִשְׁנוֹ),” and in Old French, adeszandrer, to remove ashes.   לְדַשְּׁנוֹ: לְהָסִיר דִּשְׁנוֹ לְתוֹכָם, וְהוּא שֶׁתִּרְגֵּם אֻנְקְלוֹס לְמִסְפֵּי קִטְמֵהּ – לִסְפּוֹת הַדֶּשֶׁן לְתוֹכָם; כִּי יֵשׁ מִלּוֹת בְּלָשׁוֹן עִבְרִית מִלָּה אַחַת מִתְחַלֶּפֶת בַּפִּתְרוֹן לְשַׁמֵּשׁ בִּנְיָן וּסְתִירָה, כְּמוֹ וַתַּשְׁרֵשׁ שָׁרָשֶׁיהָ (תהילים פ'), אֱוִיל מַשְׁרִישׁ (איוב ה'), וְחִלּוּפוֹ וּבְכָל תְּבוּאָתִי תְשָׁרֵשׁ (איוב ל״א:י״ב); וְכָמוֹהוּ בִּסְעִפֶּיהָ פֹּרִיָּה (ישעיהו י״ז:ו׳), וְחִלּוּפוֹ מְסָעֵף פֻּארָה (ישעיהו י׳:ל״ג) – מְפַשֵּׁחַ סְעִפֶּיהָ; וְכָמוֹהוּ וְזֶה הָאַחֲרוֹן עִצְּמוֹ (ירמיהו נ') – שִׁבַּר עֲצָמָיו; וְכָמוֹהוּ וַיִּסְקְלֻהוּ בָאֲבָנִים (מלכים א כ״א:י״ג), וְחִלּוּפוֹ סַקְּלוּ מֵאֶבֶן (ישעיהו ס״ב:י׳) – הָסִירוּ אֲבָנֶיהָ, וְכֵן וַיְעַזְּקֵהוּ וַיְסַקְּלֵהוּ (שם ה'), אַף כָּאן לְדַשְּׁנוֹ – לְהָסִיר דִּשְׁנוֹ, וּבְלַעַז אדשצנדר"יר:
and its shovels: Heb. וְיָעָיו. [Its meaning is] as the Targum [Onkelos renders: וּמַגְרפְיָתֵיה]: shovels with which he [the kohen] takes the ashes. They are [similar to] a kind of thin, metal lid of a pot, and it has a handle. In Old French [it is called] videl, vedil, vadil, [all meaning] shovel.   וְיָעָיו: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ, מִגְרָפוֹת שֶׁנּוֹטְלִים בָּהֶם הַדֶּשֶׁן, וְהֵן כְּמִין כִּסּוּי הַקְּדֵרָה שֶׁל מַתֶּכֶת דַּק וְלֹוֹ בֵית יָד, וּבְלַעַז ווד"יל:
and its sprinkling basins: Heb. וּמִזְרְקֹתָיו, with which to receive the blood of the sacrifices.   וּמִזְרְקֹתָיו: לְקַבֵּל בָּהֶם דַּם הַזְּבָחִים:
and its flesh hooks: Heb. וּמִזְלְגֹתָיו. Sort of bent hooks, with which he [the kohen] would strike the [sacrificial] flesh. They [the hooks] would be imbedded into it, and with them, he would turn it over on the coals of the [altar] pyre in order to hasten its burning. In Old French [they are called] crozins, [meaning flesh] hooks, and in the language of the Sages [they are called], צִינוֹרִיּוֹת (Yoma 12a).   וּמִזְלְגֹתָיו: כְּמִין אֻנְקְלִיּוֹת כְּפוּפִים, וּמַכֶּה בָהֶם בַּבָּשָׂר וְנִתְחָבִים בּוֹ וּמְהַפֵּךְ בָּהֶן עַל גַּחֲלֵי הַמַּעֲרָכָה שֶׁיְּהֵא מְמַהֵר שְׂרֵפָתָן, ובְלַעַז קרוצי"נש, וּבִלְשׁוֹן חֲכָמִים צִנּוֹרִיּוֹת (יומא י"ב):
and its scoops: Heb. וּמַחְתֹּתָיו. They had a cavity in which to take coals from the altar and to carry them onto the inner altar for incense [which was within the Mishkan]. Because of their [function of] scooping (חֲתִיֹּתָן), they are called scoops (מַחְתּוֹת), like “to scoop (לַחְתּוֹת) fire from a hearth” (Isa. 30:14), an expression of raking fire from its place, and likewise, “Can a man rake (הִיַחְתֶּה) embers with his clothes?” (Prov. 6:27).   וּמַחְתֹּתָיו: בֵּית קִבּוּל יֵשׁ לָהֶם לִטֹּל בָּהֶן גֶּחָלִים מִן הַמִּזְבֵּחַ, לְשֵׂאתָם עַל מִזְבֵּחַ הַפְּנִימִי לַקְּטֹרֶת, וְעַל שֵׁם חֲתִיָּתָן קְרוּיִים מַחְתּוֹת, כְּמוֹ לַחְתּוֹת אֵשׁ מִיָּקוּד (ישעיהו ל'), לְשׁוֹן שְׁאִיבַת אֵשׁ מִמְּקוֹמָהּ, וְכֵן הֲיַחְתֶּה אִישׁ אֵשׁ בְּחֵיקוֹ (משלי ו'):
all its implements: Heb. לְכָל-כֵּלָיו. Like כָּל כֵּלָיו.   לְכָל־כֵּלָיו: כְּמוֹ כָּל כֵּלָיו:
4And you shall make for it a copper grating of netting work, and you shall make on the netting four copper rings on its four ends.   דוְעָשִׂ֤יתָ לּוֹ֙ מִכְבָּ֔ר מַֽעֲשֵׂ֖ה רֶ֣שֶׁת נְח֑שֶׁת וְעָשִׂ֣יתָ עַל־הָרֶ֗שֶׁת אַרְבַּע֙ טַבְּעֹ֣ת נְח֔שֶׁת עַ֖ל אַרְבַּ֥ע קְצוֹתָֽיו:
grating: Heb. מִכְבָּר, a word meaning a sieve (כְּבָרָה), which is called crible [in French], [meaning] a sort of garment made for the altar, made with holes like a sort of net. This verse is inverted, and this is its meaning: And you shall make for it a copper grating of netting work.   מִכְבָּר: לְשׁוֹן כְּבָרָה, שֶׁקּוֹרִין קרי"בלא בְּלַעַז, כְּמִין לְבוּשׁ עָשׂוּי לוֹ לַמִּזְבֵּחַ, עָשׂוּי חֹרִין חֹרִין, כְּמִין רֶשֶׁת; וּמִקְרָא זֶה מְסֹרָס וְכֹה פִּתְרוֹנוֹ: וְעָשִׂיתָ לּוֹ מִכְבַּר נְחֹשֶׁת מַעֲשֵׂה רֶשֶׁת:
5And you shall place it beneath the ledge of the altar from below, and the net shall [extend downward] until the middle of the altar.   הוְנָֽתַתָּ֣ה אֹתָ֗הּ תַּ֛חַת כַּרְכֹּ֥ב הַמִּזְבֵּ֖חַ מִלְּמָ֑טָּה וְהָֽיְתָ֣ה הָרֶ֔שֶׁת עַ֖ד חֲצִ֥י הַמִּזְבֵּֽחַ:
the ledge of the altar: Heb. כַּרְכֹּב, a surrounding ledge. Anything that encircles anything else is called כַּרְכֹּב, as we learned in [the chapter entitled] Everyone May Slaughter (Chul. 25a): “The following are unfinished wooden vessels: Any [vessel] that is destined to be smoothed or banded (לְכַרְכֵּב).” This [refers to the practice] of making round grooves [or bands] in the planks of the walls of wooden chests and benches. For the altar as well, he [Bezalel] made a groove around it a cubit wide. [The groove was] on its wall for decoration, and that was at the end of three (other editions: six) cubits of its height, according to the one who says that its height was twice its length and [asks] how then can I understand [the verse] "and three cubits its height"? [Three cubits] from the edge of the ledge and higher. There was, however, no surrounding ledge [i.e., walkway] on the copper altar for the kohanim to walk on, except on its top, within its horns. So we learned in Zev. (62a): What is the ledge? [The space] between one horn and the other horn which was a cubit wide. Within that there was a cubit for the kohanim to walk, and these two cubits are called כַּרְכֹּב. We [the Sages of the Gemara] questioned this: But is it not written, "beneath the ledge of the altar from below"? [Thus we learned] that the כַּרְכֹּב was on its [the altar’s] wall, and the “garment” of the grating was below it [the ledge]. The one who answered [i.e., one of the Sages of the Gemara] replied: “There were two [ledges], one for beauty and one so that the kohanim should not slip.” The one on the wall was for decoration, and below it, they adorned [it with] the grating, whose width extended halfway up the altar. Thus, the grating was a cubit wide, and this was the sign of the middle of its [the altar’s] height, to distinguish between the upper “bloods” and the lower “bloods” [i. e., the blood of the sacrifices required to be sprinkled on the top of the altar and the blood of the sacrifices required to be sprinkled on the bottom of the altar]. Corresponding to this, they made for the altar in the Temple a kind of red line [other editions: the “girdle” of the red line] in it [the altar’s] center [point] (Middoth 3:1) and a ramp upon which they [the kohanim] would ascend it [the altar]. Although [the Torah] did not explain it in this section, we were already informed in the parsha [that begins] “An altar of earth you shall make for Me” (Exod. 20:21-23): “And you shall not ascend with steps.” [I.e.,] you shall not make steps for it on its ramp, but [you shall make] a smooth ramp. [Thus] we learn that it [the altar] had a ramp. [All the above] we learned in the Mechilta (Exod. 20:23). The “altar of earth” [mentioned in Exod. 20:21] was the copper altar, which they filled with earth in [all] the places of their encampment. The ramp was to the south of the altar, separated from the altar by a hairbreadth. Its base reached [until] a cubit adjacent to the hangings of the courtyard on the Mishkan’s southern [side], according to [the opinion of] those who say that it was ten cubits high. According to the opinion of those who say that the words are [to be understood] literally -"its height [shall be] three cubits" (verse 1)-the ramp was only ten cubits long. I found this in the Mishnah of Forty-Nine Middoth. [What I stated,] that it [the ramp] was separated from the altar by the width of a thread [i.e., a hairbreadth], [derives from] Tractate Zevachim (62b), [where] we learned it from the text.   כַּרְכֹּב הַמִּזְבֵּחַ: סוֹבֵב; כָּל דָּבָר הַמַּקִּיף סָבִיב בְּעִגּוּל קָרוּי כַּרְכֹּב, כְּמוֹ שֶׁשָּׁנִינוּ בְּהַכֹּל שׁוֹחֲטִין אֵלּוּ הֵן גָּלְמֵי כְלֵי עֵץ כָּל שֶׁעָתִיד לָשׁוּף וּלְכַרְכֵּב, וְהוּא כְּמוֹ שֶׁעוֹשִׂים חֲרִיצִין עֲגֻלִּין בְּקַרְשֵׁי דָּפְנֵי הַתֵּבוֹת וְסַפְסָלֵי הָעֵץ, אַף לַמִּזְבֵּחַ עָשָׂה חָרִיץ סְבִיבוֹ, וְהָיָה רָחְבּוֹ אַמָּה בְדָפְנוֹ לְנוֹי וְהוּא לְסוֹף שָׁלֹשׁ אַמּוֹת שֶׁל גָּבְהוֹ כְּדִבְרֵי הָאוֹמֵר גָּבְהוֹ פִּי שְׁנַיִם כְּאָרְכּוֹ, הָא מָה אֲנִי מְקַיֵּם וְשָׁלֹשׁ אַמּוֹת קוֹמָתוֹ? מִשְּׂפַת סוֹבֵב וּלְמַעְלָה, אֲבָל סוֹבֵב לְהִלּוּךְ הַכֹּהֲנִים לֹא הָיָה לְמִזְבַּח הַנְּחֹשֶׁת, אֶלָּא עַל רֹאשׁוֹ לִפְנִים מִקַּרְנוֹתָיו, וְכֵן שָׁנִינוּ בִזְבָחִים: אֵי זֶהוּ כַּרְכּוֹב? בֵּין קֶרֶן לְקֶרֶן; וְהָיָה רֹחַב אַמָּה, וְלִפְנִים מֵהֶן אַמָּה שֶׁל הִלּוּךְ רַגְלֵי הַכֹּהֲנִים, שְׁתֵּי אַמּוֹת הַלָּלוּ קְרוּיִים כַּרְכּוֹב; וְדִקְדַּקְנוּ שָׁם וְהָכְתִיב תַּחַת כַּרְכֹּב הַמִּזְבֵּחַ מִלְּמָטָּה? לָמַדְנוּ שֶׁהַכַּרְכּוֹב בְּדָפְנוֹ הוּא וּלְבוּשׁ הַמִּכְבָּר תַּחְתָּיו? וְתֵרֵץ הַמְתָרֵץ תְּרֵי הֲווֹ, חַד לְנוֹי וְחַד לַכֹּהֲנִים דְּלֹא יִשְׂתָּרְגוּ, זֶה שֶׁבַּדֹּפֶן לְנוֹי הָיָה, וּמִתַּחְתָּיו הִלְבִּישׁוֹ הַמִּכְבָּר וְהִגִּיעַ רָחְבוֹ עַד חֲצִי הַמִּזְבֵּחַ, וְהוּא הָיָה סִימָן לַחֲצִי גָּבְהוֹ, לְהַבְדִּיל בֵּין דָּמִים הָעֶלְיוֹנִים לְדָמִים הַתַּחְתּוֹנִים; וּכְנֶגְדּוֹ עָשׂוּ לְמִזְבַּח בֵּית עוֹלָמִים דֻּגְמַת חוּט הַסִּקְרָא בְאֶמְצָעוֹ, וְכֶבֶשׁ שֶׁהָיוּ עוֹלִין בּוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא פֵרְשׁוֹ בְּעִנְיָן זֶה, כְּבָר שָׁמַעְנוּ בְּפָרָשַׁת מִזְבַּח אֲדָמָה תַּעֲשֶׂה לִּי וְלֹא תַעֲלֶה בְמַעֲלֹת – לֹא תַעֲשֶׂה לוֹ מַעֲלוֹת בְּכֶבֶשׁ שֶׁלּוֹ, אֶלָּא כֶּבֶשׁ חָלָק, לָמַדְנוּ שֶׁהָיָה לוֹ כֶּבֶשׁ; כָּךְ שָׁנִינוּ בַּמְּכִילְתָּא. וּמִזְבַּח אֲדָמָה הוּא מִזְבַּח הַנְּחֹשֶׁת, שֶׁהָיוּ מְמַלְּאִין חֲלָלוֹ אֲדָמָה בִמְקוֹם חֲנִיָּתָן, וְהַכֶּבֶשׁ הָיָה בִּדְרוֹם הַמִּזְבֵּחַ, מֻבְדָּל מִן הַמִּזְבֵּחַ מְלֹא חוּט הַשַּׂעֲרָה, וְרַגְלָיו מַגִּיעִין עַד אַמָּה סָמוּךְ לְקַלְעֵי הֶחָצֵר שֶׁבַּדָּרוֹם, כְּדִבְרֵי הָאוֹמֵר עֶשֶׂר אַמּוֹת קוֹמָתוֹ, וּלְדִבְרֵי הָאוֹמֵר דְּבָרִים כִּכְתָבָן – שָׁלֹשׁ אַמּוֹת קוֹמָתוֹ – לֹא הָיָה אֹרֶךְ הַכֶּבֶשׁ אֶלָּא עֶשֶׂר אַמּוֹת, כָּךְ מָצָאתִי בְּמִשְׁנַת אַרְבָּעִים וְתֵשַׁע מִדּוֹת, וְזֶה שֶׁהוּא מֻבְדָּל מִן הַמִּזְבֵּחַ מְלֹא הַחוּט, בְּמַסֶּכֶת זְבָחִים (דף ס"ב) לְמָדוּהוּ מִן הַמִּקְרָא:
6And you shall make poles for the altar, poles of acacia wood, and you shall overlay them with copper.   ווְעָשִׂ֤יתָ בַדִּים֙ לַמִּזְבֵּ֔חַ בַּדֵּ֖י עֲצֵ֣י שִׁטִּ֑ים וְצִפִּיתָ֥ אֹתָ֖ם נְחֽשֶׁת:
7And its poles shall be inserted into the rings, and the poles shall be on both sides of the altar when it is carried.   זוְהוּבָ֥א אֶת־בַּדָּ֖יו בַּטַּבָּעֹ֑ת וְהָי֣וּ הַבַּדִּ֗ים עַל־שְׁתֵּ֛י צַלְעֹ֥ת הַמִּזְבֵּ֖חַ בִּשְׂאֵ֥ת אֹתֽוֹ:
into the rings: Into the four rings that were made for the grating.   בַּטַּבָּעֹת: בְּאַרְבַּע טַבָּעוֹת שֶׁנַּעֲשׂוּ לַמִּכְבָּר:
8You shall make it hollow, out of boards; as He showed you on the mountain, so shall they do.   חנְב֥וּב לֻחֹ֖ת תַּֽעֲשֶׂ֣ה אֹת֑וֹ כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֨ר הֶרְאָ֥ה אֹֽתְךָ֛ בָּהָ֖ר כֵּ֥ן יַֽעֲשֽׂוּ:
hollow, out of boards: Heb. נְבוּב לֻחֹת as the Targum [Onkelos and Jonathan] renders: חִלִיל לוּחִין. [There should be] boards of acacia wood from all sides with a space in the middle. But all of it shall not be [made of] one piece of wood [that would measure] five cubits by five cubits, like a sort of anvil [i.e., like one solid block].   נְבוּב לֻחֹת: כְּתַרְגּוּמוֹ חֲלִיל לוּחִין, לֻחֹת עֲצֵי שִׁטִּים מִכָּל צַד וְהֶחָלָל בְאֶמְצַע, וְלֹא יְהֵא כֻּלּוֹ עֵץ אֶחָד שֶׁיְּהֵא עָבְיוֹ חָמֵשׁ אַמּוֹת עַל חָמֵשׁ אַמּוֹת כְּמִין סַדָּן: