Monday, January 21, 2013

Detail from the Chamber of Oils

The Chamber of Oils, located in the southwest corner of the Women's Courtyard, housed the Temple's supply of oil, wine, and flour. Although all of these ingredients were used daily in great quantities, oil was needed the most, hence the name. A very common bulk storage container for liquids in those days was the clay amphora of the type shown here.

The Temple used only the best quality oils and the Talmud (Menachos 85b) states that the highest quality oil came from the olive groves of Tekoa. According to Kollel Iyun HaDaf, Tekoa of old was located on the mountain across from Meron (northwest of the Kineret Sea). Based on this idea, the amphora in this illustration is shown stamped with its location of origin.
Meron, Israel (Google Maps)

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