Monday, January 14, 2013

Weight of the Paroches

SUMMARY The Paroches curtain weighed more than an elephant.

Using the dimensions of the Paroches and the known value for the density of wool it is possible to arrive at a rough upper limit for the weight of the Paroches. The volume of the Paroches is:

V = 20 x 40 x 1/6 amos
V =133 amos3  or 777,600 inches3

The density of wool is 0.0475 lbs/in3 so the weight of the Paroches would be 36,936 lbs.

Using the volumes of the warp and woof cords themselves (see previous post) can provide a lower limit for the weight. The volume of the 360 warp cords is given as:

v = (360)πr2h

r = 0.0278 amos (converting from 1/6 handbreadth)
h = 40 amos

The volume of the warp cords is 35 amos3

There are also 360 woof cords and their volume is given as:

v = (360)πr2h

r = 0.056 amos (converting from 1/3 handbreadth)
h = 20 amos

The volume of the warp cords is 70 amos3 and the total volume of warp and woof cords together is 105 amos3 or 612,360 inches3. According to this calculation the Paroches would weigh 29,087 lbs. [For comparison, a large elephant weighs about 25,000 lbs.]

In addition to the weight of the material itself there were two golden bands which ran across the top of the Paroches to keep it taut so that it covered the full 20 amos of the width of the Sanctuary building. Each band measured 2 handbreadths tall, 2 fingerbreadths thick, and 20 amos long (Shiltei Giborim). The volume of one band is:

V = 0.33 x 0.083 x 20 amos
V = 0.556 amos3  or  3,240 inches3

The density of gold is 0.698 lbs/in3 so the weight of each band would be 2,262 lbs., or 4,524 lbs. in all. This puts the total weight of the Paroches at (a minimum of) 33,611 lbs.

It is further interesting to note that the Paroches was immersed in a mikveh prior to being installed in the Temple. Just imagine how much water it must have absorbed and how much heavier it would have been for the Kohanim handling it to remove it from the mikveh and bring it to the Cheil where it was hung out to dry.

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