Monday, March 31, 2014

View of the Southeast Corner of the Courtyard

After spending the last few weeks working on the views of the three chambers in the corner of the Courtyard, as well as the Avtinas Chamber and its adjoining mikveh, here is a view of everything in situ. In this picture we are looking over the Altar to the southeast corner where the chambers of Salt, Parvah, and Rinsers are lined up, spilling over from the Israelites' Courtyard into the Kohanim's Courtyard. At the border of these two courtyards, to serve as a visual divider between them, a series of wooden blocks protruded from the walls and ran up their entire height. Not shown in this picture is the Chamber of Chavitin Makers (coming soon) which stood just to the south of the Nikanor Gate, as well as the entrance from the Courtyard to the Chamber of the Oils (the southwestern chamber of the Women's Courtyard).

Looking toward the southeast corner of the Courtyard.

Monday, March 24, 2014

View of the Chamber of Rinsers

The third chamber in the southeast corner of the Courtyard was the Chamber of Rinsers. Here the Kohanim would wash out the stomachs of sacrificial animals. Since this work, like that done in Parvah, created an unpleasant smell, it was actually carried out in an underground room beneath the main chamber. The stairwell leading down to this room was closed off by a door which helped minimize the foul odors reaching the Courtyard. It emerges that the Chamber of Rinsers was more like a vestibule with a door in each wall: in the north to the Courtyard; in the south to the underground room; in the east to the adjacent Chamber of Parvah; in the west to the ramp which led up to the mikveh on the roof of the Chamber of Parvah.
Chamber of Rinsers as seen
from the southeast
Underground room beneath the
Chamber of Rinsers

Monday, March 17, 2014

View of the Chamber of Parvah

The Chamber of Parvah, located to the west of the Chamber of Salt, was used to process the hides of the sacrificial animals. While I did not research the exact procedure used, some of the key steps involve stretching the hides over wooden frames, soaking them in a caustic bath to remove the hair, and then scraping them clean. Since this is a very smelly process this chamber did not open directly to the Courtyard but likely had a door to the adjoining Chamber of Rinsers which did open to the Courtyard. [I am curious, though, how (or if) this chamber was ventilated. Adding windows does not seem to be an option since that would allow the smell into the Courtyard, which is exactly what they were trying to avoid by not giving this chamber a door to the Courtyard in the first place.]

Kohanim prepare the hides within the Chamber of Parvah

Monday, March 10, 2014

Another View of the Salt Chamber

In the next series of posts I will be focusing on the three chambers located in the southeastern corner of the Courtyard: the Chamber of Salt, the Chamber of Parvah, and the Chamber of Rinsers.

Unlike some of the Courtyard's other chambers, these were located entirely within the Courtyard itself and not within its walls. The first of these was the Chamber of Salt which held a large supply of salt used for different purposes, such as tanning hides in the adjacent Chamber of Parvah, applying to the sacrificial parts before they were placed upon the Altar, and sprinkling on the Altar's ramp to absorb the oils and blood which spilled there and thereby prevent the Kohanim from slipping.
The Salt Chamber as seen from the southeast. To its west is the Chamber of Parvah and the door in the northern wall leads to the Israelites' Courtyard.