Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Chanukas HaLEGO® Mizbeach

When the Chashmonaim recaptured the Temple many years ago, they were horrified to discover that the Altar had been used for pagan worship. As a result, they disassembled the entire Altar and ramp and built them anew. Through a similar siyata dishmaya (although on a smaller scale - literally and figuratively) I was able to refurbish and add to my LEGO® model of the Altar just in time for Chanukah.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Photos of LEGO® Mikdash Model

Using the plans described in the last post, here are some pictures of the finished LEGO® model of the Beis Hamikdash.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Nivreshes as an Indicator of Zman Kriyas Shema

How did a golden candelabra mounted on top of the Sanctuary Building let the people of Jerusalem know that it was time to recite the morning Shema?

Monday, September 7, 2015

Thickness of the Courtyard Walls

Nowhere in tractate Middos does the Mishnah mention the thickness of the walls surrounding the Temple Mount or the Courtyard, yet some suggest that this measurement is hinted to in the Torah itself.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Wall Thickness of the Chambers of the Knives — בית החליפות

SUMMARY Using the standard Talmudic ratios of wall thickness to height it is possible to calculate a minimum wall thickness for the Chambers of the Knives.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Other Options for Old Knives in the Temple

When Temple property becomes unfit for use there are a number of things which could be done with it. The treasurers could repair the item and put it back in service, recycle the item and use it for some other sacred purpose, or redeem the item by selling it and returning the profits to the Temple treasury. I would like to examine whether any of these options applied to old slaughtering knives of the Kohanim.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Monday, July 20, 2015

Animation for Timeline of the Tamid

As part of my latest slideshow Timeline of the Tamid, I created an animation which compresses two hours of Temple service into 8 minutes.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Beis Hamikdash Topics in French Classroom

In the yeshivah high school Merkaz Hatorah in Le Raincy, France, Rabbi Yehouda Gabison was teaching his class maseches Tamid at the end of the school year. He came across this blog and was able to incorporate some of the images into his lesson plan. For more information about the yeshivah please visit the Merkaz Hatorah website.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Timeline of the Tamid

I am preparing a new presentation for this summer called Timeline of the Tamid which will be a walkthrough of the entire morning Tamid service. One of the things I hope to clarify is the schedule of when all these events took place — the time of day and how long they took. I think most people will be surprised to learn just how early in the morning the Tamid was offered each day!

There are only a handful of places in the Mishnah where actual times are referenced, and so the entire timeline is based upon establishing those times and then filling in the others as realistically as possible. These will be discussed in more detail below, but the two which become the most important are the first and last. We know that the day started when the Memuneh (a Temple official) arrived to conduct the first lottery, and the Mishnah says that he arrived around dawn (72 minutes before sunrise). We also know that the Kohanim recited Shema (one of the later steps in the Tamid service) earlier than the proper time, and the proper time is just before sunrise. This means that the bulk of the Tamid service — including the lamb's slaughter and blood applications — was completed in about an hour and took place before sunrise.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Showing the Table to the Masses

The Gemara on Menachos 96b states that on the three Festivals the Kohanim would raise the Golden Table of the Showbread for the people [gathered in the Courtyard] to see that the bread was as fresh as the day it was baked. This Gemara assumes that the bread could not be seen without the Table being raised and I was curious what the sight line would have looked like from the Israelites' Courtyard where the public would be gathered.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Chamber of the Lambs

The southwestern chamber of the Hall of the Fire was known as the Chamber of the Lambs. This room was where the Kohanim maintained a supply of lambs — inspected and found free of blemishes — which would be used for the daily Tamid-offerings. Since the lambs had to be inspected on each of the four days prior to their slaughter, and two lambs were offered each day, how many lambs were kept in the Chamber of the Lambs?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Inspecting the Courtyard in the Morning

Kohanim inspect the Courtyard by torchlight.
Each morning the Kohanim would do a walk-through of the Courtyard to make sure that all the utensils were in place for the day's avodah. The utensils, however, were still safely stored in the Chamber of Utensils at this point, so what, exactly, were the Kohanim inspecting?

Jbrick Introduces New Sets

Jbrick, the company which brings you Jewish-themed custom LEGO sets, is now expanding. They are introducing new sets which you can view on their jewcer crowdfunding page. Join me in helping this one-of-a-kind company reach their goal of creating quality LEGO Judaica.

Monday, February 9, 2015

View of the Chamber of the Lechem Hapanim

The southeastern chamber of the Hall of the Fire was used on Fridays to bake the lechem hapanim [show bread]. In this chamber the Kohanim would knead the dough, shape it into the lechem hapanim's unique shape using a golden form, and then bake the loaves two at a time in an oven. After they finished baking, the loaves were placed into another form to cool. The finished loaves were then transferred to a table within the Antechamber where they stayed until Shabbos when they were taken into the Sanctuary and placed upon the Golden Table. The loaves which had been on the Table from the previous week were removed and distributed among the Kohanim to eat.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Baking the Lechem Hapanim

One of the great mysteries of the Temple era is how the lechem hapanim [show bread] was baked. These were the twelve loaves of unleavened bread which were stored upon the Golden Table within the Sanctuary and distributed among the Kohanim each Shabbos. Only the members of the Garmu family knew how to produce these curiously shaped loaves and they jealously guarded their secret. Even so, from the Mishnah and Gemara we can get a better idea of just how they did it.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

Two Views of the Chamber of the Stone House

Finding a red cow that meets all the halachic requirements of a parah adumah was a rare event in Temple times. In fact, from the construction of the Tabernacle through the era of the Second Temple — a period of over 1000 years — only nine such cows were found (Parah 3:5). Since this opportunity came along so infrequently, extreme care was taken to ensure that it was prepared in the utmost sanctity. One of these requirements is that the Kohen who would handle the ashes of the cow must be quarantined within a dedicated chamber in the Temple, and denied all human contact for fear of contracting tumah, for seven days.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Chamber of Shushan Habirah

Three 1-amah measuring sticks.
The Chamber of Shushan Habirah [the Capital] served as the repository for two different measuring sticks of the amah. In the northeast corner was a measuring stick that was half a fingerbreadth longer than a standard amah of six handbreadths and in the southeast corner was a stick that was a full fingerbreadth longer than a standard amah. This chamber had a depiction of the city of Shushan on its outer wall and this feature gave the chamber its name.