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?

That works out to eight lambs. Every afternoon, following the second Tamid-offering, two new lambs would be brought to the Temple, inspected for blemishes, and placed in stalls #1 and #2 of this chamber; this is their Day One. At the end of the next day these lambs are inspected again and then (I would conjecture) moved down two spaces to stalls 3 and 4; this is Day Two. On Day Three they move down to stalls 5 and 6 and on Day Four they occupy stalls 7 and 8. Early the next morning one of these lambs is checked one final time by torchlight and then offered as the morning Tamid, and later that day the second lamb becomes the afternoon Tamid (based on Tiferes Yisrael to Arachin 2:5 §40).

While the other three chambers in the Hall of the Fire were small rooms, this chamber was quite long, taking up almost the entire western side of Hall, but slightly closer to the south (to leave room for the Chamber of Hall of the Fire in the north). Care was taken to ensure that this chamber was sealed off from the interior of the Hall so that the smell of the lambs would not bother the Kohanim as they slept.

Interior of the Chamber of the Lambs. The long wall is the western wall
and the two windows open to the Courtyard.

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