Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Happy Isru Chag Succos 5783!

At the end of another Succos in the Beis Hamikdash the Kohanim and Leviim started cleaning up after yom tov. They had more than just their succos to take down — there was also a large project waiting for them in the Women's Courtyard.

On the holiday of Succos the Rejoicing of the Water-drawing would take place inside the Women's Courtyard. The celebration began on the second night of the holiday when the great sages and pious men of the generation would assemble in this courtyard to dance, juggle, and sing God's praises while scores of Leviim stood upon the fifteen round steps in front of the Nikanor Gate (in the western wall of this courtyard) providing musical accompaniment. This rejoicing continued all night until dawn when, with great ceremony, a delegation was dispatched to a nearby spring to draw water for that day's water libations which would be poured onto the Altar. Numerous spectators, both men and women, stood along the sides of the courtyard to watch these festivities. During the Second Temple era the mingling of men and women at this event led to a certain amount of frivolity (this had not been the case in the First Temple) and steps were taken to correct this. The Sages came up with an innovative solution in which the women would gather upon balconies constructed within the courtyard while the men would stand below on ground level. 

These balconies for the women ran along the southern, eastern, and northern sides of the courtyard, but not the western side. Halfway up the walls were protruding stone ledges that supported the wooden planks which formed the floorboards of the balcony. A row of marble columns, similar to those used on the Temple Mount, encircled the interior of the Women's Courtyard, and these, too, may have been used to support the balcony. Above the floorboards they built row upon row of ascending steps to afford all of the women a good view of the festivities below. As a safety measure, the entire balcony was surrounded by a protective fence. Only the stone columns and protruding balcony supports were permanent fixtures whereas the floorboards and steps were put up each year during Succos and then taken down after the holiday.

Here is a small Lego® diorama depicting the balcony being disassembled right after Succos.

Kohanim in OSHA-approved gear take down the heavy beams of the balcony.

The balcony was supported by a stone ledge halfway up the wall and by large columns along the inside of the wall.

The tops of the columns were 20 amos (about 30 feet) above the ground!

Each column was topped with a flowered capital.

For the wide column base I used a 41x15 mm Technic wheel, and the column itself uses a stack of 20x30 Technic wheels. The 41 mm wheel does not come in white, but a little bit of Bricklink Studio magic fixed that.

Lego® is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize, or endorse this site.

1 comment:

  1. The grimace on your Lego guy certainly depicted the weight of that beam. Great visual!


To prevent spam, all comments will be moderated.