Thursday, October 5, 2023

Yoma 14a – 16a: The Chambers of the Oils and Metzoraim

The chamber in the southwestern corner of the Ezras Nashim was called the Chamber of the Shemanim [Oils] and served as the storage area for the Beis Hamikdash’s supply of oil, wine, and flour. It was named for the oils stored here since oil was present in greater quantities than wine (or flour). All of the supplies contained in this chamber were used in the Beis Hamikdash on a daily basis: oil was needed for the Menorah and, in combination with flour, for minchah-offerings, while wine was poured onto the Mizbeyach as nesachim. For this reason the Chamber of the Shemanim had its own doorway leading directly into the Azarah to its west.

The Chamber of the Metzoraim

In the northwestern corner stood the Chamber of the Metzora’im. At one point during the course of the purification process of the metzora was required to immerse in a mikveh and would do so within the northwestern chamber in a mikveh built for this purpose. Although this chamber (and the mikveh it contained) was designated primarily for metzora’im, as its name indicates, it was also open to the general public who could immerse here prior to entering the Azarah.

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