The Chamber of Parvah, located near the southeastern corner of the Azarah, was used to tan the hides of the sacrificial animals. Since this is a very smelly process, the chamber did not open directly to the Azarah but likely had a door to the adjoining Chamber of Madichin (Rinsers) which did open to the Azarah.
Thursday, November 30, 2023
Yoma 34a – 36a: The Chamber of Parvah
On the roof of the Chamber of Parvah was a mikveh used by the Kohen Gadol for four of the five immersions required as part of the avodah of Yom Kippur. The mikveh on this roof was imbued with Azarah sanctity since the only way to access it was through the Azarah (see Issue #5). While the roof certainly had a fence for safety around its edge, anyone standing on the roof would still be visible to people standing below in the Azarah, so for the privacy of the Kohen Gadol they would hold up a linen sheet around the mikveh when he immersed.
The mikveh was connected to the same system of pipes that brought water to the mikveh above the Mayim Gate from the Eitam Spring (Issue #9). In the case of the Chamber of Parvah, though, the pipes were so cleverly hidden within the walls that, to the uninitiated, it appeared as though the water was brought to the mikveh through some type of sorcery. In fact, Parvah — the man who built this chamber — is described in the Gemara as an amgushi, which is classically understood to mean sorceror. Of course, it is unimaginable that the Sages would have allowed sorcery (which is prohibited by the Torah) to be employed in the construction of a Beis Hamikdash chamber. Rather, what the Gemara means is that Parvah was an expert engineer whose designs were so ahead of his time that they gave the impression of being magical.