Thursday, March 14, 2024

Yoma 71b – 73b: Storing the Mishkan

The Gemara states that the kerashim (wall beams) of the Mishkan will remain “standing forever.” This fits nicely with the account in Sotah 9a where we learn that the Mishkan components were hidden away when the First Beis Hamikdash was built. According to one approach, these components were stored in the upper level of the Heychal.

Above the Kodesh and Kodesh Hakodashim was the upper level of the Heychal. All the dimensions of this level — height, width, and length — matched those of the first level. The interior was similarly decorated with gold plating and this level had windows corresponding to those of the lower level. The only way to reach the upper level was via a door in its southern wall that was accessed by a ramp along the southern side of the building (see illustration).

Two curtains hung across the space of the amah traksin in the upper level to divide the area above the Kodesh from the area above the Kodesh Hakodashim. In addition, blocks of wood protruded from the northern and southern walls to further mark this boundary. 

In the floor of the upper level above the Kodesh Hakodashim were access hatches, spaced an arm’s reach apart, around the perimeter of the room. When repair work had to be done in the Kodesh Hakodashim, workers would be lowered down through these openings in three-sided boxes so that they would not be able to see any more of the Kodesh Hakodashim than they had to for their work. These openings were covered when not in use, both for safety purposes and to prevent workers in the upper level from peering down into the Kodesh Hakodashim.

Now, the Gemara in Sotah 9a itself states that the Mishkan components were hidden away in the tunnels beneath the Beis Hamikdash. It is possible that these components were initially stored in the upper level of the Heychal but when the destruction became imminent they were moved to a more secure location in the underground tunnels, just as was done with the Aron

Printable version of this post for others in your shul or chaburah.

This edition of Temunei Kodesh is the final installment for maseches Yoma.

*This post is meant to aid those in the Oraysa Learning Program. This site is not affiliated with or endorsed by that program.*

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