Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Tour of the Temply By Rabbi Yoav Elan
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Gates of the Courtyard

Class 7

The Main Courtyard was surrounded by walls 40 cubits (60 feet) tall and seven large gateways opened into the Courtyard from the outside. All of these gateways had the same dimensions as the Temple Mount gates 10 cubits wide and 20 cubits tall (15 feet by 30 feet), and they all had double doors. When the Jews returned from exile to build the Second Temple they were poor and could not afford to spend lavishly on the structure. At some later point when their financial situation had improved they were able to plate all of the doors of the Temple gates with gold.

The Nikanor Gate, as viewed from the Women's Courtyard

In the center of the eastern wall of the Courtyard stood the Nikanor Gate. This gate, which served as the main public entrance into the Courtyard, was named for the pious and wealthy individual who donated its two doors. He had these doors crafted of Corinthian bronze, a highly prized alloy of the ancient world, and because this metal shined like gold these doors remained in their original copper even when the other doors were plated with gold.


In the southern wall of the Courtyard were three large gates, distributed evenly along the length of the wall. The westernmost of these was the Kindling Gate through which they would bring firewood to fuel the fires of the Altar. In the center of the wall was the Firstborns Gate where firstborn animals would be brought into the Courtyard and given to the Kohanim. The third gate in the south was the Water Gate which took its name from the fact that on Succos the water libations (see Class #5) were brought into the Courtyard through this gate. This gate was selected for this purpose since it was located across from the Altar, allowing the libations to be poured onto the Altar without delay.


The northern wall also contained three large gates which were located across from those in the south. Nearest to the west was the Spark Gate, so named because the Kohanim maintained a fire there which was kept burning constantly. To the east of the Spark Gate was the Sacrifice Gate through which all animals used for sacrifices of the highest sanctity were brought into the Courtyard. [All sacrifices fall into one of two general categories: those of lesser sanctity and those of the highest sanctity. The latter category has certain stringencies associated with it, including the requirement that the animals be slaughtered in the northern half of the Courtyard. It is for this reason that the Sacrifice Gate was located in the northern wall.] The third gate in the north opened into a large chamber called the Hall of the Fire which, in turn, opened to the Courtyard. This chamber served as the sleeping quarters for the Kohanim working in the Temple and contained a large warming fire for their benefit.

_______________

For more information on this topic, and to submit questions or comments for the author, please visit the blog post of this class.



 






ARTICLES ON VAYEITZEI AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Just Five More Minutes of Sleep!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Lend Me an Ear
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5767

Going the Extra Mile
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

ArtScroll

Body and Soul
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

Be Patient!
Shlomo Katz - 5761

To Achieve Your Goals and not Cause Jealousy
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Sheepish Leadership
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Of Fire and Money
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

A Lesson In Exile & Redemption
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

Looking for a Chavrusah?

"Now I Have Someone To Blame" That's Just The Beginning
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

The Meaning of Miracles
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

Days of Eight
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

> Tightening the Hellenistic Screws: A History of Chanukah, Part I
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5774

Oh Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

A Little Background Information
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

To Beat 'Em - You Can't Join 'Em
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information