Monday, April 29, 2019

SRO in the Azarah on Erev Pesach


     Once upon a time, toward the end of the Second Temple era, King Agripas wanted to take a census of the Jewish people. He told the Kohen Gadol to keep track of how many Pesach offerings were brought that year in order to estimate the number of people. The Kohen Gadol collected one kidney from each offering, and at the end of the day they found that they had counted six hundred thousand pairs of kidneys (1.2 million in total), which was double the number of people who left Egypt. Even this was not an accurate estimate, because it did not count those who were tamei or who were far away from the Beis Hamikdash (and did not participate in the korban Pesach). Furthermore, this was only a count of the korbanos, not the people, for there was not a single korban that did not have at least ten people in the group that was going to eat it. They called that year the “Crowded Pesach” because there were so many people.

(summarized from Pesachim 64b)

This Gemara indicates that on one particular year, over one million korbanos were processed in the Beis Hamikdash on erev Pesach. In this post I would like to examine how many people could reasonably fit in the Azarah at one time and how to reconcile the result with our Gemara.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Monday, November 26, 2018

Narrowing Windows in Lego®

The windows of the Sanctuary Building in the First and Second Temples were built backwards — they were wide on the outside and narrow on the inside. In this post I show what that might look like in Lego®.

Monday, November 19, 2018

LEGO® Model of the Minor Sanhedrin Courthouse

Now that I finished revising the minor sanhedrin courthouse I used Bricklink Studio to put together a Lego® version as well. Even though the Lego® version is just for fun, it did bring to light an important Kessef Mishnah in Hilchos Sanhedrin that sheds light on the seating arrangement of the court.


Monday, November 12, 2018

Meet the Maker: Jbrick Comes to Baltimore!

It's not that often that I get to see Lego® and the Beis Hamikdash come together (outside of my own house, that is). Last week Bnos Yisroel of Baltimore was honored to host Yitzy Kasowitz of Jbrick and his Second Temple Lego® model. I stopped in to meet Mr. Kasowitz and see his impressive model for myself.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Supernatural Protection

The Temple was a place where miracles occurred on a daily basis. Although the physical structure of the Temple was taken from us, the supernatural essence of the Temple can still be accessed today.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Updates to the Sanhedrin Courthouses

In the last post I explained that something was not quite right about how I depicted the judicial scribes of the Temple's sanhedrin courthouses. Here are two updated images.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Standing Up for the Write Thing

I was revisiting my computer models of the Temple's sanhedrin courthouses when I came across a point that required further investigation. The Mishnah tells us that the sanhedrin had two court stenographers, on either side of the judges, who would record the proceedings. I included this detail in my model but I made what turned out to be an erroneous assumption about what these stenography stations looked like.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Friday, September 21, 2018

LEGO® Model of the Chamber of Receipts

Bricklink.com, the website that hosts one of the best online Lego® marketplaces, recently released a new version of its building software. One of the features I like the best is a built-in photorealistic rendering engine that is sure to add some pizazz to your Instagram feed. I decided to give it a try on my Lego® version of the Chamber of Receipts.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Recoloring the Arch of Titus

Nearly every single statue, relief, or carving that we have from the ancient world appears in the natural color of the material used to produce it. Over the past 20 to 30 years scientists have used advanced instruments to detect tiny bits of pigment still discernible on the surface of these artifacts, leading to the realization that the ancient world was much more colorful than previously thought.

Monday, August 20, 2018

A Glittering Golden Gift

This post contains the answer to last week's puzzle, a description of a handsome gift given to the Temple by a monarch, and some creative use of Lego® flexible tubing, all wrapped up in one.

Monday, August 13, 2018

A Beis Hamikdash Shape Puzzle

Stop question What object in the Beis Hamikdash was shaped like an octagon, made out of gold, and displayed prominently for all to see?

Monday, August 6, 2018

Lego® Shofar Box

The last post discussed the thirteen shofaros, or donation boxes, distributed throughout the Azarah for the collection of coins from the public. Here is a Lego® version built in minifig scale using only five pieces.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Don't Blow It

We are taught that the ram's horn, or shofar, we blow on Rosh Hashanah has tremendous mystical powers. In the Beis Hamikdash they took advantage of a simpler and more practical aspect of a shofar: it makes a great anti-theft device.