Monday, September 29, 2014

View of the Golden Shovel for the Incense

Twice a day the Kohanim would burn incense on the Golden Altar of the Sanctuary Building. The incense would be spread upon a bed of smoldering coals collected from a special fire kindled on the Outer Altar. A Kohen would ascend the ramp with a silver shovel that had a capacity of 4 kav (approximately 350 cubic inches) and scoop up coals from the incense fire located near the southwest corner of the Altar's top. After descending back down the ramp, he would pour the coals into a golden shovel with a capacity of 3 kav (260 cubic inches).
 

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Height of the Chambers of the Knives


SUMMARY A new sun study of the Courtyard reveals Tiferes Yisrael's opinion on the height of the Chambers of the Knives.


Alert reader U. Weinstein sent in the following comment to an earlier post:
It seems that you did not follow the assumption of the Ezras Kohanim that the 'beis hachalifos' was only as tall as the 'ta'im' and not 100 Amos tall as the Ulam.
Until reading this comment I had not given the matter any thought since, to the best of my knowledge, Tiferes Yisrael in Middos (upon whom my Temple model is based) does not mention anything about the height of the Chambers of the Knives [Beis Hachalifos]. Now, of course, I was curious whether his opinion on the matter could be deduced somehow. It turns out that it can, and one important part of the answer requires looking not at the shape of the building itself, but at its shadow.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Preparing the Red Cow on the Mount of Olives

The Torah requires that the preparation of the red cow [parah adumah] be carried out facing the opening of the Sanctuary. While the Tabernacle was still in use as the Jews wandered in the wilderness, the red cow would have been prepared off to the east of wherever the Tabernacle happened to be situated at the time. During the First and Second Temple eras, the procedure was carried out on the Mount of Olives, east of the Temple.

Mount Moriah and the Mount of Olives were separated by the Kidron Valley, and to allow the Kohanim to easily reach one from the other a walkway was constructed starting from the eastern gate of the Temple Mount. This walkway was supported by two levels of arches, with the columns of the upper level located over the airspaces of the lower level (Parah 3:6). This arrangement ensured that anyone standing on the walkway would be completely protected against the tumah of a grave that might be present in the ground below (see this post for more details).
The 71 members of the Great Sanhedrin line the walkway to greet the Kohen bringing the red cow to the Mount of Olives (see Parah 3:7 with Tiferes Yisrael §53).

Monday, August 18, 2014

Preview of the Temple Mount's Eastern Gateway

Currently I am modeling the eastern gateway of the Temple Mount and the walkway which led from the gateway to the Mount of Olives, further to the east. This gateway was also called the Shushan Gate, named for the depiction of the city of Shushan painted above it which served to remind all those entering this gate that it was the Persian Empire which had granted the Jews permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Creating a LEGO® Minifig Kohen

Transforming a standard LEGO minifigure into a Kohen fit for the sacrificial service requires dressing him in the four priestly vestments worn by the Kohanim: pants, robe, belt, and turban.

Pants
It is not necessary to model the pants since they were more like knickers and not visible beneath the robe.

Robe
The simplest way to create a Kohen robed in white is to use a white torso and legs. Although the "robe" look is lost when you reach the legs, this design offers the most flexibility in terms of posing the minifig for different parts of the sacrificial service: