Monday, November 3, 2014

The Thirty-One Daily Vessels of the Sacrificial Service

Off to the west of the main Altar's ramp stood a silver table upon which the Kohanim would set out the ninety-three vessels used in the daily service. These ninety-three vessels were actually three sets of thirty-one vessels, since the Temple kept on hand two backup copies of each of its vessels in case one should become tamei or otherwise unusable. The following is a list of the thirty-one vessels (as recorded in the sefer Ezras Kohanim):

  1. Issaron measuring cup (for dry goods)
  2. Half-issaron measuring cup (for dry goods)
  3. Half-hin measuring cup (for liquid goods)
  4. Third-hin measuring cup (for liquid goods)
  5. Quarter-hin measuring cup (for liquid goods)
  6. Lug measuring cup (for liquid goods)
  7. Half-lug measuring cup (for liquid goods)
  8. Quarter-lug measuring cup (for liquid goods)
  9. Slaughtering knife
  10. Meat knife
  11. Knife for trimming fat
  12. Cleaver
  13. Mizrak, a cone-shaped vessel for receiving the blood of sacrifices
  14. Golden cup used to water the lamb for the Tamid-offering prior to its slaughter
  15. Teni, a golden basket used to collect ashes from the Golden Altar
  16. Kuz, a cup to collect unused oil from the Menorah
  17. Bezach, a large, golden spoon used to bring innards to the Altar
  18. Golden spoon of the Incense
  19. Cover for the Incense spoon
  20. Bezach for the Incense
  21. Silver machatah, a shovel used in the Incense service to collect coals from the Outer Altar
  22. Golden machatah, a shovel to carry the coals (transferred from the silver shovel) into the Sanctuary
  23. Pesachter, a large, multipurpose container
  24. Magrephah, a shovel-like vessel designed to make a loud clatter when dropped
  25. Bowl for mixing Minchah-offerings
  26. Bowl to hold the oil for Minchah-offerings
  27. Machavas, frying pan for certain Minchah-offerings
  28. Marcheshes, pot for certain Minchah-offerings
  29. Mazleig, tool for adjusting the wicks of the Menorah
  30. Machatah, tool for cleaning the lamps of the Menorah
  31. Alas, a ladle for transferring liquids
Below is what this table may have looked like. I was able to fit all thirty-one vessels (except for the pesachter) onto a space which measures 2x5 amos without having to stack them, and rather than create a very long table which was 2x15 amos I elected to keep the size of 2x5 and add two shelves below the tabletop. [A table of 6x5 amos, on the other hand, is not practical since the Kohanim would not be able to easily reach the vessels in the middle.] The pesachters are so large that I put them on the ground.
The silver table west of the Altar containing the ninety-three daily vessels

Numbers match those given in the text.

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