Kelim, Chapter Seventeen, Mishnah Ten
Our mishnah continues to deal with the size of the cubits used to measure various parts of the Temple. In today’s mishnah we learn that there were two different size cubits, one of six handbreadths (this is the cubit referred to in yesterday’s mishnah) and one of five handbreadths.
1) Rabbi Meir says: all cubits were of the moderate length except that for the golden altar, the horns, the surround and the base.
2) Rabbi Judah says: the cubit used for the building was one of six handbreadths and that for the vessels one of five handbreadths.
Section one: According to Rabbi Meir, everything in the Temple was measured in the moderate length of the cubit, the one that was exactly six handbreadths, and not the longer length mentioned in yesterday’s mishnah (six handbreadths and one fingerbreadth). The only exceptions were the golden incense altar, the horns of the outer altar, the surround (a protrusion around the outer altar), and the base of the altar. All of these were measured with the five handbreadth cubit.
Section two: Rabbi Judah says that all of the measurements made in the building of the Temple itself were based on the six handbreadths cubit, while those used for making the vessels, used the smaller cubit of five handbreadths.