Middot, Chapter Four, Mishnah Three

 

Mishnah Three

1)      There were thirty-eight cells there, fifteen on the north, fifteen on the south, and eight on the west.

2)      On the north and on the south there were five over five and five again over these;  

a)      On the west there were three over three and two over these.

3)      Each had three openings, one to the cell on the right and one to the cell on the left and one to the cell above.

4)      In the [one at the] northeastern corner there were five openings, one to the cell on the right, one to the cell above, one to the mesibbah, one to the door, and one to the Hekhal.

 

Explanation

Section one: Around the walls of the Hekhal and the Holy of Holies there were 38 cells or small chambers.

Section two: These chambers were built in three stories. On the northern and southern sides there were five on each story, and on the west there were three on the first two stories and two on the top story.

Section three: Each cell had three openings, one which would open to the cell on the right, one which would open to the cell on the left, and one which would open to the cell above. However, the top row of cells had only two openings.

Section four: The cell at the northeastern corner had five openings. One to the cell on the right and one above (there was no cell to its left, because there were no cells on the east). One to the mesibbah, which was a ramp that would go up from the west to the east to the roofs of the cells and the upper level of the Sanctuary. We will learn more about the mesibbah in mishnah five. The fourth opening led to the door on the northern side of the great gate at the entrance to the Hekhal. The fifth door led straight to the Hekhal. This accords with what we learned in yesterday’s mishnah, according to the opinion of the sages (and not Rabbi Judah).  

 

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