Yoma, Chapter Four, Mishnah Three

 

Introduction

In this mishnah the bull is slaughtered and the high priest begins to make preparations for the incense offering.

 

Mishnah Three

1)      He killed it [the bull] and received its blood in a bowl, and he gave it to the one who stirs it up on the fourth terrace within the sanctuary so that it should not congeal.   

2)      He took the coal-pan and went up to the top of the altar, and cleared the coals to both sides, and took a panful of the inner glowing cinders, and he came down and placed the coal-pan on the fourth terrace in the Temple Court.   

 

Explanation

Section one:  After making the second confession, he slaughters the second bull and receives its blood in a bowl.  The blood will later be taken to the altar and sprinkled on it.  In order that it shouldn’t congeal until that point, another priest stirs the blood continuously.  This priest is standing on the fourth terrace.  Between the outer altar and the Ulam, which was the entrance to the Hekhal (Sanctuary) there were twelve steps, divided into four groups of three.  The third step of each group was made of specially paved stones and it was called a terrace.  The fourth terrace was the uppermost one, and it was adjacent to the Ulam. 

Section two:  The priest would then take a coal-pan in which he would later turn the incense into smoke.  He would get the ashes from the outer altar in the courtyard.  First he would push the upper layer of ashes aside and take the hot burning cinders.  Then he would come down off the altar and bring the coal-pan with the hot burning cinders up to the fourth terrace, the same place where the blood was waiting.  

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