The reference numbers below that appear in parentheses (e.g., TY #43) represent vessels or parts of the structure of the Beis ha'Mikdash. The labeling follows that of the diagram of the Tiferes Yisrael. This diagram, which has been included in a separate mailing and can also be found on our site (at, is printed both in the Tiferes Yisrael Mishnayos (Midos Chapter 2 or following Midos) and in Rav P. Kahati's Mishnayos (page 290, at the beginning of Midos).

[16a - 34 lines; 16b - 20 lines]

1)[line 3]בית חשמונאיBEIS CHASHMONA'EI

(a)When the Syrian-Greeks (Yevanim) infiltrated Eretz Yisrael and attempted to defile all that was holy, a family of Kohanim named the Chashmona'im (Hasmoneans) were prepared to sacrifice their lives and fight for the honor of HaSh-m. In response, HaSh-m fought their battles and miraculously saved them from their enemies.

(b)The Yevanim had succeeded in breaching the Beis ha'Mikdash and wreaking havoc. When the Chashmona'im returned to this holiest of places, they found that the Mizbe'ach had been made Tamei, and that all of the pure olive oil stored for lighting the Menorah had been defiled. Miraculously, one sealed jar of oil was discovered. Although eight days were required to manufacture new olive oil and the oil found was enough for only one day, it was decided to light the Menorah for that one day. HaSh-m responded with yet another miracle, and the oil burned for eight full days. These events resulted in the institution of the holiday of Chanukah.

(c)Following the period of Chanukah, the members of this priestly family ruled the nation, taking for themselves the title of "prince." This was due to that which only members of the tribe of Yehudah may rule as kings. Eventually, descendants of the Chashmona'im who were not as fiercely loyal to HaSh-m as their ancestors seized the kingship. Before the destruction of the second Beis ha'Mikdash, Herod, slave of the Chashmona'im, rebelled. He murdered every member of the family, and declared himself king. Thus the Chashmona'ei family no longer has any living members.

2)[line 3]ששקצום מלכי (עובדי כוכבים) [יון]SHIKETZUM MALCHEI (OVDEI KOCHAVIM) [YAVAN]- that the kings of Greece defiled them [by offering sacrifices to Avodah Zarah upon them]

3)[line 4]בה יורדין לבית הטבילהBAH YORDIN L'VEIS HA'TEVILAH- from it they would descend to the room with a Mikvah (this is the Lishkas Beis ha'Moked; see Background to 15:38)

4)[line 5]מאן תנא מדות?MAN TANA MIDOS?- who is the author of [the Mishnayos in Maseches] Midos [unless otherwise specified]?

5)[line 6]עזרת נשיםEZRAS NASHIM

(a)The first courtyard one encounters when entering the Beis ha'Mikdash is the Women's Courtyard. It was so named as it is where women who come to view the Simchas Beis ha'Sho'evah on Sukos would stand.

(b)At first the women would enter after the men filled the inner Azaros, and stand in the courtyard itself. When fraternization between members of the opposite gender began to occur, a second-story balcony was built in this courtyard to accommodate the women instead.

6)[line 7]מאה ושלשים וחמשME'AH U'SHELOSHIM V'CHAMESH- one hundred and thirty five [Amos]

7)[line 9]בד' מקצועותיהB'ARBA MIKTZO'OSEHA- in its four corners [each of which was 40 Amos square]

8)[line 9]ומה היו משמשות?U'MAH HAYU MESHAMSHOS?- and what were they used for?


(a)If a person makes a vow to become a Nazir without stipulating how long he wishes his vow to be in effect, he becomes a Nazir for a period of thirty days. During this time, he may not:

1.cut his hair;

2.become Tamei by touching or being in the same room as a corpse;

3.consume any product of a grapevine. If he specifies a period of time for which he wishes his vow to be in effect, then he must follow all of these regulations for the time period specified.

(b)Upon the completion of his period of Nezirus, a Nazir offers three sacrifices:

1.a male sheep as an Olah,

2.a female sheep as a Chatas,

3.a ram as a Shelamim. Together with the Shelamim he brings 6 and 2/3 Esronos of Soles (fine flour) which are made into 20 loaves of Matzah, 10 Chalos (unleavened loaves) and 10 Rekikin (flat Matzos). He then shaves all of his hair and burns it in the fire underneath the pot in which the Shelamim is cooked (Bamidbar 6:18).

10)[line 12]ומשלחין תחת הדודU'MESHALCHIN TACHAS HA'DUD- and throw their [shaven] hair under the pot [in which the Shelamim is cooked]

11)[line 13]דירDIR- storehouse

12)[line 14]בעלי מומיןBA'ALEI MUMIN (BA'AL MUM)

(a)A Kohen who has a Mum (physical blemish) is forbidden to perform Avodah in the Beis ha'Mikdash, whether he has a Mum Kavu'a (a permanent blemish; e.g. an amputated hand or foot) or a Mum Over (a temporary blemish; e.g. boils). The RAMBAM in SEFER HA'MITZVOS maintains that these are counted as two separate negative commandments (#'s 70 and 71), while the RAMBAN rules that they are included in one Lav.

(b)There are three categories of blemishes (Bechoros 43a):

1.those that invalidate both a Kohen from performing the Avodah as well as an animal from being offered as a sacrifice upon the Mizbe'ach;

2.those that invalidate a Kohen but not an animal;

3.those that invalidate both a Kohen and an animal, but only due to Mar'is ha'Ayin - since they appear to be invalidating blemishes.

(c)The status of a Kohen, and the Avodah he performed, while he was a Ba'al Mum depends on the severity of the Mum:

1.If his Mum is one that invalidates both Kohanim and animals, then he is liable to receive Malkus (lashes) if he performed the Avodah b'Mezid according to the Rabanan, and Misah b'Yedei Shamayim according to Rebbi. His Avodah is Pesulah whether he performed it b'Shogeg or b'Mezid;

2.If his Mum is one that invalidates only Kohanim, then his Avodah is Kesheirah (RAMBAM Hilchos Bi'as Mikdash 6:6);

3.If his Mum is one that prevents him from performing the Avodah only due to Mar'is ha'Ayin, then he does not receive Malkos, and his Avodah is Kesheirah (Sefer ha'Chinuch #275, 276).

13)[line 14]ומתליעיןMASLI'IN- check for worms [as wormy wood is unfit for the Mizbe'ach]

14)[line 16]המצורעיןLISHKAS HA'METZORA'IM (METZORA)

(a)If one develops a white patch on his skin the size of a Gris (a Cilician bean, approximately the size of a dime) which appears to be Tzara'as, he must go to a Kohen, as the status of Tzara'as can only be determined by the pronouncement of a Kohen. If the Kohen ascertains that the whiteness of the patch is indeed the hue of a Nega Tzara'as, then the status of the individual depends on its appearance. If there are Simanei Tum'ah, which include the spreading of the patch, unaffected skin in the middle of the patch, or two white hairs growing in the patch, then the Kohen immediately declares him to be a Metzora. Such an individual is known as a Metzora Muchlat. If the Kohen does not find any Simanei Tum'ah, then he pronounces him Tamei for one week. At this point the person in question is known as a Metzora Musgar. After the week passes, the Kohen returns to see if the appearance of the patch has developed Simanei Tum'ah. If it has, the Kohen pronounces him a Metzora Muchlat. If it has not, the individual is once again a Metzora Musgar for the duration of a week. At the end of this second week, if no Simanei Tum'ah appear, the Metzora becomes Tahor. A Metzora Muchlat remains Tamei until his Simanei Tum'ah disappear. At that point - after a Kohen determines that the Tzara'as has indeed departed - he is Tahor once pronounced so by the Kohen.

(b)The four shades of white considered Tzara'as are:

1.Baheres, which is the color of snow;

2.Se'es, which is the color of clean, white newborn lamb's wool;

3.Sapachas of Baheres, which is the color of the plaster used to whitewash the Beis ha'Mikdash;

4.Sapachas of Se'es, which is the color of the white membrane found on the inside of an egg.

(c)No Metzora is allowed into "Machaneh Yisrael," i.e. any walled city in Eretz Yisrael.

(d)On the day that a Metzora is healed from his Tzara'as, he procures two kosher birds (Tziporei Metzora), a piece of cedar, some crimson wool and a hyssop branch. One of the birds is slaughtered over fresh spring water in a clay bowl. A Kohen dips the other bird, along with the other articles, into the spring water that is mixed with the blood and sprinkles it seven times on the Metzora. The living bird is sent away towards the fields. Both birds are Asur b'Hana'ah, but the Isur no longer applies to the living bird once it is sent off to the fields.

(e)The Metzora next shaves all places on his body that have a collection of hair and that are exposed, and immerses in a Mikvah. He is now considered Tahor to the extent that he may enter a settlement, but marital relations are forbidden (Moed Katan 7b). He waits seven days, and on the seventh day he once more shaves and immerses. He is now completely Tahor but is still a Mechusar Kaparah (see Background to Pesachim 59:5).

(f)On the eighth day, the Metzora must bring three Korbanos to complete his Taharah. These Korbanos consist of two male sheep and one female sheep. One of the male sheep is offered as an Olah, and the other is offered as an Asham. The female sheep is offered as a Chatas. If he cannot afford these animals, he is called a poor Metzora. The poor Metzora brings two turtledoves or two common doves as the Olah and the Chatas; however, a sheep is still necessary for his Asham.

(g)The Metzora also brings a Log of olive oil to the Beis ha'Mikdash as part of his purification process. A Kohen lifts up and waves (Tenufah) the live Korban Asham while the Log of oil rests upon it. After the Asham is slaughtered, some of its blood is placed upon the middle section of cartilage of the Metzora's right ear, some on his right thumb, and some on his right big toe. These parts of his body must be in the Azarah at the time that the Kohen applies the blood. For this purpose he stands in the gate of Nikanor (the eastern gate of the Azarah, named for he who donated the brass doors of the gate; see Yoma 38). Although all of the other gates of the Azarah have the status of the Azarah, Sha'ar Nikanor is only as Kadosh as Har ha'Bayis. The Chachamim arranged this so that a Metzora can put his head, right hand and right foot into the Azarah while standing under the awning of the gate.

(h)On the eighth day, the Metzora immerses himself in a Mikvah again before receiving the blood in the Beis ha'Mikdash. The Mikvah for this purpose was located in the Lishkas ha'Metzora'im (TY #13), the chamber located in the northeastern corner of the Ezras Nashim.

15)[line 17]אמר ר"א בן יעקבAMAR REBBI ELIEZER BEN YAKOV- From that which the opinion of Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov is stated as the continuation of an anonymous Mishnah, it is apparent that his opinion is that which has been expressed until this point.

16a)[line 19]ייןYAYIN- wine [for wine libations as part of the Nesachim (see Background to Shekalim 14:78)

b)[line 19]שמןSHEMEN- oil [with which to light the Menorah, as well as for Menachos (see Background to Menachos 2:1)]

17)[line 22]שםSHAM- there [in the Beis ha'Mikdash]


(a)A Parah Adumah is a red cow; if there are as many as two hairs of any other color it is not a Parah Adumah (see Maseches Parah 2:5). Only a cow which has never had a yoke placed upon it nor performed any other work is fit to be used as a Parah Adumah. A place is prepared for its slaughter on Har ha'Zeisim (also known as Har ha'Mishchah; "Mishchah" means oil), opposite the gate to the Azarah (the courtyard of the Beis ha'Mikdash). After it is slaughtered, its blood is sprinkled in the direction of the Beis ha'Mikdash seven times, and its carcass is then burned. A cedar branch, some Ezov branches and a piece of crimson wool are thrown into the carcass of the cow as it is burning (Bamidbar 19:1-22).

(b)If a person or utensil becomes Tamei by touching a Mes or being in the same room as a Mes (or a part of a Mes which is Metamei b'Ohel), he/it must wait seven days before he/it is able to go to the Mikvah in order to become Tahor. On the third and seventh days, Mei Chatas is sprinkled on the person or utensil. Mei Chatas is a mixture of ashes of a Parah Adumah and spring water. A person who is Tahor dips three Ezov (hyssop) branches which have been bound together into the mixture, and sprinkles them on the person or utensil which is Tamei. After this process is complete, the person or utensil is immersed in a Mikvah. Once night falls, the purification process is complete (Bamidbar 19:17-19).

19)[line 23](ומכוון) [ומתכוון](U'MECHVEN) [U'MISKAVEN]- and he aligns [himself]

20)[line 11]פסחו של היכלPISCHO SHEL HEICHAL- TY #61; the entranceway to the Sanctuary [in front of the Kodesh ha'Kodashim, which housed the Menorah, the Shulchan, and the Mizbe'ach ha'Ketores]

21)[line 24]גובהן עשרים אמהGOVHAN ESRIM AMAH- Although the gates in the Beis ha'Mikdash are a full twenty Amos tall, the eastern wall must to be low enough for the Kohen to see the entrance to the Heichal over it according to this opinion. Clearly, there is something to obstruct his view such that a twenty Amah window is not large enough to see the door to the Heichal through.

22)[line 24]לפנים ממנו סורגLIFNIM MIMENU SOREG (SOREG)

(a)Within the wall surrounding the Temple Mount is the Soreg (TY #7). The Soreg consists of a ten Tefach latticework of wooden slats, and surrounds the Azarah courtyard (including the Ezras Nashim), ten Amos away from its outer wall. No Temei Mes is allowed beyond this point.

23)[line 25]חילCHEIL

(a)The area extending for ten Amos from the Soreg (see previous entry) until the outer wall of the Azaros is called the Cheil (TY #8). Twelve steps, each one half-Amah high, led up to the Azaros across the entire length of the Cheil and were covered by an awning. These steps were used for seating purposes as well.

(b)According to the Rambam, the Cheil is a retaining wall surrounding the Azaros. Parts of a wall which may be the wall to which the Rambam refers still may be observed today.

24a)[line 26]רום מעלהRUM MA'ALAH- the height of each step

b)[line 26]שילחהSHILCHAH- and its depth

25)[line 27]עזרת ישראלEZRAS YISRAEL

(a)After climbing the fifteen stairs in the west of the Ezras Nashim in the Beis ha'Mikdash, one was in the Ezras Yisrael (TY #22). This area, in which any male member of Klal Yisrael was allowed to stand, extended for eleven Amos. At that point began the Duchan, upon which the Leviyim stood while singing Shir.

26)[line 28]אולםULAM

(a)The roofed hallway in front of the Sanctuary (Heichal) is called the Ulam (TY #56). The roof above the Ulam is seventeen stories high.


(a)The outer Mizbe'ach in the Beis ha'Mikdash, also known as the Mizbach ha'Olah (TY #47), consists of three square concrete and stone platforms placed one atop the other. The base (Yesod) measures thirty-two Amos square by one Amah high. (The Yesod did not full extend around the entire Mizbe'ach; see (b) below.) The middle platform measures thirty Amos square by five Amos high. The upper platform upon which the sacrifices were burned (termed the "Mekom ha'Ma'arachah" by the Rambam), was twenty-eight Amos square by three Amos high. A Keren (lit. horn) - a block measuring one-Amah cubed - was placed upon each corner of the upper platform (RAMBAM Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah 2:5-8). The Amos with which the Mizbe'ach is measured consist of five Tefachim (Menachos 97a).

(b)The Yesod protruded one Amah along the entire northern and western sides. It protruded for the length of only one Amah to the south of the southwest corner and one Amah to the east of the northeast corner, however. As such, there was no Yesod on the southeastern corner. The blood of many Korbanos was dashed upon the flank of the Mizbe'ach above the Yesod, from which point it ran down the side to the Yesod (Midos 36a, Mishnah 2; Zevachim 37a, based upon Vayikra 5:9). What remained of this blood was poured directly onto the Yesod (Shemos 29:12; Vayikra 4:7; etc.).

(c)The one-Amah width where middle platform jutted out beyond the upper platform is called the "Sovev", since it encircles the Mizbe'ach. Kohanim used the Sovev as a walkway from which to perform various parts of the service.

(d)The Keranos were hollow. (RAMBAM ibid. 2:8)

(e)A ramp (Kevesh) leads up to the top of the Mizbe'ach from its southern side. The Kevesh is thirty-two Amos long and sixteen Amos wide, and is separated from the south side of the Mizbe'ach by a hair's breadth (Pesachim 77a, Zevachim 62b). It is indented on its underside where it meets the Mizbe'ach such that it fits over the Sovev.

28)[line 29]שםSHAM- there [between the Ezras Yisrael and the Ezras Kohanim]

29)[line 29]דוכןDUCHAN

(a)The Duchan (TY #25) is a raised platform upon which the Leviyim stand while singing Shir. The Shir consisted of chapters of Tehilim whose theme fit that of the day; these chapters are those recited currently as the Shir Shel Yom. The Duchan lies between the eleven-Amah Ezras Yisrael and the eleven-Amah Ezras Kohanim. Three steps lead up to the Duchan. The Leviyim stand facing the Sanctuary with their backs to those standing in the Ezras Yisrael while singing.

30)[line 31]היינו דאיכסי ליה פיתחאHAINU D'ICHSI LEI PISCHA- that is why the doorway was obscured. The twelve steps of the Cheil, fifteen steps in the Ezras Nashim, and twelve steps leading up to the Ulam - all of which were one half-Amah high - totaled 19 1/2 Amos of height from the eastern entranceway to the Beis ha'Mikdash until the door to the Heichal. This still left a window for the Kohen burning the Parah Adumah on Har ha'Mishchah to see the door of the Heichal through a twenty-Amah high gate. According to Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov, however, there was an additional Amah of height between the Ezras Yisrael and Ezras Kohanim. (The TOSFOS YESHANIM maintains that there were an additional two and a half Amos of height, since according to Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov the three half-Amah steps of the Duchan ran across the length of the entire Ezras Kohanim.) This explains why the eastern wall must be lower than the other walls in the Beis ha'Mikdash.

31)[line 32]דמתחזי ליה פיתחא בגוויהD'MISCHAZI LEI PISCHA B'GAVEI- that the doorway [of the Heichal] can be seen through

32)[line 33]הא מני?HA MANI?- who is [the author of the Beraisa who maintains that the view of the Kohen burning the Parah Adumah would be obscured, even if the doorway would be twenty Amos tall]? (See RASHI to 17a DH Ela for an alternate understanding of this question and the ensuing Sugya.)

33)[last line]ממוצעMEMUTZA- centered

34)[last line]היו לוHAYU LO- it had [in width]


35)[line 5]נמצא מזבח מכוון כנגד היכל וכותליוNIMTZA MIZBE'ACH MECHUVAN KENEGED HEICHAL V'KOSLAV- The area of the Heichal was twenty Amos wide. The thickness of its walls to the north and south was six Amos. Altogether, the width equaled thirty-two Amos. Therefore, according to the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah who maintained that the Mizbe'ach - like the Heichal - was centered in the Azarah, the Yesod of the Mizbe'ach and the width of the Heichal and its walls lined up perfectly.

36)[line 3]ואי סלקא דעתךV'IY SALKA DATACH- The Gemara now questions the assertion of Rav Ada bar Ahavah.

37)[line 5]כל העזרהKOL HA'AZARAH- the entire area of the Beis ha'Mikdash excluding that of the Ezras Nashim

38a)[line 8]מקום דריסת רגלי ישראלMAKOM DERISAS RAGLEI YISRAEL- where Yisraelim may walk; the Ezras Yisrael

b)[line 8]מקום דריסת רגלי הכהניםMAKOM DERISAS RAGLEI HA'KOHANIM (EZRAS KOHANIM)

(a)The eleven-Amah wide area between the Ezras Yisrael and the Mizbe'ach is called the Ezras Kohanim. No Zar (non-Kohen) is allowed in this area or beyond. The Kohanim stood here when performing various Avodos relating to the Korbanos, such as the dashing of the blood of the Korban Pesach against the side of the Mizbe'ach.

39)[line 11]אחורי בית הכפורתACHOREI BEIS HA'KAPORES- behind the western wall of the Kodesh ha'Kodashim (TY #74) [until the far western wall of the Azarah]

40)[line 13]הכבשHA'KEVESH- TY #48; the ramp of the Mizbe'ach (see above, entry #25

41)[line 14]טבעותTABA'OS- TY #46; 24 rings, set into the floor of the Azarah to the north of the Mizbe'ach. These were used for the slaughter of Korbanos. The ring opened on a hinge to allow the neck of the animal to enter, and then closed to hold it firmly in place.

b)[line 15]שלחנותSHULCHANOS- TY #45; eight marble tables upon which the intestines of the Korbanos were rinsed clean.

c)[line 16]ננסיןNANASIN- TY #44; eight short stone (marble, according to the Tiferes Yisrael) posts. Hooks are set into square blocks of cedar-wood upon the columns, and the carcasses of Korbanos hang from them while they are skinned by the Kohanim.

42)[line 17]והמותר בין הכבש ולכותל ומקום הננסיןV'HAMOSER BEIN HA'KEVESH ULA'KOSEL U'MAKOM HA'NANASIN- and the remaining [unaccounted twenty-five Amos are divided] amongst the area between the ramp of the Mizbe'ach and the southern wall of the Azarah and the space taken up by the skinning posts (see Insights)

43)[last line]הא רובא דמזבח בדרום קאיHA RUBA D'MIZBE'ACH B'DAROM KA'I- In order for the Mizbe'ach to be centered in the Azarah, no more than 51 1/2 Amos may be present between it and the northern wall. 48 Amos are accounted for in this Mishnah, and they do not include the space taken up by the Shulchanos - which Rashi says must be at least four Amos based upon Yechezkel 40 - or the space taken up by the Nanasim.