THE TABLES IN THE AZARAH [Azarah:tables]
Mishnah: The Azarah was 135 Amos from north to south...the rings occupied 24 Amos. From the rings to the tables was four Amos, from the tables to the pillars was four, from the pillars to the wall of the Azarah was eight.
Tamid 30b: Beis ha'Mitbechayim was to the north of the Mizbe'ach. There were eight low stone pillars. There were squares of cedar wood on top of them in which three rows of iron hooks were fixed, on which animals were hung;
Flaying was done on marble tables between the pillars.
Rambam (Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah 5:13,15): Beis ha'Mitbechayim was 12 and a half Amos. Korbanos were hung and flayed there. Next to it were eight Amos of marble tables on which sections of animals were placed and meat was washed before cooking.
Question #1: In Yoma it says that the tables were four Amos from the pillars. In Tamid it says that the tables were between the pillars!
Question #2: Slaughtered animals were flayed on the tables while hanging on hooks fixed in the pillars. Small animals are not four Amos long!
Answer #1 (to both questions - Tosfos DH Min): There were two sets of tables.
Answer #2 (Tosfos, ibid.): Even though the tables were four Amos away, they are called 'between the pillars'. Indeed, when the legs of the Tamid were stretched out they reached the tables.
Answer #3 (Tosfos Yom Tov Midos 5:2 DH Min): The Rambam explains that there were four Amos from the middle of the extent of the tables to the pillars. The tables reached to the pillars.
Answer #4 (Rashash, ibid.): The tables could be unfolded or moved.
Question: The Tana did not say how much room the tables occupy!
Answer #1 (Rambam according to Kesef Mishneh): The tables occupied eight Amos. The Mishnah means that from the rings to the middle of the tables was four, and from the middle of the tables to the pillars was four.
Answer #2 (Rashi DH veha'Mosar): The Tana did not need to teach the area for the tables, for their width is explicit in Yechezkeil (40:42).
Note: Yechezkeil discusses Bayis Shelishi! Perhaps Rashi holds like the Rambam (Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah 1:4) that Bayis Sheni was built like Bayis Rishon and similar to what is explicit in Yechezkeil. (Had Ezra's generation merited, it would have been exactly like in Yechezkeil - Tosfos Yom Tov, introduction to Midos.)
Alternatively, Rashi holds like the Rambam (cited by Tosfos Yom Tov, ibid.) that the purpose of learning Maseches Midos is so that we will know what the measurements should be in Bayis Shelishi. Since the width of the tables is explicit in Yechezkeil, the Tana did not need to teach it.
Question (Rashash): Yechezkeil 40:42 says that each table was one and a half Amos square. Rashi (DH Ruva) says that the width was not less than one!
Answer #3 (Rashi Sof DH Ruva): The place of the tables is included with the area occupied by the pillars.
Ritva (DH veha'Tanan): A Tosefta teaches that the tables occupied six Amos.