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MIDDOT 2:22:2 All those who enter the Temple mount enter at the right, go around, and leave at the left, `except for him to whom something happened, who goes around to the left. `“What ails you, that you go around to the left?” `“For I am a mourner.” `“May he who dwells in this house comfort you.” `“That I am excommunicated.” ………..

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"Whoever has not seen Herod's building - has not seen a beautiful building in his life." Babylonian Talmud Bava Batra 4:A

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The Altar

The most prominent object in the Court of the Priests was the immense altar of unhewn stones, * a square of not less than 48 feet, and, inclusive of 'the horns,' 15 feet high.

• They were 'whitened' twice a year.

• Passover & Sukkot

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MIDDOT 3:1The altar was thirty-two by thirty-two [cubits] [at the base]. `It rose by one cubit and drew in by one cubit [on every side]. `This is the foundation. `Thus was left [an area] thirty cubits by thirty. `It rose by five cubits and drew in by one cubit. `This is the circuit. `Thus was left [an area] twenty-eight by twenty-eight. `The area of the horns is a cubit on this side and a cubit on that side. `Thus was left [an area] twenty-six by twenty-six. `The place for the passage of the priests is a cubit on this side and a cubit on that side. `Thus was left [an area] twenty-four by twenty-four [as] the place for the [altar] fire. `Said R. Yose, “At the outset it was only twenty-eight by twenty-eight. It draws in and rises in this same measure, so that the area for the altar fire turns out to be twenty by twenty [II Chron. 4: 1].

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`“But when the men of the Exile came up, they added four cubits at the south and four cubits at the west, in the shape of a gamma, `“since it is said, And the altar hearth shall be twelve cubits long by twelve broad, square Ezek. 43:16. `“Is it possible that it should be only twelve by twelve? `“But when it also says, In the four quarters thereof, it teaches that from the middle one measures twelve cubits in all directions” [so that the area for the altar fire must be twenty-four by twenty-four]. `And a red line goes around it at the middle, to effect a separation between the drops of blood which are tossed on the top and the drops of blood which are tossed on the bottom. `And the foundation extended all the length of the north side and all the length of the west side, `and projects one cubit to the south and one cubit to the east.

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Tamid 3:8From Jericho did they hear the sound of the great gate opening. From Jericho did they hear the sound of the shovel [M. 5:6]. From Jericho did they hear the sound of the wooden device which Ben Qatin made for the laver. From Jericho did they hear the sound of Gabini, the crier. From Jericho did they hear the sound of the flute. From Jericho did they hear the sound of the cymbal. From Jericho did they hear the sound of the singing. From Jericho did they hear the sound of the shofar {shofar A ram’s horn, blown on set occasions in Temple and synagogue worship.} There are those who say, “Also the voice of the high priest when he made mention of the divine name on the Day of Atonement.” From Jericho did they smell the scent of the compounding of the incense. `Said R. Eleazar b. Diglai, “My father’s house and goats were on the mountain of Mikhwar. And they sneezed from the smell of the compounding of the incense.”

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TAMID 2:3 They began heaping up the twigs to prepare the altar fire. `And are all sorts of wood valid for the altar fire? `Yes. `All sorts of wood are

valid for the altar fire, `except for olive wood and wood of the vine.

`But with these were they used [to light the fire]: boughs of the fig tree, or of the walnut tree, or of

oleaster wood.

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On the altar, which at the top was only 36 feet wide, three fires burned, one (east) for the offerings, the second (south) for the incense, the third (north) to supply the means for kindling the other two. The four 'horns' of the altar were straight, square, hollow prominences, that at the south-west with two openings, into whose silver funnels the drink-offerings, and, at the Feast of Tabernacles, the water from the Pool of Siloam, were poured. A red line all round the middle of the altar marked that above it the blood of sacrifices intended to be eaten, below it that of sacrifices wholly consumed, was to be sprinkled.

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The system of drainage into chambers below and canals, all of which could be flushed at will, was perfect; the blood and refuse being swept down into Kedron and towards the royal gardens. Finally, north of the altar were all requisites for the sacrifices- rows, with four rings each, of ingenious mechanism, for fastening the sacrifices; eight marble tables for the flesh, fat, and cleaned 'inwards'; eight low columns, each with three hooks, for hanging up the pieces; a marble table for laying them out, and one of silver for the gold and silver vessels of the service.

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Tamid 2:2

They began heaping up ashes on the apple [ash pile]. `And the apple was in the middle of the altar. `Sometimes there were three hundred kors [of ashes] `And at festival they did not clear away the ashes, `for they are an ornament to the altar. `The priests never through neglect failed to remove the ashes.

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"For Ezra had set his heart to seek the law of the L-rd and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and

ordinances." Ezra 7:10

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Tamid 7:4The singing which the Levites did sing in the sanctuary: `On the first day they did sing, The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof, the world and they who live therein Ps. 24.

`On the second day they did sing, Great is the Lord and highly to be praised in the city of our God, even upon his holy hill Ps. 48. On the third day they did sing, God stands in the congregation of God, he is a judge among the gods Ps. 82. `

On the fourth day they did sing, O Lord God to whom vengeance belongs, thou God to whom vengeance belongs, show yourself Ps. 94.

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On the fifth day they did sing, Sing we happily to God our strength, make a joyful noise to the God of Jacob Ps. 81.

On the sixth day they did sing, The Lord is king and has put on glorious apparel Ps. 93.

On the Sabbath day they did sing, A Psalm, A song for the Sabbath day Ps. 92— `A psalm, a song for the world that is to come, for the day which is wholly Sabbath rest for eternity.

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TAMID 1:2 He who wants to take up [the ashes] from the altar gets up early, `and immerses before the superintendent comes by. `And at what time does the superintendent come by? `Not all the times are the same. `Sometimes he comes at cockcrow, or near then, earlier or later. `The superintendent came and knocked on their door. `And they opened it to him. `He said to them, “Let him who has immersed come and cast lots.” `They cast lots. `Whoever won won.

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Alfred Edersheim The Temple & Ministry and Service

chapter 6

Large Number of Priests Needed

So complicated a service, and one which enjoined such frequent sacrifices, must always have kept a large number of priests busy in the courts of the Temple. This was especially the case on the great festivals; and if the magnificent Temple could hold its 210,000 worshippers- the liturgy, music, and ritual were equally gorgeous- cannot wonder that it required, multitudes of white-robed priests properly to discharge its ministry. Tradition has it, that on the Day of Atonement no less than five hundred priests were wont to assist in the services.

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Five gates were in the [wall of the] Temple mount: `two Hulda gates at the south, serving for entry and exit; `Qiponos gate on the west, serving for entry and exit; `Tadi gate on the north, serving no purpose at all; `the Eastern Gate— `on it is a picture of the Walled City of Shushan— `through which the high priest who burns the red cow, and the cow, and all who assist in its rite, go forth to the Mount of Olives [M. Par. 4:1]

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VI All the walls which were there were high, except the eastern wall [of the Temple mount] [Ez. 40:5]. `For the priest who burns the red cow stands at the top of the Mount of Olives and takes his direction, looking directly at the door of the heikhal {heikhal Temple building.}, at the time of the tossing of blood.

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