Menachot 94b:1מנחות צ״ד ב:א
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94bצ״ד ב

רבי חנינא אמר כמין תיבה פרוצה ר' יוחנן אמר כמין ספינה רוקדת

Rabbi Ḥanina says: It was rectangular, with a wide base and two parallel walls with an open space between them, like a box that is open on two sides. Rabbi Yoḥanan says that the shewbread was like a rocking boat, i.e., a triangular-shaped boat with a narrow base from which two walls rise at angles. Since the boat does not have a wide base it rocks from side to side.

בשלמא למאן דאמר כמין תיבה פרוצה היינו דהוו יתבי בזיכין אלא למאן דאמר כמין ספינה רוקדת היכי הוו יתבי בזיכין מקום עביד להו

The Gemara comments: Granted, according to the one who said the shewbread was like a box that is open on two sides, this is the reason that the bowls of frankincense could rest upon it. The Gemara asks: But according to the one who said the shewbread was like a rocking boat, how would the bowls rest upon it? The Gemara answers: The baker prepared a flat place for the bowls to rest, on the side of the shewbread.

בשלמא למאן דאמר כמין תיבה פרוצה היינו דהוו יתבי קנים אלא למאן דאמר כמין ספינה רוקדת קנים היכי הוו יתבי מורשא עביד להו

The Gemara comments: Granted, according to the one who said the shewbread was like a box that is open on two sides, this is the reason that the rods could rest upon the it. The shewbread was placed on the Table in two arrangements. In each arrangement the lowest loaf was placed on the Table and the remaining loaves were set one above the other, with rods separating the loaves. There were fourteen rods for each arrangement, each loaf being placed upon three rods, except for the uppermost loaf, which was placed on only two rods. The Gemara asks: But according to the one who said the shewbread was like a rocking boat, how were the rods resting upon the shewbread? Since the loaves had a narrow base, they would rest on only one rod. The Gemara answers: The baker would make a protrusion in the base of the loaves, which would slightly widen their pointed base, enabling them to rest with stability upon the rods.

בשלמא למאן דאמר כמין תיבה פרוצה היינו דסמכי ליה סניפין ללחם אלא למאן דאמר כמין ספינה רוקדת היכי סמכי ליה סניפין ללחם דעגיל להו מיעגל

The Gemara comments: Granted, according to the one who said the shewbread was like a box that is open on two sides, this is the reason that the panels would support the loaves. There were four gold panels that stood at the two sides of the Table and rose up above the height of the Table, and the rods rested on these panels. The loaves were placed lengthwise along the entire width of the Table, and the panels supported the two sides of the loaves, preventing them from falling to the ground. The Gemara asks: But according to the one who said the shewbread was like a rocking boat, how would the panels support the loaves? Since the sides of the shewbread rose at an angle, the panels would touch only the upper edges of the shewbread. The Gemara answers that the panels would be made to curve inward at an angle corresponding to the angle of the shewbread, so that the panels supported the loaves along their entire length.

בשלמא למאן דאמר כמין ספינה רוקדת היינו דבעינן סניפין אלא למאן דאמר כמין תיבה פרוצה סניפין למה לי אגב יוקרא דלחם תלח

The Gemara comments: Granted, according to the one who said the shewbread was like a rocking boat, this is the reason that we require panels. Since the loaves do not have a wide base they cannot stand on their own without the support of the rods and panels. The Gemara asks: But according to the one who said the shewbread was like a box that is open on two sides, why do I need panels? The loaves could stand without the assistance of rods and panels. The Gemara answers: If there were no panels supporting the loaves from the sides and the loaves were placed on top of each other, due to the weight of the upper loaves the lower loaves would break [telaḥ].

בשלמא למאן דאמר כמין ספינה רוקדת סניפין על גבי שלחן מונחין אלא למאן דאמר כמין תיבה פרוצה סניפין היכא מנח להו אארעא מנח להו אין דאמר רבי אבא בר ממל לדברי האומר כמין ספינה רוקדת סניפין על גבי שלחן מונחין לדברי האומר כמין תיבה פרוצה סניפין על גבי קרקע מונחין

The Gemara comments: Granted, according to the one who said the shewbread was like a rocking boat, it is evident that the panels are placed on the Table, in order to prevent the slanted loaves from falling to the ground. The Gemara asks: But according to the one who said the shewbread was like a box that is open on two sides, where would the priest place the panels? Since the wide base of the loaves reached the edge of the Table, there was no room for the panels there. Would the priest place them on the ground? The Gemara answers: Yes, the panels were placed on the ground, as Rabbi Abba bar Memel said: According to the statement of the one who says the shewbread was like a rocking boat, the panels are placed on the Table, whereas according to the statement of the one who says the shewbread was like a box that is open on two sides, the panels are placed on the ground.

כמאן אזלא הא דאמר ר' יהודה הלחם מעמיד את הסניפין והסניפין מעמידין את הלחם כמאן דאמר כמין ספינה רוקדת

The Gemara asks: In accordance with whose opinion is that which Rabbi Yehuda said: The loaves support the panels and the panels support the loaves, i.e., they lean against one another? It is in accordance with the opinion of the one who said the shewbread was like a rocking boat, i.e., Rabbi Yoḥanan. According to the opinion of Rabbi Ḥanina, the panels stood on the ground and did not require the support of the loaves.