3ג׳
1 א

הַמִּזְבֵּחַ הָיָה שְׁלֹשִׁים וּשְׁתַּיִם עַל שְׁלֹשִׁים וּשְׁתַּיִם. עָלָה אַמָּה וְכָנַס אַמָּה, זֶה הַיְסוֹד. נִמְצָא שְׁלֹשִׁים עַל שְׁלֹשִׁים. עָלָה חָמֵשׁ וְכָנַס אַמָּה. זֶה הַסּוֹבֵב. נִמְצָא עֶשְׂרִים וּשְׁמֹנֶה עַל עֶשְׂרִים וּשְׁמֹנֶה. מְקוֹם הַקְּרָנוֹת אַמָּה מִזֶּה וְאַמָּה מִזֶּה. נִמְצָא עֶשְׂרִים וָשֵׁשׁ עַל עֶשְׂרִים וָשֵׁשׁ. מְקוֹם הִלּוּךְ רַגְלֵי הַכֹּהֲנִים, אַמָּה מִזֶּה וְאַמָּה מִזֶּה. נִמְצָא עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבַּע עַל עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבַּע, מְקוֹם הַמַּעֲרָכָה. אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי, מִתְּחִלָּה לֹא הָיָה אֶלָּא שְׁמֹנֶה וְעֶשְׂרִים עַל שְׁמֹנֶה וְעֶשְׂרִים, כּוֹנֵס וְעוֹלֶה בְּמִדָּה זוֹ, עַד שֶׁנִּמְצָא מְקוֹם הַמַּעֲרָכָה עֶשְׂרִים עַל עֶשְׂרִים. וּכְשֶׁעָלוּ בְנֵי הַגּוֹלָה, הוֹסִיפוּ עָלָיו אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת מִן הַדָּרוֹם וְאַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת מִן הַמַּעֲרָב, כְּמִין גַּמָּא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יחזקאל מג), וְהָאֲרִיאֵל שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה אֹרֶךְ בִּשְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה רֹחַב רָבוּעַ. יָכוֹל שֶׁאֵינוֹ אֶלָּא שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה עַל שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה, כְּשֶׁהוּא אוֹמֵר (שם) אֶל אַרְבַּעַת רְבָעָיו, מְלַמֵּד שֶׁמִּן הָאֶמְצַע הוּא מוֹדֵד שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה אַמָּה לְכָל רוּחַ. וְחוּט שֶׁל סִקְרָא חוֹגְרוֹ בָאֶמְצַע, לְהַבְדִּיל בֵּין הַדָּמִים הָעֶלְיוֹנִים לַדָּמִים הַתַּחְתּוֹנִים. וְהַיְסוֹד הָיָה מְהַלֵּךְ עַל פְּנֵי כָל הַצָּפוֹן וְעַל פְּנֵי כָל הַמַּעֲרָב, וְאוֹכֵל בַּדָּרוֹם אַמָּה אַחַת, וּבַמִּזְרָח אַמָּה אֶחָת:

The altar was thirty-two cubits by thirty-two. It rose a cubit and went in a cubit, and this formed the foundation, leaving thirty cubits by thirty. It then rose five cubits and went in one cubit, and this formed the surround, leaving twenty-eight cubits by twenty-eight. The horns extended a cubit in each direction, thus leaving twenty-six by twenty-six. A cubit on every side was allowed for the priests to go round, thus leaving twenty-four by twenty-four as the place for the wood pile [for the altar fire]. Rabbi Yose said: Originally, the complete area [occupied by the altar] was only twenty-eight cubits by twenty-eight, and it rose with the dimensions mentioned until the space left for the altar pile was only twenty by twenty. When, however, the children of the exile returned, they added four cubits on the north, and four on the west like a gamma, since it is said: “Now the hearth shall be twelve cubits long by twelve broad, square” (Ezekiel 43:16). Is it possible that it was only twelve cubits by twelve? When it says, “With four equal sides” (ibid), this shows that he was measuring from the middle, twelve cubits in every direction. A line of red paint ran round it in the middle to divide between the upper and the lower blood. The foundation ran the whole length of the north and of the west sides, and it took up one cubit on the south and one on the east.

2 ב

וּבְקֶרֶן מַעֲרָבִית דְּרוֹמִית הָיוּ שְׁנֵי נְקָבִים, כְּמִין שְׁנֵי חֳטָמִין דַּקִּין, שֶׁהַדָּמִים הַנִּתָּנִין עַל יְסוֹד מַעֲרָבִי וְעַל יְסוֹד דְּרוֹמִי, יוֹרְדִין בָּהֶן וּמִתְעָרְבִין בָּאַמָּה, וְיוֹצְאִין לְנַחַל קִדְרוֹן:

At the southwestern corner [of the foundation] there were two openings like two small nostrils through which the blood which was poured on the western side of the foundation and on the southern side flowed down till the two streams became mingled in the channel, through which they made their way out to the Kidron wadi.

3 ג

לְמַטָּה בָרִצְפָה בְּאוֹתָהּ הַקֶּרֶן, מָקוֹם הָיָה שָׁם אַמָּה עַל אַמָּה, וְטַבְלָא שֶׁל שַׁיִשׁ, וְטַבַּעַת הָיְתָה קְבוּעָה בָהּ, שֶׁבּוֹ יוֹרְדִין לַשִּׁית וּמְנַקִּין אוֹתוֹ. וְכֶבֶשׁ הָיָה לִדְרוֹמוֹ שֶׁל מִזְבֵּחַ, שְׁלֹשִׁים וּשְׁתַּיִם עַל רֹחַב שֵׁשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה, וּרְבוּבָה הָיְתָה לוֹ בְּמַעֲרָבוֹ, שֶׁשָּׁם הָיוּ נוֹתְנִים פְּסוּלֵי חַטַּאת הָעוֹף:

On the floor beneath at that corner there was a place a cubit square on which was a marble slab with a ring fixed in it, and through this they used to go down to the pit to clean it out. There was an ascent on the south side of the altar, thirty-two cubits [long] by sixteen broad. It had a square window in its western side where disqualified sin-offerings of birds were placed.

4 ד

אֶחָד אַבְנֵי הַכֶּבֶשׁ וְאֶחָד אַבְנֵי הַמִּזְבֵּחַ, מִבִּקְעַת בֵּית כָּרֶם. וְחוֹפְרִין לְמַטָּה מֵהַבְּתוּלָה, וּמְבִיאִים מִשָּׁם אֲבָנִים שְׁלֵמוֹת, שֶׁלֹּא הוּנַף עֲלֵיהֶן בַּרְזֶל, שֶׁהַבַּרְזֶל פּוֹסֵל בִּנְגִיעָה. וּבִפְגִימָה לְכָל דָּבָר. נִפְגְּמָה אַחַת מֵהֶן, הִיא פְסוּלָה וְכֻלָּן כְּשֵׁרוֹת. וּמְלַבְּנִים אוֹתָן פַּעֲמַיִם בַּשָּׁנָה, אַחַת בַּפֶּסַח וְאַחַת בֶּחָג. וְהַהֵיכָל, פַּעַם אַחַת, בַּפֶּסַח. רַבִּי אוֹמֵר, כָּל עֶרֶב שַׁבָּת מְלַבְּנִים אוֹתוֹ בְמַפָּה מִפְּנֵי הַדָּמִים. לֹא הָיוּ סָדִין אוֹתָן בְּכָפִיס שֶׁל בַּרְזֶל, שֶׁמָּא יִגַּע וְיִפְסֹל, שֶׁהַבַּרְזֶל נִבְרָא לְקַצֵּר יָמָיו שֶׁל אָדָם, וְהַמִּזְבֵּחַ נִבְרָא לְהַאֲרִיךְ יָמָיו שֶׁל אָדָם, אֵינוֹ בַדִין שֶׁיּוּנַף הַמְקַצֵּר עַל הַמַּאֲרִיךְ:

The stones both of the ascent and of the altar were taken from the valley of Bet Kerem. They dug into virgin soil and brought from there whole stones on which no iron had been lifted, since iron disqualifies by mere touch, though a flaw made by anything could disqualify. If one of them received a flaw, it was disqualified, but the rest were not. They were whitewashed twice a year, once at Pesah and once at Hag, and the Sanctuary was whitewashed once a year, at Pesah. Rabbi says: they were whitewashed every Friday with a cloth on account of the blood stains. The plaster was not laid on with an iron trowel, for fear that it might touch and disqualify. Since iron was created to shorten man's days and the altar was created to prolong man's days, and it is not right therefore that that which shortens should be lifted against that which prolongs.

5 ה

וְטַבָּעוֹת הָיוּ לִצְפוֹנוֹ שֶׁל מִזְבֵּחַ, שִׁשָּׁה סְדָרִים שֶׁל אַרְבַּע אַרְבַּע, וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים, אַרְבָּעָה שֶׁל שֵׁשׁ שֵׁשׁ, שֶׁעֲלֵיהֶן שׁוֹחֲטִין אֶת הַקֳּדָשִׁים. בֵּית הַמִּטְבָּחַיִם הָיָה לִצְפוֹנוֹ שֶׁל מִזְבֵּחַ, וְעָלָיו שְׁמֹנָה עַמּוּדִים נַנָּסִין, וּרְבִיעִין שֶׁל אֶרֶז עַל גַּבֵּיהֶן, וְאֻנְקְלָיוֹת שֶׁל בַּרְזֶל הָיוּ קְבוּעִין בָּהֶם, וּשְׁלֹשָׁה סְדָרִים הָיוּ לְכָל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד, שֶׁבָּהֶם תּוֹלִין. וּמַפְשִׁיטִין עַל שֻׁלְחָנוֹת שֶׁל שַׁיִשׁ שֶׁבֵּין הָעַמּוּדִים:

There were rings to the north of the altar, six rows of four each. And some say, four rows of six each. Upon them they used to slaughter the sacrificial animals. The slaughter house was to the north of the altar, and on it were eight small pillars on top of which were blocks of cedar wood, in which were fixed hooks of iron, three rows in each, upon which they would hang [the sacrifice] and they would strip its hide on tables of marble that stood between the pillars. Section one: There were twenty-four rings on the north side of the altar, either in six rows of four, or four rows of six. They would put the animal’s head in the ring to slaughter it. Section two: The mishnah describes the slaughterhouse, especially the hooks on which they would hang the meat after the sacrifice was slaughtered. It is also describes the tables upon which the meat would be washed.

6 ו

הַכִּיּוֹר הָיָה בֵּין הָאוּלָם וְלַמִּזְבֵּחַ, וּמָשׁוּךְ כְּלַפֵּי הַדָּרוֹם. בֵּין הָאוּלָם וְלַמִּזְבֵּחַ, עֶשְׂרִים וּשְׁתַּיִם אַמָּה. וּשְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה מַעֲלוֹת הָיוּ שָׁם, רוּם מַעֲלָה חֲצִי אַמָּה, וְשִׁלְחָהּ אַמָּה. אַמָּה אַמָּה וְרֹבֶד שָׁלֹשׁ, וְאַמָּה אַמָּה וְרֹבֶד שָׁלֹשׁ. וְהָעֶלְיוֹנָה, אַמָּה אַמָּה וְרֹבֶד אַרְבַּע. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, הָעֶלְיוֹנָה, אַמָּה אַמָּה וְרֹבֶד חָמֵשׁ:

The laver was between the porch and the altar, a little to the south. Between the porch and the altar there were twenty-two cubits. There were twelve steps there, each step being half a cubit high and a cubit broad. There was a cubit, a cubit and a level space of three cubits, then a cubit, a cubit and a level space of three cubits, then at the top a cubit, a cubit and a level space of four cubits. Rabbi Judah says that at the top there was a cubit, a cubit and a level space of five cubits.

7 ז

פִּתְחוֹ שֶׁל אוּלָם, גָּבְהוֹ אַרְבָּעִים אַמָּה, וְרָחְבּוֹ עֶשְׂרִים אַמָּה. וְחָמֵשׁ מַלְתְּרָאוֹת שֶׁל מִילָת הָיוּ עַל גַּבָּיו. הַתַּחְתּוֹנָה עוֹדֶפֶת עַל הַפֶּתַח אַמָּה מִזֶּה וְאַמָּה מִזֶּה. שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה מִמֶּנָּה עוֹדֶפֶת עָלֶיהָ אַמָּה מִזֶּה וְאַמָּה מִזֶּה. נִמְצֵאת הָעֶלְיוֹנָה שְׁלֹשִׁים אַמָּה. וְנִדְבָּךְ שֶׁל אֲבָנִים הָיָה בֵין כָּל אַחַת וְאֶחָת:

The doorway of the porch was forty cubits high and its breadth was twenty cubits. Over it were five main beams of ash [wood]. The lowest projected a cubit on each side beyond the doorway. The one above projected beyond this one a cubit on each side. Thus the topmost one was thirty cubits long. There was a layer of stones between each one and the next.

8 ח

וּכְלוֹנָסוֹת שֶׁל אֶרֶז הָיוּ קְבוּעִין מִכָּתְלוֹ שֶׁל הֵיכָל לְכָתְלוֹ שֶׁל אוּלָם, כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִבְעָט. וְשַׁרְשְׁרוֹת שֶׁל זָהָב הָיוּ קְבוּעוֹת בְּתִקְרַת הָאוּלָם, שֶׁבָּהֶן פִּרְחֵי כְהֻנָּה עוֹלִין וְרוֹאִין אֶת הָעֲטָרֹת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (זכריה ו), וְהָעֲטָרֹת תִּהְיֶה לְחֵלֶם וּלְטוֹבִיָּה וְלִידַעְיָה וּלְחֵן בֶּן צְפַנְיָה לְזִכָּרוֹן בְּהֵיכַל ה'. גֶּפֶן שֶׁל זָהָב הָיְתָה עוֹמֶדֶת עַל פִּתְחוֹ שֶׁל הֵיכָל, וּמֻדְלָה עַל גַּבֵּי כְלוֹנָסוֹת. כָּל מִי שֶׁהוּא מִתְנַדֵּב עָלֶה, אוֹ גַרְגִּיר, אוֹ אֶשְׁכּוֹל, מֵבִיא וְתוֹלֶה בָהּ. אָמַר רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר בְּרַבִּי צָדוֹק, מַעֲשֶׂה הָיָה, וְנִמְנוּ עָלֶיהָ שְׁלֹשׁ מֵאוֹת כֹּהֲנִים:

There were poles of cedar wood stretching from the wall of the Sanctuary to the wall of the Porch to prevent it from bulging. There were chains of gold fixed in the roof beams of the Porch by which the priestly initiates used to ascend and see the crowns, as it says, “And the crowns shall be to Helem and to Toviyah and to Yedaya and to Hen the son of Zephaniah as a memorial in the Temple of the Lord” (Zechariah 6:14). A golden vine stood at the door of the Sanctuary trained on poles, and anyone who offered a leaf or a grape or a bunch used to bring it and hang it there. Rabbi Eliezer bar Zadok said: on one occasion three hundred priests were commissioned [to clear it].