Zevachim 59bזבחים נ״ט ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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59bנ״ט ב

והלא כבר נאמר (מלכים א ג, ד) אלף עולות יעלה שלמה על המזבח ההוא ואילו בבית עולמים הוא אומר (מלכים א ח, סג) ויזבח שלמה את זבח השלמים אשר זבח לה' בקר עשרים ושנים אלף

But isn’t it already stated with regard to the altar that Moses built: “A thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar” (I Kings 3:4), while with regard to the Eternal House, i.e., the Temple, it states: “And Solomon offered for the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered to the Lord, two and twenty thousand cattle and one hundred and twenty thousand sheep” (I Kings 8:63)?

וכשאתה מגיע לחשבון עולות ולמנין אמות זה גדול מזה

And when you arrive at the calculation of burnt offerings and the number of cubits for each altar, this was greater than that, i.e., Solomon sacrificed more offerings per square cubit on Moses’ altar than he did on the altar in the Temple upon its inauguration. Therefore, it is difficult to suggest that the altar in the Temple was not large enough to accommodate the number of offerings that Solomon sacrificed.

אלא מהו קטן מהכיל כאדם האומר לחבירו פלוני ננס הוא ופסול לעבודה

Rabbi Yosei presents an alternative understanding of the verse: Rather, what is the meaning of the phrase “because the copper altar…was too small to receive”? It is not referring to the altar built by Solo-mon, but rather to the copper altar built in the time of Moses, which was disqualified from use from the day of the Temple’s inauguration on. Rather than stating outright that the altar became disqualified, the verse employed a euphemism, like a person who says to his friend: So-and-so is a dwarf [nanas], and what he really means to say is that he is disqualified from performing the Temple service. Similarly, rather than stating outright that the altar built in the time of Moses became disqualified, the verse states that it was too small to accommodate the offerings sacrificed in the Temple.

ור' יהודה שפיר קאמר ר' יוסי ר' יהודה לטעמיה דאמר מזבח שעשה משה גדול היה דתניא (שמות כז, א) חמש אמות אורך וחמש אמות רוחב דברים ככתבן דברי ר' יוסי

The Gemara asks: And how does Rabbi Yehuda respond to this claim? Rabbi Yosei is saying well, i.e., his claim is persuasive. The Gemara explains: Rabbi Yehuda conforms to his standard line of reasoning, as he says that the altar that Moses built was large. As it is taught in a baraita: The verse states that the altar built in the time of Moses was: “Five cubits long and five cubits wide” (Exodus 27:1). The matters in the verse are to be understood as they are written; this is the statement of Rabbi Yosei.

ר' יהודה אומר נאמר כאן (שמות כז, א) רבוע ונאמר להלן (יחזקאל מג, טז) רבוע מה להלן מאמצעיתו היה מודד אף כאן מאמצעיתו היה מודד

Rabbi Yehuda says: It is stated here that the altar built in the time of Moses was: “Square” (Exodus 27:1), and it is stated there, in Ezekiel’s prophetic description of the altar, that it is: “Square” (Ezekiel 43:16). Just as there, in Ezekiel’s vision, he was measuring the distance in each direction from its center, so too here, the verse was measuring the altar that Moses built from its center. Accordingly, the altar built by Moses was ten cubits by ten cubits. As a result, Solomon sacrificed more offerings per square cubit of space on the altar in the Temple than he did on the altar built by Moses. It is therefore possible that the altar in the Temple was not sufficient to accommodate the offerings, and Solomon consecrated the Temple courtyard to serve as an altar.

והתם מנלן דכתיב (יחזקאל מג, טז) והאריאל שתים עשרה אמה לכל רוח או אינו אלא י"ב על י"ב כשהוא אומר אל ארבעת רבעיו מלמד שמאמצע הוא מודד

The Gemara asks: And from where do we derive that the altar mentioned there, in Ezekiel, was measured from its center? The Gemara answers: As it is written: “And the hearth shall be twelve cubits long by twelve wide, square, to its four sides” (Ezekiel 43:16). The Gemara asks: Does the verse mean twelve cubits in each direction from the center of the altar, so that in total it was twenty-four by twenty-four cubits? Or perhaps the altar was only a total of twelve by twelve cubits. The Gemara answers: When the verse states: “To its four sides,” it teaches that Ezekiel was measuring from the center of the altar.

ור' יוסי כי גמר גזירה שוה בגובהה הוא דגמיר דתניא (שמות כז, א) ושלש אמות קומתו דברים ככתבן דברי רבי יהודה

The Gemara asks: And how does Rabbi Yosei respond to Rabbi Yehuda’s claim? The Gemara answers: When he learns the verbal analogy, he learns it with regard to the altar’s height. As it is taught in a baraita: The verse states with regard to the altar built in the time of Moses: “And its height shall be three cubits” (Exodus 27:1). The matters in the verse are to be understood as they are written, i.e., that the height of the altar was three cubits. This is the statement of Rabbi Yehuda.

רבי יוסי אומר נאמר כאן (שמות כז, א) רבוע ונאמר להלן רבוע מה להלן גובהו פי שנים כארכו אף כאן פי שנים כארכו

Rabbi Yosei says: It is stated here that the altar built in the time of Moses was: “Square” (Exodus 27:1), and it is stated there that the incense altar was: “Square” (Exodus 30:2). The verbal analogy indicates that just as there, with regard to the incense altar, its height was twice its length, so too here, the height of the altar built in the time of Moses was twice its length, i.e., ten cubits.

אמר ליה רבי יהודה (והלא כבר נאמר ואת החצר מאה אמה וקומה חמש אמות וגו') אפשר כהן עומד ע"ג המזבח ועבודה בידו וכל העם רואין אותו מבחוץ

Rabbi Yehuda said to Rabbi Yosei: But isn’t it already stated: “The length of the court shall be a hundred cubits…and the height five cubits” (Exodus 27:18)? Is it possible that the priest would stand atop the altar and hold the items with which he would perform the sacrificial service in his hand, and the whole nation could see him from outside the courtyard? That would constitute a lack of respect for the service in the Tabernacle.

אמר לו ר' יוסי והלא כבר נאמר (במדבר ד, כו) ואת קלעי החצר ואת מסך שער החצר אשר על המשכן ועל המזבח מה משכן י' אמות אף מזבח י' אמות ואומר (שמות לח, יב) קלעים חמש עשרה

Rabbi Yosei said back to him: But isn’t it already stated: “And the curtains of the court, and the screen for the door of the gate of the court which is by the Tabernacle and by the altar” (Numbers 4:26)? This verse juxtaposes the Tabernacle with the altar to teach that just as the Tabernacle was ten cubits high, so too, the altar was ten cubits high. And another verse states: “The curtains were fifteen