The Gates of the Heichal

This is the entrance to the Heichal. The dimensions are twenty amos high, ten amos wide, and six amos deep. There were two sets of double gates, made of gold, each gate five amos wide. The outer gates opened inward, while the inner gates opened into the Heichal. These gates are referred to in the Mishnah as the Sha’ar Hagadol. No Korbanos may be slaughtered before these gates were opened. The Mishnah (Tamid 3:8) mentions that the sound of the opening of these gates reached the city of Yericho.

Rabbi yehuda's opinionAccording to Rabbi Yehuda (Middos 4:1), each gate consisted of two parts. The outer gates folded inward, while the inner gates folded outward. Each doorpost was half an amoh wide, while the doors covered the remaining five amos. According to Rabbi Yehuda, the person opening the gates of the Heichal, entered the Heichal, between the two gates (ibid 4:2). He then opened the outer gates from the inside, and the inner gates from the outside.

There were two small entrances (Pishpishim) on the northern and southern side of the Sha'ar Hagadol. The northern one was used for entering the Heichal, while the main gates were closed. The southern one remained closed, as Yechezkel was instructed "Hashem told me this gate shall remained sealed and unopened, and no man shall enter via it, for Hashem the G-d of israel enters via this gate". (Middos 4:2) According to many these small gates led directly into the Heichal. It is however clear from the Mishnah that these small gates led into the ta'im. In the cross section they are described in a manner where there is an entrance both to the Heichal and the ta. Rashi's opinion is clearly that these small gates led to the ta'im. See the image according to Rashi on the Ulam page.

© Copyright by Yehuda Landy
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