Aerial View of the Ezras Kohanim
Facing the North

View of Ezras Kohanim facing the north The picture shows the Mizbeiach at near the southern side of the Ezras Kohanim. Above them (towards the north) are the twenty four rings used to lock the heads of the animals while slaughtering them. to the north of the rings are the eight tables used for skinning and dissecting the animals, and the eight miniature pillars used to hang the animals while skinning them.

The setup here is one of Rav Koren's new ideas. It is based on the opinion of the Gr"a. The Mishna mentions the dimensions of the pillars, rings and the Mizbeiach. It however does not mention the size of the tables. (All the Rishonim have major difficulty in explaining this point.) The Gr"a is of the opinion that the table stood between the miniature pillars. While the southernmost table was outside of the pillars. When the Mishnah (Middos 5:2) says "From the tables to the pillars four [amos]" it means from the beginning of the tables until the first pillar. It doesn't have to mention the rest of the tables, since they are included is the area of the pillars.

Rav Koren takes this idea one step further. According to the way things are written in the Gr"a's explanation, (which was written by a talmid) the first table was four amos long, while the other seven tables and the eight pillars fit into twelve and a half amos. Why would the first table be any longer than the other tables? Rav Koren therefore sets up the tables in two rows of four. In this way the first table as all the other tables are four amos long. The size of the tables and pillars total sixteen and a half amos long. Four tables of equal length take up sixteen amos, while four pillars take up the remaining half an amoh.

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