The Ta段m

the ta'im The Mishnah in Middos (4:3) states that there were 38 Ta段m surrounding the Heichal. The ta段m are small rooms used for storage. The northern and southern sides had fifteen ta段m each, and eight ta段m on the west. In the north and south there were three rows of five ta段m. In the west the bottom two rows had three ta段m and two on the top row. The width of the ta段m on the bottom row was five amos, the middle row was six amos wide, and the top row was seven amos wide. Each ta had an entrance the adjacent ta段m on both sides and to the ta above.

Points to clarify: 1) What was the height of the ta段m? In the first Beis Hamikdosh each ta was five amos high, which means that the total height of the ta段m, was fifteen amos, plus the floors. Since the height of the Heichal was thirty amos in the first Beis Hamikdosh (forty in the second), the ta段m did not reach the height of the ceiling of the Heichal. According to some opinions this was the also the case in the second Beis Hamikdosh. Other maintain that the height of the three rows of the ta段m in the Second Beis Hamikdosh was forty amos in total, as was the height of the Heichal.

measurments according to the Chanukas Habayis 2) As mentioned, the second row of ta段m was one amoh wider than the lowest one, and the top row an additional amoh wider. Which wall was reduced in order to add the extra amoh? There are various opinions. According to Rashi and many Rishonim it was at the expense of the wall adjacent to the Heichal. (See drawing from Sefer Chanukas Habayis, and diagram above.) Others maintain that it was at the expense of the outer wall. A third opinion (Tosfos in Bava Basra) that the extra amoh came from both walls, half an amoh from each. There are also various opinions regarding the width of the walls between each ta.

3) Why were there only two ta段m on the top row in the west as opposed to three on the lower rows? A possible solution might be that as mentioned the width of the ta段m grew by an amoh the higher the row. This would mean that the ta段m on the second row of the northern and southern sides adjacent to the western wall, subtracted two amos from the length of the ta段m on the western side. On the upper level another two amos were subtracted. In the remaining space on the upper level of the western side, there was room for only two ta段m, not three.

In the third Beis Hamikdosh the will only be thirty three ta段m, as the western side will only have one ta on each row.

It's important to point out that the Rambam has a totally different explanation for the meaning and order of the ta'im. See the Rambam's diagram found on the page describing the Beis Hachalifos.

© Copyright by Yehuda Landy
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