Ezekiel – Chapter 42

Chamber Music

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

The angel took Ezekiel to the outer court, by way of the north, to one of the chambers there, There was a walkway ten cubits to the innermost chamber. There were three floors of chambers and the upper chambers were narrow because space was taken up by the supporting pillars. The outside wall opposite the chambers was fifty cubits. Below the chambers was a path from the outer court, to the east.

In the south there were also chambers, an entrance at the start of the path, by the musicians’ wall. The angel told Ezekiel that the northern and southern chambers are holy places, where the kohanim (priests) would eat the sacrifices. The priests were not to leave wearing their special priestly garments; they had to change clothes first.

As the angel finished making his measurements of the Temple, he took Ezekiel out by the eastern gate, and he measured that side. He then measured the other three sides; each was 500 rods long. (Rashi says a rod is six cubits.) We are told that the wall around the Temple separated “between the holy and the profane,” the same text we use in the havdalah ceremony that ends Shabbos.

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