intended to increase the knowledge, interest, and anticipation of the reader, thereby hastening the realization of our hopes and prayers for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Beit HaMikdash.
When Kohanim Ate
But entrance to the Bayit was restricted and the Kohanim certainly did not turn it into a dining hall. It is also not likely that they ate in the open air, especially in winter. Which chamber located in a non-sacred location but opening out on the Azara fulfilled these conditions and also possessed the facilities which enabled the Kohanim to eat their Kodshei Kodashim there? The Mishna in Midot 1:6-9 describes Beit HaMokeid ("the Chamber of the Hearth") on the north side of the Azara as a domed spacious chamber where Kohanim who had the "early shift" slept. "There were two gates to Beit HaMokeid: one opened to the Cheil (the rampart - a non-holy area) and (the other) one opened towards the Azara" which made Beit HaMokeid a suitable place for Kohanim to eat Kodshei Kodashim. And as the Mishna tells us, "…ends of flagstones divided the holy from what was not holy". (The Kohanim slept in the non-holy area, they couldn't even sit down in the holy area, let alone eat or sleep there!) "There was a large fire fed by massive logs in Beit HaMokeid where Kohanim who went barefoot on the marble floor would come and warm themselves" (Midot 1:1, Tif'eret Yisrael 3). This fire was also used to prepare food for the Kohanim.
The Sefer HaChinuch explains "that we are commanded to show great respect and honor with reference to anything having to do with the Beit HaMikdash. This way we learn awe, deference, and humility when we are in the Mikdash and remember it wherever we may be. True respect is shown to that Korban which has the power of effecting atonement when it is eaten by the servants (of G-d), the Kohanim, themselves, and not just given to their slaves or dogs or sold to anybody. And certainly it is a mark of honor if it is eaten in a holy place", i.e. on Mikdash grounds (Mitzva 102). The question arises. What is the difference between Kodshei Kodashim which must be eaten by the Kohanim "within the curtains", and Kodashim Kalim which, as we recall, can be eaten by the Kohanim and their households anywhere within the walls of Jerusalem? Sefer HaChinuch explains, "The eating of Kodashim Kalim cannot be (compared) to the eating of the meat of Kodshei Kodashim - the Chatat and Asham. When Kohanim eat Kodshei Kodashim meat, the process of effecting atonement is completed. As our sages of blessed memory have said, '(When) the Kohanim eat (Kodshei Kodashim), those who have brought the sacrifices attain atonement.' The difference is that when the Kohanim ate Kodashim Kalim or Teruma ("priest's due"), this neither added nor detracted from the merit of the person bringing the sacrifice or giving Teruma."
Korban HaGer - The
Korban of the Proselyte
"It is written, 'And let not the alien who has joined himself to the Lord speak saying, 'The Lord will surely separate me from His people (Yeshiyahu 56:3)... The Holy One Blessed be He rejects no one; He accepts everyone… therefore He says, "The Ger did not lodge in the street…" (Iyov 31:32). R. Berechiya says, 'What did He mean when He said that? In the future, Gerim will be Kohanim serving in the Beit HaMikdash as it is written. '…and the Ger shall join himself with them, and they (the Gerim) shall cleave (Venispechu) to the house of Jacob" (Yeshiyahu 14:1). And "Venis- pechu" only refers to "priesthood" as it is said, '…Put me (The Hebrew word used Sefacheini -"put me"- has same the root as Venispechu.), I pray thee into one of the priest's offices… In the future, Gerim will eat of the Lechem Hapanim…" (Shemot Rabba 19:4).
Catriel's book in progress: The Temple of Jerusalem, A Pilgrims Prospective; A Guided Tour through the Temple and the Divine Service