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The hechal (central room) of the bes hamikdash had its main entrance on its eastern end. To either side of that entrance were cubicles, and the main-floor cubicles on each side had a door to the east also. Thus, the eastern exterior wall of the hechal had three entranceways visible. The northernmost of these, which entered into a cubicle, was unlocked and opened every morning before the korban tamid (morning sacrificial offering) could be brought. Mishnayos Tamid chapter 3 mentions that fact, and mentions, also, that door's means of opening. While commentators differ on what is meant there — the Rav says (ibid.) that one had to reach through a hole in the wall to unlock the door from the inside, while the Rashash says that one merely had to bend over to use a keyhole near the floor — it was by all accounts an awkward way to unlock a door. I haven't seen anyone, however, explain why that door had such an awkward means of unlocking from the outside, especially in light of the fact that the door was unlocked daily from that side. Why did it?

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for Rav, it is not necessarily that unusual. Probably many door locks were so constructed, to allow those on the inside to perform the locking / unlocking easily. For Rashash, I don't know. But first I would like to study Roman locks to see if it was really uncommon... – josh waxman Dec 8 '13 at 18:28
@joshwaxman It makes sense to have a door that opens more easily from the inside if it is opened most often from the inside. But this door seems to have been opened most often (or possibly only) from the outside. I've now edited the question to clarify. – msh210 Dec 8 '13 at 18:29
i agree with that point. maybe then the spiritual answer would be one of perspective -- whose house is it, after all? – josh waxman Dec 8 '13 at 18:36
also, bottom door locks even exist nowadays: google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Oyjs043Crqg/… – josh waxman Dec 9 '13 at 0:09
Not that it answers your questions, but: "As early as 4500 years ago, there were doors that swung on their own hinges. Originally they could only be locked from the inside using beams and bars...While the Sumerian peoples and Hittites did not have key-operated wooden tumbler locks, they do appear to have been used in ancient Babylon, Mesopotamia and Khorsabad about 4000 years ago, and appeared in ancient Egypt a bit later." from:historicallocks.com/en/site/h/locks-and-magic/… – Loewian Jul 27 '15 at 10:51

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