The prophet Ezekiel (46:9) tells us of an obligation when visiting the Temple.

וּבְב֨וֹא עַם־הָאָ֜רֶץ לִפְנֵ֣י יְהוָה֮ בַּמּֽוֹעֲדִים֒ הַבָּ֡א דֶּרֶךְ־שַׁ֨עַר צָפ֜וֹן לְהִֽשְׁתַּחֲוֺ֗ת יֵצֵא֙ דֶּרֶךְ־שַׁ֣עַר נֶ֔גֶב וְהַבָּא֙ דֶּרֶךְ־שַׁ֣עַר נֶ֔גֶב יֵצֵ֖א דֶּרֶךְ־שַׁ֣עַר צָפ֑וֹנָה לֹ֣א יָשׁ֗וּב דֶּ֤רֶךְ הַשַּׁ֙עַר֙ אֲשֶׁר־בָּ֣א ב֔וֹ כִּ֥י נִכְח֖וֹ יצאו [יֵצֵֽא׃]

But on the fixed occasions, when the common people come before the LORD, whoever enters by the north gate to bow low shall leave by the south gate; and whoever enters by the south gate shall leave by the north gate. They shall not go back through the gate by which they came in, but shall go out by the opposite one.

We see one should leave through a different gate than the one they entered from. Is this an obligation? A nice thing to do? Does the Rambam or others bring it as a halacha? I did see the Ben Ish Chai says it's a mitzvah to do this with a synagogue, but I'm looking for the Temple specifically (first, second, and third).

  • 2
    Great question. I am only aware of the comparison to a shul by e.g. the Chafetz Chaim (Sefer HaMitzvot HaKatzar, #18) and the Mishnah Berurah 141:25. I will read along with possible answers.
    – Shmuel
    Apr 2, 2022 at 20:16
  • I heard recently that this is an obligation only for the third Temple. That could be a good answer, if a source was provided.
    – robev
    Sep 11, 2022 at 19:42

2 Answers 2


I recall seeing in the שיחות of Rav Chaim Shmuelivitz זצ"ל in the name of Rav Yosef (Hachasid) Yaavetz that this is an obligation, as going out through the same entrance creates a familiarity with the Temple area, which, because of its sanctity, must be avoided. But I have neither ספרים at hand to check it. Will try and find it and post it.

I have finally had a chance to look into it a little bit. In מדות ב-ב it states: כָּל הַנִּכְנָסִין לְהַר הַבַּיִת נִכְנָסִין דֶּרֶךְ יָמִין וּמַקִּיפִין וְיוֹצְאִין דֶּרֶךְ שְׂמֹאל and the רמב"ם paskens that in הל' בית הבחירה ז-ג. From the ר"ב it appears (and so understands the תוס יו"ט the ר"ב) that he learns that one has to leave through another gate than through the one he entered. As exit gate he (quoting whom?) uses as example שער טדי. The תוי"ט points out that this can't be true, as the משנה earlier (א-ג) told us that שער טדי served no purpose. He points to the פירוש הרמב"ם who seems to learn that the שער טדי was only used as an indication which way to walk. As such, it isn't clear whether according to the רמב"ם one may leave through the same gate or not.

  • To be honest his sicha is how I came up with the question. He talks about it in Sichos Mussar § 11, quoting HaChossid Ya’avetz to Avos 1:4. He doesn't say it's an obligation, and even if he would, I'm looking for a halachic source, not a mussar source. Thanks!
    – robev
    Apr 5, 2022 at 19:50

Yes, this is halacha.

One source is the Shulchan Aruch (Siman 151:5)

If the synagogue has two entrances, one should not enter through one to make a path to the second one to shorten your route. If there was a path there before they built the synagogue, it is permitted. Similarly, if one didn't enter initially to take a short cut, it is permitted to make a path. When you enter to pray, you can leave from a different way than you came.

The Shulchan Aruch originated from Beit Yosef (Orach Chaim 151:5)

And our rabbi's mash and when he enters it to pray a mitzvah for those who enter at the door is to leave through a different door and my testimony is in the Gemara (90) from Dakhtib and when he comes with the land before the Lord at the times he comes through the north gate to bow down and exits through the Negev gate and the rabbis enforces a mitzvah to do kapandria and this is our rabbi's version

Note: This is the Ezekiel verse you started with

The Beit Yosef originated from the Tur (Orach Chaim, Siman 151:1)

and when one enters it, to pray a mitzvah for those who enter through the door, it is allowed to go out through another door

And there is also Rambam (Hilkhot Tefilla 11:10)

One who entered a synagogue to pray or read Scripture may leave at the opposite door to that by which he entered, in order to take a short cut.

I found the Rambam using this article, though they don't source it correctly (11:10 not 11:8)

Regarding "making a shortcut" through a destroyed synagogue, the Rambam (Hilkhot Tefilla 11:8) and the Shulchan Arukh (151:5) rule that if a beit ha-keneset has two doorways, one should enter through one and exit through the other in order to save time. In his Bei'ur Halakha, the Mishna Berura discusses, and ultimately prohibits, using a beit ha-keneset as a shortcut while traveling to perform a mitzva.

All of this, however, concerns synagogues and not the Temple.

The Rambam, in Mishneh Torah The Chosen Temple (7:2) does write about this in regards to the Beis Hamikdash:

One should not take a shortcut through the Temple Mount, by entering from one gate, and leaving from the opposite one, in order to shorten the way. Rather, one should walk around from the outside, entering only for the purpose of a mitzvah.

I found that halacha using this article by proxy, as they mention a related law (6:14) instead of the one we are interested in (7:2)

Someone entering the area where the Beis HaMikdash once stood is chayov kareis, an extremely severe punishment. 1

These translations are from Google Translate, so if anyone knows Hebrew well, translating the Beit Yosef may give more clarity as to its meaning. But clearly, the Beit Yosef is referencing that verse from Ezekiel.

  • Thank you Alexander for your efforts, but not one of your sources addresses my question, which is about the temple. Your Rambam quotes aren't related to leaving through a different gate. He's describing the concept of כל פינות שאתה פונה לא יהיו אלא לימין
    – robev
    Sep 11, 2022 at 20:30
  • @robev what does the Beit Yosef say?
    – Alexander
    Sep 11, 2022 at 20:53
  • Nothing relevant to the temple.
    – robev
    Sep 12, 2022 at 16:04
  • @robev Rambam's Mishneh Torah The Chosen Temple 7:2 does reference The Temple. Rambam gives the halacha in the negative, stating that one should not enter and exit through different gates in order to shorten the way.
    – Alexander
    Sep 15, 2022 at 11:04
  • 1
    I'm sorry but I feel like you're totally missing what's going on here. There's a prohibition of using a shul as a shortcut, just like in the Temple. This discussion has no relevance to specifically going through a new gate, whether in a shul or the Temple.
    – robev
    Sep 16, 2022 at 11:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .