Who were the virgins in Mishnah Shekalim 8:5 who sowed the veil? There are other mentions in 2 Maccabees about virgins.

  • Shomosel, it may be a bad translation on my end Jun 8, 2023 at 4:11

1 Answer 1


In most texts, it's 8:5, and it's talking about the "Paroches" -- curtain in front of the Holy of Holies:

רַבָּן שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן גַּמְלִיאֵל אוֹמֵר מִשּׁוּם רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן הַסְּגַן, פָּרֹכֶת עָבְיָהּ טֶפַח, וְעַל שִׁבְעִים וּשְׁתַּיִם נִימִין נֶאֱרֶגֶת, וְעַל כָּל נִימָא וְנִימָא עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה חוּטִין. אָרְכָּהּ אַרְבָּעִים אַמָּה וְרָחְבָּהּ עֶשְׂרִים אַמָּה, וּמִשְּׁמוֹנִים וּשְׁתֵּי רִבּוֹא נַעֲשֵׂית.

Our text has the word ribo, which means "ten thousand." It was made from 82 x 10,000. The commentaries (Bartenura, Rambam, Tiferes Yisrael) read that 820,000 was either the full thread count, or the cost in dinars. Rambam adds that this is an exaggeration, by the way ...

However, a variant text had ribos, or "young women." (Note that it specifically was not using the word for "virgins" per se.) That it was made by 82 young women. Tiferes Yisrael explains that they used girls who were pre-menarche, so you didn't have to worry about the fabric becoming ritually impure.

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