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I was wondering...

Why is the Lishkas HaGazis called "HaGazis"?

What is the significance of the name?

  • Do you know what that word means? – Double AA Jan 27 '16 at 1:24
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    Welcome to the site. Hope you choose to stick around the site. I believe גזית means "hewn" and refers to the physical structure of the room. Are you asking what the name means, or why the room was named after that particular characteristic? – mevaqesh Jan 27 '16 at 2:39
  • Now that I know what Gazis means, I would be curious to know why it was named after that characteristic. – adgelbfish Jan 27 '16 at 3:49
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As we learned in the Bartenura of the first Mishna of Bava Basra - גָּזִית. אֲבָנִים מְשֻׁפּוֹת וּמְגֹרָרוֹת בִּמְגֵרָה

A Gazis it a type of hewn stone.

In the last Mishna of Midos the Ikar Tosfos Yom Tov teaches us that the Lishkas HaGazis is so named הַגָּזִית. וְהָיְתָה עֲשׂוּיָה גָּזִית לִכְבוֹדָן שֶׁל הַסַּנְהֶדְרִין

The Lishkas HaGazis was named such because it was made from Gazis - hewn stones - in honour of the Sanhedrin that sat there.

(For some reason I had in mind it was also so named because of the Gezeiroth - the Torah teachings - that came from there, as the Great Sanhedrin sat there. But I can't find a source for that.)

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Lishkas Hagazis - Chamber of Hewed Stone

This chamber built with hewed stone served as the Supreme Court. Since it was forbidden to sit in the Azarah, the room was built half in the Azarah and half in the Cheil, and had entrances from both sides. This meant that the judges were allowed to sit in the section that was outside the Azarah.

The Lishkas Hagazis

The Gemorah in Yoma 25 mentions that the Lishkas Hagazis was half in the Azarah and half outside the Azarah. This is deduced from the fact that the lotteries (which had to be done in the Azarah) were done in the Lishkas Hagazis, while an elder was seated in the western part. Since nobody (except a king from the family of Dovid) may sit in the Azarah, it must mean that the elder was sitting in a section of the Lishkas Hagazis outside the Azarah. Most models bother to place the Lishkas Hagazis half and half as described, but they put it in the eastern side of the Azarah. In this manner the section outside the Azarah is on the eastern side. But the Gemorah says that the elder sat on the WESTERN side? Doesn't this mean that the chamber was on the western side of the Azarah, with the western half outside the Azarah?

It is for this reason that in this model the Lishkas Hagazis appears in the west. Furthermore the Midrash states clearly that the Sanhedrin sat behind Beis Hakapores (the Kodesh Hakodoshim).

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