On Yom Kippur, in the first Temple, the High Priest placed the fire pan between the two staves of the Aron as it says in the Mishnah Yoma 5 (1) .

The outer curtain was looped on the south side and the inner curtain on the north side. He walked along between them until he reached the north side. When he reached the north side he turned around to the south and went on along the curtain, to his left, until he reached the Ark. When he reached the Ark he put the coal-pan between the two poles.

The two staves touched the Peroches as it says here

הבדים היו מדויקים באורך קודש הקודשים, ונראו מבחוץ כמין שתי בליטות על הפרוכת

The staves were exactly the length of the Holy of Holies and appeared from the outside like two protrusions on the Peroches.

My question is: how did the High Priest reach the position between the staves in the first Temple? Did he step over them or under them or …

  • Did he need to stand between them to place something between them?
    – hazoriz
    Sep 12, 2017 at 12:24
  • also put blood there Halacha 5 here chabad.org/1062925
    – hazoriz
    Sep 12, 2017 at 12:29
  • @hazoriz "When he reached the Ark he put the coal-pan between the two poles." Sep 12, 2017 at 12:46
  • the Gemoro explains it is not litteral
    – hazoriz
    Sep 12, 2017 at 12:46
  • @hazoriz I see no edit to your answer right now. Sep 12, 2017 at 14:57

1 Answer 1


The mishna is talking regarding the second Temple where there was no ark , but yes 2 curtains

But in the first Temple it seems there was 1 curtain and it was folded open so that he can walk through


The Gemara answers: Actually, the mishna is referring to the Second Temple, and what is the meaning of the phrase: Reaches the Ark? It means the place of the Ark. The Gemara raises a difficulty: But it is taught that he places the coal pan between the two staves, which indicates that the staves of the Ark were present. The Gemara answers: Emend the text and say: As though it was between the two staves, i.e., in the place where the staves had been located when the Ark was there

Rambam 4.1

...He proceeds through the Sanctuary until he reaches the Holy of Holies. He finds the Parochet folded over. He proceeds into the Holy of Holies until he reaches the Holy Ark. When he reaches the ark, he places the firepan down between the two staves. In the Second Temple, when there was no ark, he would place it on the Foundation Stone...

  • I accept that the mishna refers to the second Temple. (So, if you wish disregard the mishnah.) But how did the High Priest reach the position between the staves in the first Temple? Sep 12, 2017 at 14:55
  • @AvrohomYitzchok the parochet was raised (as the Rambam says)
    – hazoriz
    Sep 12, 2017 at 14:57
  • The Rambam says it was folded. I think he means folded back as in the second Temple (i.e a vertical fold). You understand it to mean a horizontal fold - it was folded up. Sep 12, 2017 at 15:00
  • @AvrohomYitzchok possible but you have no evidence for that and even if yes he can place it there without being between them, or he can push the curtain with his body and squeeze between the curtain and the pole , and always it could have been a mirical
    – hazoriz
    Sep 12, 2017 at 15:12

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