According to the discussion by Chazal (mYoma 3:11, bYoma 38a) it would seem that there was a preference or benefit to the fact that the smoke from the burning of the ketoret (incense) in the Beit HaMikdash went up in a straight column. I would like to understand why this is considered preferable. Is it a beautification of the mitzvah? Does it have a symbolic meaning? Something else?

  • It is going straight up to Shamayim.
    – ezra
    May 16, 2018 at 16:56
  • I'm alluding to something that I think is mentioned in Pirkei Avot. Wasn't that one of the ten miracles that occurred in the Bet Hamikdash? If so, then, it seems that no one would have made that happen that way.
    – DanF
    May 16, 2018 at 20:23
  • @DanF I believe that was the fire from the animal sacrifices May 16, 2018 at 22:48
  • maybe it would helpe the people present not smell the ketores and have hanaah from doing so?
    – Dude
    May 17, 2018 at 0:37
  • 2
    I think you're referring to the Ma'aleh Ashan herb that caused the smoke to go up to the ceiling (not Shamayim @ezra), and then fill the room from the roof down, and the entire Jerusalem could smell it, Dude. And this was not a mircale, DanF, but a physical attribute of the Maale Ashan, DanF. (And I know you can't @ more than 1 person, but I want the record set straight.) May 17, 2018 at 9:39

1 Answer 1


According to the the explanation of the Sulam on the Zohar the smoke rising in a straight pillar allowed the Kohen to apprehend some sort of mystical vision.

בקטרת ההיא, כשהיה עולה העשן כעמוד, היה רואה הכהן אותיות של סוד השם הקדוש פורחות באויר ועולות למעלה כעמוד, לאחר כך, כמה מרכבות קדושות מסבבות אותה מכל הצדדים, עד שעולה באורה ושמחה ומשמח למי שמשמח, וקושרת קשרים דהיינו שמיחדת יחודים, למעלה ולמטה, ליחד הכל. וכבר העמידוהו. וזה מכפר על יצר הרע ועל עכו"ם שהוא סטרא אחרא, וכבר העמידוהו

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