The Gemorah .זבחים כה says that the Cohen receiving the blood of a korbon must catch all the blood. That is the Dam HaNefesh - the blood flowing out of the neck.

Assuming the average cow has around 10 gallons of blood, and assuming it must lose around 25% of it to die, the Mizrak would have to be at least 2.5 gallons. This is not what I pictured, considering also that the Cohen holds it with only one hand.

Does anyone know of a source for the size of a Mizrak used in the Beis Ha'Mikdash?

  • 4
    How do you know dam hanefesh is 25% of a cow's total blood?
    – Loewian
    Jun 18, 2018 at 4:24

1 Answer 1


The Talmud, also in Zevachim later on (97b), identifies the biblical 'mizrak' with the 'agan' (אגן); see also Ex. 24:6. Elsewhere in the Talmud (Ber. 22a), the agan is depicted as a tub that can contain enough water to bathe in (9 kav; aprox. 3 gallons). (In biblical descriptions they are both typically used to illustrate large, excessive/exaggerated quantities (e.g. the former Amos 6:6; the latter Cant. 7:3).)

Furthermore, a midrash (BR 13:14) equates the volume of the ka'arah and the mizrak, in which the former symbolically contained the ocean and the latter contained dry land (both an illustration of great quantity).

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