This question asks about how the elders were seated in the Lishkah. Seeing how poorly-sourced the OP’s dimensions were, I thought I’d ask it myself.

We’re told that the Lishkah was halfway in the Azarah (Yoma 25a), and that it was on the south side of the Azarah (Middos 5:4). But as far as I can tell, we’re not told more than that. I tried gathering its dimensions from the preceding Mishnayos in Middos, which place the Azarah at 187 Amos from east to west and 135 Amos from north to south (5:1-2), but those same Mishnayos seem to use up all of those Amos in the Azarah itself.

Are there any sources that explicitly tell us how big the Lishkas HaGazis (or the Lishkos in general) were, in the second Beis HaMikdash? I’d prefer a Gemara that I’m missing, but I’ll accept anything as late as the Rishonim, as long as it’s a precise number, not a guess based on a popular illustration or tile counting on an artist’s rendition.

  • +1 1. Sanhedrin was HALF the Lishkah only (Bartenurah:"שם היתה סנהדרי גדולה של ישראל יושבת. בצד החול שבה. לפי שלשכת הגזית היתה חציה בקודש וחציה בחול, ובחציה של קודש לא היה אפשר לסנהדרין לשבת, שאין ישיבה בעזרה אלא למלכי בית דוד בלבד וכו'.")
    – Al Berko
    Oct 1, 2018 at 21:25
  • 2. The Mishnah says the Lishkat Hagazit was on the South side, but on the WIKI drawing it is on the North.
    – Al Berko
    Oct 1, 2018 at 21:26
  • 1
    Wait is the vilna gaon a rishon
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Oct 3, 2018 at 18:46

2 Answers 2


The source for the pictures that are giving us trouble here is the Rambam at the end of meseches Midos in Peirush HaMishmayos. He draws (the original manuscript is extant) the Lishkas Hagazis entirely in the Ezras Yisroel, along the east wall in the north, (unlike the drawings presented in the question and original answer,) and he specifies the width of the Ezras Yisroel as 11 amos in the picture, as stated in the mishna. A rendition from the original is available in the Kapah mishnayos.

The Rambam, however, drew this drawing not to scale, so the size cannot be determined precisely, only that the part in the Azara was less than 11 Amos deep (east-west).

I have studied the plan of the Second Temple extensively from the Talmudic sources, and I have not come across anyone who gives exact dimensions.

I suggest that the Lishkas Hagazis was in the eastern wall of the Azara, according to the Rambam, and that less than half of it was sanctified. The remaining portion would be over the Lishkas Hamitzoraim of the Ezras Noshim, which was 40 amos wide, allowing for the semicircle to be 40 amos by 20, which is a little tight (40*π/2=62.8) for 71 people, but not unreasonable.


This is the true answer (that brings us back to my puzzling):

This is the Tifferes Isroel's plan drawn to scale (on the bottom) found at the end of Mishnah in Midos:

![enter image description here

(If you look at the wall, the bricks are 5x10 Amas to scale).

From this plan we can learn that (according to him) the Lishka was about 25 Amas (12 meters) long, while the left part of it was in Kodesh (Ezras Isroel) and was populated only by Kohanim, and its right half - about 6 by 6 meters, entirely INSIDE THE WALL - was used by the Sanhedrin!

If this is not enough, this is the OFFICIAL version of THE Machon Hamikdash here in the Old City, you can't question them, come on!

enter image description here

I don't know what to add, but (if it is drawn to scale) the whole Lishkah was less than the Mizbeah (which was 16x16 meters)!

Here's the original WIKI plan of the second BM:

enter image description here

Some textual sources:

  1. the Mishnah Middos 5:

"מִן הַצָּפוֹן לַדָּרוֹם מֵאָה וּשְׁלֹשִׁים וְחָמֵשׁ, הַכֶּבֶשׁ וְהַמִּזְבֵּחַ שִׁשִּׁים וּשְׁתַּיִם." "שֵׁשׁ לְשָׁכוֹת הָיוּ בָעֲזָרָה...שֶׁבַּדָּרוֹם, לִשְׁכַּת הָעֵץ, לִשְׁכַּת הַגּוֹלָה, לִשְׁכַּת הַגָּזִית... לִשְׁכַּת הַגָּזִית, שָׁם הָיְתָה סַנְהֶדְרִי גְדוֹלָה שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל יוֹשֶׁבֶת וְדָנָה אֶת הַכְּהֻנָּה וכו'"

  1. Gemmorah in Yomah 25a:

"אמר אביי שמע מינה לשכת הגזית חציה בקדש וחציה בחול ושמע מינה שני פתחים היו לה אחד פתוח בקדש ואחד פתוח בחול"

  1. Bartenurah on the Mishnah combines the two perfectly:

"שם היתה סנהדרי גדולה של ישראל יושבת. בצד החול שבה. לפי שלשכת הגזית היתה חציה בקודש וחציה בחול, ובחציה של קודש לא היה אפשר לסנהדרין לשבת, שאין ישיבה בעזרה אלא למלכי בית דוד בלבד וכו'."

  • Does he say that it was to scale?
    – DonielF
    Oct 3, 2018 at 15:03
  • At least you can give me a thumb up! The scale on the bottom is his original (I asked a Rabbi). but maybe not.
    – Al Berko
    Oct 3, 2018 at 15:04
  • +1 but when you refer to your puzzling (beginning) - and to your question (last line) - you seem to be referring to another question. Bear in mind not all people reading this will know what are you speaking about. Links would help. Alternatively you could remove these elements since each question/answer should be self-standing. Many people land on a specific question via Google and won't know about other related questions unless they are linked
    – mbloch
    Oct 3, 2018 at 15:30
  • @mbloch He’s referring to the question I linked in the OP
    – DonielF
    Oct 3, 2018 at 15:55
  • 1
    @AlBerko I’ll certainly give you credit for the Tiferes Yisrael, and to that end I gave you a +1. However, I did specifically ask for at latest Rishonim, and he’s an Acharon. I’m curious where he gets his numbers from - that might put you back early enough.
    – DonielF
    Oct 3, 2018 at 15:57

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