Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Tour of the Temply By Rabbi Yoav Elan
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Women's Courtyard

Class 5

Interior of the Women's Courtyard
To the east of the Main Courtyard stood a large enclosed area called the Women’s Courtyard, measuring 135 cubits (202˝ feet) to a side. Entry into this area was not restricted to women, as its name might imply, but in fact was used as a staging area for the multitudes of people arriving daily bearing sacrifices and gifts who would assemble here before proceeding into the Main Courtyard. It was called the Women's Courtyard because the women would specifically gather here to watch the Rejoicing of the Water-drawing which took place each year on the holiday of Succos.

On the holiday of Succos the Rejoicing of the Water-drawing would take place inside the Women's Courtyard. The celebration began on the second night of the holiday when the great sages and pious men of the generation would assemble in this courtyard to dance, juggle, and sing God's praises while scores of Leviim stood upon fifteen round steps at the western side of the courtyard providing musical accompaniment. This rejoicing continued all night until dawn when, with great ceremony, a delegation was dispatched to a nearby spring to draw water for that day's water libation. [The water libation, which was only performed on Succos, entailed pouring a pitcher of water into a bowl at the southwest corner of the Altar.] Numerous spectators, both men and women, stood along the sides of the Women's Courtyard to watch these festivities. The mingling of men and women at this event led to a certain amount of frivolity and steps were taken to correct this. The Sages came up with an innovative solution in which the women would gather upon balconies constructed within the courtyard while the men would stand below on ground level.

These balconies for the women ran along the southern, eastern, and northern sides of the courtyard, but not the western side. Halfway up the walls of the Women's Courtyard were protruding stone ledges that supported the wooden planks which formed the floorboards of the balcony. Above the floorboards they built row upon row of ascending steps to afford all of the women a good view of the festivities below. Only the protruding balcony supports were permanent fixtures in the courtyard, while the floorboards and steps were put up each year during Succos and then taken down after the holiday.

_______________

For more information on this topic, and to submit questions or comments for the author, please visit the blog post of this class.



 






ARTICLES ON VAYEITZEI AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Departure of the 'Tent Dweller'
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

Enlightening the Present From the Past
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

My Brother, My Enemy
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Why Eight Days?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Darkness and Light
Shlomo Katz - 5773

Today's Chanuka Miracle
Rabbi David Begoun - 5766

ArtScroll

Shedding Light on the Identity Crisis
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

The World of Learning
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Behold! It Was Leah!
Shlomo Katz - 5760

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Building a Jewish Home
Shlomo Katz - 5761

How Extrordinary The Result
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5761

8 - The Symbol of Eternity
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

> Bonding Time
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5760

Today Depends on Tomorrow
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

Candle Lighting Blessings
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

Into the Hands of the Few
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information