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.



View Complete List

Send The Guinea Pig!
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

The Meaning of Noach
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

The Sign of the Olive
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767


Missed Opportunities
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

'Moment'ary Blunders
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Window to the World
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

Looking for a Chavrusah?

People In Stone Houses Should not Cast Bricks
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

The Perfect Storm
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

Nourishment for the Soul
Shlomo Katz - 5760

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Join the Voices in the Ark
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

Go the Distance!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5762

Wine and Window Washers
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

> Making It Perfect
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763

A Place To Be
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

Understanding the Faith of Noach
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5763

No Fear, No Fair
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

Project Genesis Home

Torah Portion

Jewish Law



Learn the Basics




Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base


About Us

Contact Us

Free Book on Geulah! Home Copyright Information