INSIGHTS INTO THE DAILY DAF
THE FREIDA MILLER MASECHES MIDOS
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
QUESTIONS: The Mishnah (3:8) states that the Kelonsa'os of cedar wood (according to the text in the Mishnayos) were fixed between the wall of the Heichal (the inner part of the Beis ha'Mikdash, containing the Menorah, Shulchan, inner Mizbe'ach, and Kodesh Kodashim with the Aron ha'Kodesh) and the wall of the Ulam. The TIFERES YISRAEL (#72) describes these Kelonsa'os as round, thick beams that supported the walls and prevented them from collapsing. As the Tiferes Yisrael explains (#73), the Ulam -- which was 100 Amos high -- had no ceiling, and thus it needed some form of support.
There were other structures made of wood in the Beis ha'Mikdash. The Mishnah later (5:4, 37b) quotes Aba Shaul who states that the Lishkah of the Kohen Gadol was called the "Lishkas ha'Etz," presumably because it was made from wood.
The Mishnah earlier (1:6, 34a) states that there were Roshei Pishpeshim in the Beis ha'Moked that divided the sanctified part of the Beis ha'Moked (the part that was situated in the Azarah) from the part of the Beis ha'Moked that was not sanctified. The BARTENURA there explains that the Roshei Pishpeshim were the heads of the beams of wood that went from the outside of the wall of the Beis ha'Moked and reached until the area that was Kodesh.
Why was the use of beams of wood in the construction of the Beis ha'Mikdash permitted? The Torah states, "You shall not plant an Asheirah or any Etz next to the Mizbe'ach of Hash-m" (Devarim 16:21). The word "Etz" in the verse refers to a tree and to any form of wood. The RAMBAM (Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah 1:9) rules that "one may not build any protruding wood in the Beis ha'Mikdash, but only stones or bricks and cement."
(a) With regard to the Kelonsa'os that supported the wall of the Ulam, the Girsa that appears in the Mishnah as it is printed in the Vilna Shas says that the Kelonsa'os were made of stone, and not of wood.
However, the YA'AVETZ amends the text in the Vilna Shas to read "cedar wood" ("Erez") instead of "stone."
(b) The VILNA GA'ON explains that since the beams were laid in a horizontal position and not vertically, it was not similar to planting and thus is not included in the Torah's prohibition.
(c) The KESEF MISHNEH (Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah 1:9) answers that even though the Mishnah states that the beams were "fixed" in the walls, they were not in fact built into the walls, but they were set up without being affixed (with cement) to the walls, which is permitted.
(d) With regard to the Lishkas ha'Etz, the RA'AVAD (Hilchos Beis ha'Bechirah 1:9) answers that the Lishkah of the Kohen Gadol was permitted to be made from wood because the Torah's prohibition applies only when the wood is built "next to the Mizbe'ach of Hash-m," which means inside Sha'ar Nikanor, which separated the Ezras Nashim from the Ezras Yisrael and Ezras Kohanim. In the Ezras Nashim and Har ha'Bayis, there is no prohibition against building with wood. (See TOSFOS YOM TOV to Mishnah 5:4, DH Aba, who questions the Ra'avad's opinion from the words of the Mishnah there which implies that the Lishkas ha'Etz was in the Ezras Yisrael, and not in the Ezras Nashim.)
(e) The Kesef Mishneh answers that the Lishkah of the Kohen Gadol was not made of wood, but of stone. It was called the "Lishkas ha'Etz" merely because wood was occasionally stored there. (See Tosfos Yom Tov, ibid., who disagrees with this answer.)
(f) With regard to the Roshei Pishpeshim, the TOSFOS YOM TOV (1:6) answers that since the head of the beams were fixed in the part of the wall that was not in the sanctified area, and they stopped immediately before reaching the sanctified area, they were permitted. Since they were not built in the Azarah (the sanctified area), they were not considered to be "next to the Mizbe'ach." (D. BLOOM)