[Avodah] Where on the Mount of Olives would the Para Aduma be prepared?

Arie Folger afolger at aishdas.org
Sun Apr 25 00:57:57 PDT 2021

Dear Ovedim,

The Para Aduma was slaughtered and burned to ashes on the Mount of Olives
(shehakohen hasoref ota 'omed beHar haMishcha - cf. Yoma 16a), and he
did so perfectly east of the Mikdash, so he could see the door of the
Heikhal (umekhaven veroeh keneged pitcho shel heikhal).

To that end, the Gemara explains that the height difference between
the floor of the Temple Mount had to be less than 20 amot from the floor
of the Heikhal, otherwise the wall of the Har haBayit over the eastern
gates would obstruct the view of the Heikhal. All this analysis follows
the view of Rabbi Eliezer ben Yaakov.

The assumption, as also enunciated by the Yaavetz, is that the Kohen
stood on exactly the right height to see through all gates (Har haBayit,
Ezra Nashim, Azara & Heikhal).

My question is why and how. The Mount of Olives is significantly higher
than the Temple Mount (IIUC uvein keteifav shakhen refers to the two
nearby mountains that are taller, Mount of Olives and Har haTzofim). So
the para couldn't be done on top or this setup wouldn't work. But why
is this even necessary, when being on top of the Mount of Olive, the
Kohen could see over the walls into the Heikhal.

What am I missing?

[Email #2.]

By the way, Rabbanan seem to agree that the Kohen would look over the
walls into the Heikhal. My questions pertain purely to Rabbi Eliezer
ben Yaakov.

[Email #3.]

Sorry, I misstated. My question is purely according to Rabbanan, for
whom the height distance was 19.5 amot. According to Rabbi Eliezer ben
Yaakov, the total height of stairs was 20 amot and thus the only way
to do the para was what I would consider more reasonable, that the
Kohen doing the para stood higher than the Temple Mount and saw over
the walls. But I am trying to understand Rabbanan.

Yours sincerely,
Mit freundlichen Gren,

Arie Folger

Blogging at http://rabbifolger.net/

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