||The poles shall be made of acacia wood and covered with a layer of gold. They will be used to carry the table.
Ve'asita et-habadim atsey shitim vetsipita otam zahav venisa-vam et-hashulchan.
||For [the table] make bread forms,incense bowls, and side frames, as well as the half tubes that will serve as dividers [between the loaves of bread]. All these shall be made of pure gold.
Ve'asita ke'arotav vechapotav uksotav umenaki'otav asher yusach bahen zahav tahor ta'aseh otam.
||It is on this table that showbread shall be placed before Me at all times.
Venatata al-hashulchan lechem panim lefanay tamid.
See Exodus 37:10-12. Numbers 4:6, 1 Chronicles 28:17.
(Menachoth) 97a; Rashi). These were used to form the showbread (Exodus 25:30). There were three sets of bread forms, one for the dough, one for baking, and one to place the bread in after it was baked so that it would not be damaged (Menachoth 94a; Yad, Temidin 5:8). Some say that all these were made of gold (Ibid.), while others say that the forms for baking were made of iron (Rashi). However, some say that no iron was used in the tabernacle (Ibn Ezra on Exodus 25:3; cf. Exodus 27:19, Deuteronomy 27:5). Regarding the shape of the bread, see Exodus 25:30.
The Hebrew word ka'aroth used here literally means plates. Some say that plates were actually placed on the table, as if to set it for a meal (Philo, Questions and Answers 72).
Menachoth 97a; Rashi). For the frankincense (Leviticus 24:7). Some say that these were like small boxes (Saadia). There is a question as to whether they were placed in the center of the table between the loaves, or on top of the loaves (Menachoth 96a; see note on Exodus 25:30).
The word kappoth used here often is used to denote spoons. Philo (loc. cit.). writes that they were part of the table setting.
(Menachoth 97a). Kesavoth in Hebrew. Some say that the function of these was to support the breads from the side, so that the loaves would not crumble (Tosafoth, Menachoth 94b, s.v. Hayinu; Or HaAfelah; Yad, Temidin 5:9), or to prevent them from falling when the table was lifted (Menachoth 96b). They were needed, since there were twelve loaves, six in each stack (Leviticus 24:5,6). According to this opinion, the loaves were stacked directly one on top of the other.
Others maintain that the weight of the loaves was borne by the half tubes between them, and that the half tubes were held by these frames (Rashi, Menachoth 94b, s.v. Hayinu; Rabbenu Gershom ibid.). Still others maintain that the lower five loaves were stacked on top of each other, but that the top ones were supported by the frames (Rashi, Sifra, Emor 18:4).
Some say that these frames were shaped like a rod with branches protruding on both sides (Raavad on Sifra, Emor 18:4; Ralbag). They may thus be the 'forks' mentioned in 1 Chronicles 28:17 (Rashbam; cf. Ibn Ezra). Others say that they were Y-shaped (Rambam on Menachoth 11:6, Kapach edition; cf. Rashi loc. cit.). According to others, they were like flat plates, the width of the loaves, with grooves or indentations to hold the half tubes (Tosafoth, Menachoth 94b, s.v. Hayinu; Rashash ad loc.; Maaseh Choshev 7:3).
Some say that these frames rested on the ground, while others maintain that they rested on the table top (Menachoth 94b).
According to some, the kesavoth here were not the side frames, but the half tubes (see note, this verse, 'half tubes').
There is also an opinion that there were no side supports at all, but that the breads were held in place by the frame (Rabbi Yosi, Menachoth 96b, cf. Tosafoth ad loc.). This may agree with the Septuagint, which translates the kesoth or kesavoth (Exodus 37:16) as spondeon, denoting libation cups (cf. Ibn Janach; also see Philo, Questions and Answers 72). Others say that they were pans to hold water to knead the bread (Chizzkuni).
(Menachoth 97a; Yad, Beth HaBechirah 3:14). Menakiyoth in Hebrew, cf. Jeremiah 52:19. These were placed between the breads to allow air to circulate between them, and possibly to support them (Menachoth 96a; see note, this verse, 'side frames'). There were 28 such half tubes in all, 14 for each side, so that 3 were placed between each loaf, except for the two upper ones, where only 2 were placed between them (Menachoth 97a; Yad, Beth HaBechirah 3:14).
Some reverse these two and maintain that the kesoth were the half tubes and the menakiyoth were the frames (Rashi; Radak, s.v. Nasakh; cf. Tosafoth, Menachoth 96b, s.v. Lo).
The Septuagint translates menakioth as kuathoi, Greek for the cups used for drawing wine out of the krator or bowl, (cf. Philo loc. cit.). Others state that they were ladles or spoons (Saadia; Ibn Janach), measuring cups (Ramban), or implements to clean the ovens (Chizzkuni).
|serve as dividers|
(Rashbam; Rashi; cf. Numbers 4:7). Or, 'to cover the bread' if it refers to the frames which were gold plates concealing the bread (cf. Exodus 37:16). If the above utensils were cups and bowls, this is then translated 'with which they are poured' (Septuagint; cf. Ibn Ezra).
Lechem ha-panim in Hebrew, literally, 'bread of the face.' See Leviticus 24:5-8.
The loaves were rectangular, a cubit long, and 5 handbreadths wide (18' x 15'). They thus covered the entire table, leaving two handbreadths (6') in the middle for the pans of frankincense (Leviticus 24:7). (Menachoth 96a; Yad, Temidin 5:9). According to others, the loaves covered the entire table, and the frankincense was placed on top of the stack (Menachoth 96a) .
Each loaf was made of 2/10 ephah of flour (Leviticus 24:5;). It was rolled into a loaf 5 handbreadths wide and 10 handbreadths long (15' x 30'). Before it was baked (Melekheth Sh'lomoh on Menachoth 11:5), the sides were bent up 2 handbreadths (6') on each side. This would give the bread its final square shape where its base was 5 x 6 handbreadths (Menachoth 96a). The loaves would have the shape of a box with both ends removed (Menachoth 96b). According to others, their shape was more like that of a boat (Ibid.).
In order to strengthen the walls of the loaves, pieces of dough 7 fingerbreadths (5 1/4') by one handbreadth (3') were placed on the corners (Rashi, Menachoth 96a, s.v. VeKarno-theha; Tifereth Yisrael, Chomer BaKodesh 2:51).
The loaves themselves were like unperforated matzah (Pesachim 37a; Josephus 3:10:7) around a half inch thick. [This is a simple calculation. The volume of the loaf was 2 tenths of an ephah, and since an ephah is 3 saah, the volume was 0.6 saah. The Talmud notes that 3 cubic cubits is equal to 40 saah (Eruvin 4b); and, since there are 6 handbreadths to a cubit, 1 saah is 16.2 cubic handbreadths. Since the volume of each loaf was 0.6 saah, it was 9.72 cubic handbreadths. Then, since the loaf was 5 x 10 handbreadths in size, its area was 50 square handbreadths. Dividing by this, the thickness of each loaf comes out to be 0.194 handbreadth or 0.58 inch] (Ralbag; Tifereth Yisrael loc. cit.).