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ב"ה

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Beit Habechirah - Chapter 8, Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 1, Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 2

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Beit Habechirah - Chapter 8

1

There is a positive mitzvah to guard the Temple.1 [This mitzvah applies] even though there is no fear of enemies or thieves, for the guarding [of the Temple] is an expression of respect for it. A palace with guards is [much more impressive] than a palace without guards.2

א

שְׁמִירַת הַמִּקְדָּשׁ מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין שָׁם פַּחַד מֵאוֹיְבִים וְלֹא מִלִּסְטִים. שֶׁאֵין שְׁמִירָתוֹ אֶלָּא כָּבוֹד לוֹ. אֵינוֹ דּוֹמֶה פַּלְטֵרִין שֶׁיֵּשׁ עָלָיו שׁוֹמְרִין לְפַלְטֵרִין שֶׁאֵין עָלָיו שׁוֹמְרִין:

2

The mitzvah of guarding [the Temple] applies throughout the night.3

The priests and Levites shall serve as guards,4 as [Numbers 18:2] states: "And you and your sons [shall be] before the tent of the testimony,"5 i.e., you shall keep watch over it. Also, [ibid. 18:4] states: "And they [the Levites] shall watch over the Tent of Meeting,"6 and [ibid. 3:38] states: "And Moses,7 Aharon, and his sons8 shall camp before the Sanctuary towards the east, and they will be the guardians of the holy watch."9

ב

וּשְׁמִירָה זוֹ מִצְוָתָהּ כָּל הַלַּיְלָה. וְהַשּׁוֹמְרִים הֵם הַכֹּהֲנִים וְהַלְוִיִּם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יח ב) "וְאַתָּה וּבָנֶיךָ אִתָּךְ לִפְנֵי אֹהֶל הָעֵדֻת". כְּלוֹמַר אַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ שׁוֹמְרִים לוֹ. וַהֲרֵי נֶאֱמַר (במדבר יח ד) "וְשָׁמְרוּ אֶת מִשְׁמֶרֶת אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד" וְנֶאֱמַר (במדבר ג לח) "וְהַחֹנִים קֵדְמָה לִפְנֵי אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד מִזְרָחָה משֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן וּבָנָיו שֹׁמְרֵי מִשְׁמֶרֶת הַקֹּדֶשׁ":

3

Anyone who nullifies this watch transgress a negative commandment,10 as [Numbers 18:5] states: "And you shall take care to keep the Holy Watch." Any form of the verb, shemar, "take care," implies a warning against transgressing a negative command.11

Thus, guarding [the Temple fulfills] a positive command and nullifying its watch [represents the violation of] a negative command.

ג

וְאִם בִּטְּלוּ שְׁמִירָה עָבְרוּ בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יח ה) "וְשָׁמְרוּ אֶת מִשְׁמֶרֶת הַקֹּדֶשׁ". וּלְשׁוֹן שְׁמִירָה אַזְהָרָה הִיא הָא לָמַדְתָּ שֶׁשְּׁמִירָתוֹ מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה. וּבִטּוּל שְׁמִירָתוֹ מִצְוַת לֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה:

4

The mitzvah of guarding [the Temple] is [as follows:] The priests stood guard from the inside and the Levites from the outside.12 24 groups of guards stood watch over it continuously, each night, in 24 [different] places.13 The priests stood guard in three places14 and the Levites, in 21 places.15

ד

מִצְוַת שְׁמִירָתוֹ שֶׁיִּהְיוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים שׁוֹמְרִים מִבִּפְנִים וְהַלְוִיִּם מִבַּחוּץ. וְכ''ד עֵדָה שׁוֹמְרִין אוֹתוֹ בְּכָל לַיְלָה תָּמִיד בְּכ''ד מָקוֹם. הַכֹּהֲנִים בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה מְקוֹמוֹת וְהַלְוִיִּם בְּכ''א מָקוֹם:

5

Where did they keep watch? The priests kept watch in the Chamber of Avtinas, the Chamber of the Spark, and the Chamber of the Hearth.16

The Chamber of Avtinas17 and the Chamber of the Spark18 were two-storey structures built at the sides of the gates of the Temple Courtyard.19 The young priests kept watch there.20

The Chamber of the Hearth was a large, domed structure,21 surrounded [on the inside] with projections of stone.22 The elders of the priestly watch of that day23 slept there24 with the keys to the Temple Courtyard25 in their hands.26

ה

וְהֵיכָן הָיוּ שׁוֹמְרִים. כֹּהֲנִים הָיוּ שׁוֹמְרִים בְּבֵית אַבְטִינַס וּבְבֵית הַנִּיצוֹץ וּבְבֵית הַמּוֹקֵד. בֵּית אַבְטִינַס וּבֵית הַנִּיצוֹץ הָיוּ עֲלִיּוֹת בְּנוּיוֹת בְּצַד שַׁעֲרֵי הָעֲזָרָה וְהָרוֹבִין הָיוּ שׁוֹמְרִים שָׁם. בֵּית הַמּוֹקֵד כִּפָּה וּבַיִת גָּדוֹל הָיָה מֻקָּף רְבָדִין שֶׁל אֶבֶן וְזִקְנֵי בֵּית אָב שֶׁל אוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם הָיוּ יְשֵׁנִים שָׁם וּמַפְתְּחוֹת הָעֲזָרָה בְּיָדָם:

6

The priests on watch did not sleep27 in the priestly garments.28 Instead, they folded them, placed them at their heads,29 and wore their own clothes.

They slept on the ground. It is customary for all those who stand watch over the courtyards of kings not to sleep on beds.

ו

לֹא הָיוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים הַשּׁוֹמְרִים יְשֵׁנִים בְּבִגְדֵי כְּהֻנָּה אֶלָּא מְקַפְּלִין אוֹתָן וּמַנִּיחִין אוֹתָן כְּנֶגֶד רָאשֵׁיהֶן וְלוֹבְשִׁין בִּגְדֵי עַצְמָן וִישֵׁנִים עַל הָאָרֶץ. כְּדֶרֶךְ כָּל שׁוֹמְרֵי חַצְרוֹת הַמְּלָכִים שֶׁלֹּא יִישְׁנוּ עַל הַמִּטּוֹת:

7

If one of them had a seminal emission [in his sleep],30 he would proceed down the winding underground stairwell.31 [There was no prohibition involved], because the underground passageways that opened up to [the portion of] the Temple Mount [outside the Courtyard] were not consecrated.32

[There,] he would immerse himself. [He would then] return and sit among his fellow priests33 until the gates were opened in the morning. [At that time,] he would leave and proceed [to his own affairs].34

ז

אֵרַע קֶרִי לָאֶחָד מֵהֶן. הוֹלֵךְ בַּמְּסִבָּה שֶׁתַּחַת הַקַּרְקַע שֶׁהַמְּחִלּוֹת הַפְּתוּחוֹת לְהַר הַבַּיִת לֹא נִתְקַדְּשׁוּ וְטוֹבֵל וְחוֹזֵר וְיוֹשֵׁב אֵצֶל אֶחָיו הַכֹּהֲנִים עַד שֶׁנִּפְתָּחִין הַשְּׁעָרִים בַּבֹּקֶר יוֹצֵא וְהוֹלֵךְ לוֹ:

8

Where would the Levites stand watch?35

Inside the five gates to the Temple Mount;36

At its four corners [of the wall surrounding the Temple Mount] from the inside;

At the outside of four corners of the Temple Courtyard, for it is forbidden to sit in the Temple Courtyard;37

At the outside of five [of the seven] gates to the Temple Courtyard, for the priests stood watch at [the remaining two gates], the Chamber of the Hearth and the Gate of the Spark;38

a total of eighteen locations.

ח

וְהֵיכָן הָיוּ הַלְוִיִּם שׁוֹמְרִים. עַל חֲמִשָּׁה שַׁעֲרֵי הַר הַבַּיִת. וְעַל אַרְבַּע פִּנּוֹתָיו מִתּוֹכוֹ. וְעַל אַרְבַּע פִּנּוֹת הָעֲזָרָה מִבַּחוּץ שֶׁאָסוּר לֵישֵׁב בָּעֲזָרָה. וְעַל חֲמִשָּׁה שַׁעֲרֵי הָעֲזָרָה חוּץ לָעֲזָרָה שֶׁהֲרֵי הַכֹּהֲנִים שׁוֹמְרִים עַל שַׁעַר הַמּוֹקֵד וְעַל שַׁעַר הַנִּיצוֹץ. הֲרֵי שְׁמוֹנָה עָשָׂר מָקוֹם:

9

They also stood watch in the Chamber of the Sacrifices,39 the Chamber of the Parochet,40 and behind the Holy of Holies.41

ט

וְעוֹד שׁוֹמְרִים בְּלִשְׁכַּת הַקָּרְבָּן וּבְלִשְׁכַּת הַפָּרֹכֶת וַאֲחוֹרֵי בֵּית הַכַּפֹּרֶת:

10

An overseer was appointed over all the watches of guards. He was called: "The officer of the Temple Mount."42

Throughout the night, he checked on all the watches. Torches were lit before him.43 If a guard did not stand before him and greet him: "Peace be unto you, officer of the Temple Mount," he would assume that he was sleeping, and would strike him with his staff.44 He was even granted permission to burn [a sleeping guard's] clothing.45

Thus, it was commonly said in Jerusalem: "What is the noise in the Temple Courtyard [at night]? It must be the voice of a Levite being beaten and his clothes burned because he slept on his watch."46

י

וּמַעֲמִידִין מְמֻנֶּה אֶחָד עַל כָּל מִשְׁמְרוֹת הַשּׁוֹמְרִים. וְאִישׁ הַר הַבַּיִת הָיָה נִקְרָא. וְהָיָה מְחַזֵּר עַל כָּל מִשְׁמָר וּמִשְׁמָר כָּל הַלַּיְלָה. וַאֲבוּקוֹת דְּלוּקוֹת לְפָנָיו. וְכָל מִשְׁמָר שֶׁאֵינוֹ עוֹמֵד וְאוֹמֵר לוֹ אִישׁ הַר הַבַּיִת שָׁלוֹם עָלֶיךָ נִכָּר שֶׁהוּא יָשֵׁן חוֹבְטוֹ בְּמַקְּלוֹ. וּרְשׁוּת הָיָה לוֹ לִשְׂרֹף אֶת כְּסוּתוֹ עַד שֶׁהָיוּ אוֹמְרִין בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם מַה קּוֹל בָּעֲזָרָה קוֹל בֶּן לֵוִי לוֹקֶה וּבְגָדָיו נִשְׂרָפִין שֶׁיָּשַׁן עַל מִשְׁמַרְתּוֹ:

11

In the morning, shortly before dawn,47 the overseer of the Sanctuary48 came49 and tapped50 to awaken the priests sleeping in the Chamber of the Hearth.51 [When] they opened [the gate] for him, he took the keys52 and opened the small gate leading from the Chamber of the Hearth to the Temple Courtyard.53

[Then] he entered the Courtyard, and the priests followed him. They held two torches of fire in their hands and divided into two groups. One proceeded eastward and the other, westward.54

They walked on, checking the entire Temple Courtyard.55 Both groups [met when they] reached the Chamber of the Bakers of the Chavitin.56 When both groups reached [that point], they declared: "Peace be unto you. Everything is at peace."57 [Afterwards,] they prompted the bakers of the Chavitin to begin their work.58

יא

בַּשַּׁחַר קֹדֶם שֶׁיַּעֲלֶה עַמּוּד הַשַּׁחַר סָמוּךְ לוֹ יָבוֹא הַמְמֻנֶּה שֶׁל מִקְדָּשׁ וְיִדְפֹּק עַל הַכֹּהֲנִים שֶׁבְּבֵית הַמּוֹקֵד וְהֵן פּוֹתְחִין לוֹ. נָטַל אֶת הַמַּפְתֵּחַ וּפָתַח אֶת הַשַּׁעַר הַקָּטָן שֶׁבֵּין בֵּית הַמּוֹקֵד וּבֵין הָעֲזָרָה וְנִכְנַס מִבֵּית הַמּוֹקֵד לָעֲזָרָה וְנִכְנְסוּ אַחֲרָיו הַכֹּהֲנִים וּשְׁתֵּי אֲבוּקוֹת שֶׁל אוּר בְּיָדָם וְנֶחְלְקוּ לִשְׁתֵּי כִּתּוֹת. כַּת הוֹלֶכֶת לְמִזְרָח וְכַת הוֹלֶכֶת לְמַעֲרָב. וְהָיוּ בּוֹדְקִין וְהוֹלְכִין אֶת כָּל הָעֲזָרָה עַד שֶׁיַּגִּיעוּ שְׁתֵּי הַכִּתּוֹת לִמְקוֹם בֵּית עוֹשֵׂי חֲבִיתִין. הִגִּיעוּ אֵלּוּ וְאֵלּוּ אוֹמְרִין שָׁלוֹם הַכּל שָׁלוֹם. וְהֶעֱמִידוּ עוֹשֵׂי חֲבִיתִין לַעֲשׂוֹת חֲבִיתִין:

12

59 This pattern was followed each night except on Sabbath eve. [Then,] they did not hold torches in their hands.60 Rather, they checked by the light of the candles, which remained burning from the Sabbath eve.61

יב

כַּסֵּדֶר הַזֶּה עוֹשִׂין בְּכָל לַיְלָה וְלַיְלָה חוּץ מִלֵּילֵי שַׁבָּת שֶׁאֵין בְּיָדָם אוּר אֶלָּא בּוֹדְקִין בַּנֵּרוֹת הַדְּלוּקִין שָׁם מֵעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת:

Footnotes
1.

The Rambam (Sefer HaMitzvot, positive commandment 22) and the Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 388) list this as one of the 613 commandments.

2.

The Kessef Mishneh mentions another reason for guarding the Temple: to prevent those who are forbidden to enter from entering.

The place where both the Mishnah and the Rambam describe the watch which the priests and the Levites kept over the Temple has aroused the attention of the commentaries: The Mishnah repeats its description of the watch in two places: at the beginning of the tractate of Tamid, which relates the order of the priests' service, and the beginning of the tractate of Middot, which defines the structure of the Temple. The Rambam describes this mitzvah in Hilchot Beit HaBechirah, which describes the construction of the Temple, but not the details of the priests' service.

On this basis, the commentaries explain, we can understand two dimensions implicit in this mitzvah:

a) The priests' responsibility to prevent those forbidden to enter from entering; and

b) The responsibility incumbent on the entire Jewish people to construct and maintain the Temple in the most fitting manner.

Since the presence of guards enhances the glory of the Sanctuary, the mitzvah of guarding the Sanctuary can be seen as an aspect of its very structure. See Likkutei Sichot, Vol. 13, p. 56-65.

3.

In his commentary to Tamid, the Ra'avad states that the priests and Levites also stood watch during the day. The Minchat Chinuch mentions that view, explaining that the Rambam explained that the reason for the priestly watch was to show deference to the Temple during the day as well. Just as a palace of an earthly king is guarded both at day and at night, so too, it is proper to keep watch over the Temple in this manner.

Nevertheless, the Tifferet Yisrael (Middot 1:1) explains that since the priests were involved in the Temple service throughout the entire day, that in itself is a clear sign of honor and respect to the Temple, and no further measures were necessary.

This view is supported by the commentary of the Rabbenu Asher at the beginning of the tractate of Tamid. He explains that the reason for keeping watch over the Temple was to have our attention focused on it at all times. That purpose is surely accomplished by the Temple service, and hence, watchmen are not required then.

Accordingly, it appears that the watch would be maintained until the service in the Temple began, with the removal of the Altar's ashes at dawn. Thus, we can understand the last halachah of this chapter, which deals with the preparation of the Sanctuary for the service of the following day, as describing the final aspects of the nightly watch. See Likkutei Sichot, loc. cit.

4.

The places where the priests and Levites kept watch are described in Halachot 4-9.

5.

This verse begins: "And the Lord said to Aaron," thus, indicating the responsibility of Aaron and his sons, the priests, to keep watch over the Sanctuary.

6.

Indicating that the Levites were also charged with that responsibility.

7.

A Levite.

8.

Priests.

9.

Thus, this verse indicates that the task was shared by the Priests and Levites together (Tamid 26a).

16It must be noted that, in order to emphasize the concept he wishes to communicate, the Rambam does not quote the latter verse exactly.

10.

T(Sefer HaMitzvot (negattive commandment 67) and the Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 331) list this as one of the 613 commandments.

11.

See Menachot 36b.

12.

According to the simple meaning "inside" and "outside" refer to the Temple Courtyard. The Levites stood guard outside the Courtyard and the priests, inside. However, the Minchat Chinuch renders "inside" as within a building, and "outside" as in the open.

13.

Tamid 27a explains the derivation of this practice as I Chronicles (26:17-18), which states:

To the east there were six Levites, to the north, four..., to the south, four..., towards Assupin, two and two. At Parber to the west, there were four at the winding stairway and two at the Parber.

Thus, there were a total of twenty-four guard positions. Even though this verse describes the watch over the Sanctuary constructed in David's time, and not the Temple itself, the same basic pattern was followed in the later structure.

14.

As described in the following three Halachot.

Although the above verse specifically mentions Levites, the priests are sometimes (e.g., Ezekiel 44:15) referred to as Levites (Tamid, loc. cit.).

Tamid 26a offers two different explanations why the priests would be placed in three different positions. The first explains that the command to keep watch over the Sanctuary was originally given to Aharon and his sons, a total of three individuals. The second notes that the command to guard the Temple mentions the words "keep watch," three times in the same verse.

15.

As described in Halachot 8 and 9.

16.

See Tamid 1:1, Middot 1:1.

17.

This structure was located on the south side of the Temple Courtyard, adjacent to the Water Gate.

18.

This was the westernmost gate on the northern side of the Temple Courtyard. See Chapter 5, Halachah 4.

19.

The reason why these were two-floor structures can be explained in terms of the Rambam's words above, Chapter 6, Halachah 7. There, the Rambam writes that the roofs and upper floors of the structures in the Temple Courtyard were not consecrated. This is very significant, for were they to have been consecrated, it would have been forbidden for the priests to sit or lie there, as stated in Chapter 7, Halachah 6.

20.

According to Tamid 27a, the term, "young priests," refers to youth who were too young to participate in the Temple services. According to the Ra'avad, these youth were not even thirteen years of age.

The Mishneh LiMelech rejects that opinion, declaring that this Mitzvah would not be entrusted to children that young. He explains that until the age of twenty, priests were not granted the opportunity to take part in the Temple services. Thus, the "young priests" were youth below that age, but past majority. See also the Minchat Chinuch.

21.

13See Chapter 5, Halachot 10 and 11.

22.

As mentioned above, half of the Chamber of the Hearth was considered consecrated, while half was not. According to the principle that one could not lie or sit in the consecrated areas of the Courtyard, it would appear that only half of the chamber was surrounded by these projections.

23.

13As mentioned in the commentary to Chapter 7, Halachah 4, there were 24 priestly watches. Each served in the Temple for a week, and then another watch was given a chance to serve. There was a set pattern of rotation.

Within these watches, there were further subdivisions. Each weekly watch was broken down into six daily watches for each day of the week. On the Sabbath, all the priests of that watch served together.

24.

Tamid 26b explains that they slept on these protrusions, because it was disrespectful to bring beds into the Temple complex.

25.

The gates to the Temple Courtyard were locked at night.

26.

The Vilna Gaon renders this expression as "in their possession." This change is made on the basis of Middot 1:9, which states that the keys to the Temple Courtyard were kept on a special ring in the Chamber of the Hearth.

27.

From the Rambam's statements, it appears that the priests would be permitted to sleep while on guard duty. This is difficult to accept, for the following reasons:

a) The purpose for posting guards around the Temple was to show respect. That objective is not fulfilled by sleeping.

b) Halachah 10, which quotes Middot 1:2, states that the guards would be punished for sleeping while on duty. Although the Rambam and the Mishnah specifically mention "Levites," it is reasonable to assume that term was used because the majority of the guards were Levites.

For these reasons, the Mishneh LiMelech explains that all of the guards were not required to remain awake the entire night. Rather, at any particular time, there would be one or two guards awake at each station and the others were permitted to sleep.

28.

This refers to the four priestly garments which an ordinary priest was required to wear while serving in the Temple.

29.

The priests could not place their priestly garments under their heads to serve as pillows, for they were forbidden to derive benefit from them. See Yoma 69a.

In his commentary to Tamid, Chapter 1, Mishnah 1, the Rambam explains that this prohibition was instituted because the priestly garments contained Sha'atnez, a mixture of linen and wool. Hence, though a priest was permitted to use them during the Temple service, once that service was concluded, he was forbidden to do so. See also the Kessef Mishneh.

30.

Leviticus 15:16 explains that a man who has a seminal emission becomes ritually impure. To purify himself, he must immerse his entire body in a mikveh and wait until the end of the day.

31.

Which lead to a natural mikveh positioned under the Temple Courtyard.

32.

As explained in Chapter 6, Halachah 7. This passageway passed below the Courtyard. However, since it opened up to the portion of the Chamber of the Hearth that was not consecrated, there was no prohibition in entering while ritually impure.

33.

There was no prohibition against remaining in the non-consecrated portion of the Chamber of the Hearth. As stated in Chapter 6, Halachah 17, a person who has already immersed himself in the mikveh, but must wait for the day to pass before becoming ritually pure, may remain on the Temple Mount and proceed until the Women's Courtyard.

34.

Though there was no prohibition against him remaining in the Chamber of the Hearth, it was proper for him to leave so that no one would think that he was prepared to participate in the Temple services (Tifferet Yisrael, Tamid 1:1).

35.

This halachah is based on Middot 1:1.

36.

See Chapter 5, Halachah 2, for a description of the gates to the Temple Mount.

37.

See the commentary to Halachah 4.

38.

See the commentary to Chapter 5, Halachah 4.

39.

Tifferet Yisrael (Middot 1:1) explains that this refers to the Chamber of the Lambs, one of the four smaller chambers in the Chamber of the Hearth. See Chapter 5, Halachah 10.

40.

This chamber is not mentioned in Chapter 5, Halachah 17, as one of the chambers within the Temple Courtyard. Similarly, Tifferet Yisrael (op. cit.) states: "I do not know where it was located."

41.

As a sign of respect for the Shechinah.

42.

He was given the keys to all the gates of the Temple complex.

43.

Tifferet Yisrael (Middot 1:2) explains that the torches were not carried before him, but positioned as lights at the guard stations. Although there is no evidence that the Rambam accepts this view, a comparison with the following halachah indicates this possibility.

44.

Chapter 7, Halachah 2, states that it was forbidden to enter the Temple Mount with a staff. Nevertheless, an exception was made to allow "the officer of the Temple Mount" to perform his task (Yeriot Shlomo).

45.

Although generally, one may not destroy things of value (bal tashchit), an exception is made in this case to allow the Temple to be guarded properly.

The "officer of the Temple Mount" could be authorized to destroy private property on the basis of the principle: Hefker Beit Din, Hefker, i.e., a Jewish court may forfeit a person's ownership over an article (Rabbenu Asher, Commentary to Middot 1:1).

The Ezrat Kohanim does not accept this explanation because the prohibition against destroying things of value applies even in regard to ownerless articles.

Another possible explanation is that this step is taken for the watchmen's own good. A father or a teacher is allowed to hit a student to shape his character. Similarly, in this instance, "the officer of the Temple Mount" was entitled to burn a watchman's clothing so that he will perform his task more effectively (Likkutei Sichot, Vol. 18, p.465).

46.

As mentioned in the commentary to Halachah 6, there is a debate among the Rabbis if the priests were allowed to sleep on their watch or not. Rav Ovadiah of Bartinura (Shekalim 5:1) states that both priests and Levites would be beaten for sleeping. However, the Tosafot Yom Tov argues that this punishment was only administered to Levites.

It would appear that the Rambam subscribes to the latter view. In Hilchot Klei HaMikdash (7:4), he writes: "The officer of the Temple Mount walked around, [checking on] the Levites..."

47.

The Temple services began with the removal of the ashes from the Altar. Generally, this was done at dawn.

The term dawn, alot hashachar, refers to the time before sunrise when the first rays of the sun begin to illuminate the horizon. This is more than an hour before sunrise.

48.

This does not refer to the "officer of the Temple Mount" mentioned above. In Hilchot Temidim U'Musafim 6:1, the Rambam describes this entire procedure a second time. There, he ascribes the waking of the priests to the priest responsible for delegating different sacrificial functions. See also Tamid 26a.

49.

From the chayl.

50.

On the external gate of the Chamber of the Hearth,

51.

As explained in Halachot 5 and 6.

52.

Middot 1:7 mentions that the keys to the Courtyard were hung on a ring in the Chamber of the Hearth. See also the notes to Halachah 5.

53.

Tamid 28a relates that there was a small wicket next to the large gate leading from the Chamber of the Hearth to the Temple Courtyard. The large gate would not be opened until dawn. Therefore, the priests entered through the wicket to prepare the Courtyard for the service of the coming day.

54.

As explained in Chapter 5, the Chamber of the Hearth was positioned on the north side of the Temple Courtyard, slightly beyond the entrance of the Temple building. From this point, one group would proceed westward, towards the western end of the Courtyard. The other group walked towards the east, in the direction of the Gate of Nicanor, the major entrance to the Courtyard. Both groups walked near the walls, so that they would make a complete circuit around the Courtyard.

55.

To make sure all of the sacred utensils were in their proper places.

56.

See Chapter 5, Halachah 17, where this chamber is described.

The Chamber of the Bakers of the Chavitin was located on the southern side of the Courtyard's eastern wall. Thus, the group of priests who turned westward had a much longer route than those who proceeded to the east.

57.

The Ra'avad in his commentary to Tamid 28a explains that each group would greet the other in this manner.

58.

The Chavitin was offered each day by the High Priest shortly after the morning sacrifice.

A general question may be asked concerning this and the following halachah: Why did the Rambam include them in Hilchot Beit HaBechirah which describes the construction of the Temple? It would appear more appropriate to mention them in Hilchot Temidim UMusafim, where the laws governing the daily service in the Temple are described. Indeed, we find that these laws are repeated there.

The reason is based on the explanation of Halachah 1. There, the Rambam states that the watch kept over the Temple was an act of deference, enhancing the glory of the Temple. Thus, maintaining that watch is part of the responsibility of the entire Jewish people to construct and maintain the Temple in the most fitting manner.

16A similar principle can be explained in regard to this inspection of the Courtyard. Over and above the need for checking to see that all the sacred utensils were in there appropriate positions, this inspection was an act of deference and honor which enhanced the importance of the Temple (Likkutei Sichot, Vol. 18, p. 244-249).

59.

This is the final halachah of Hilchot Beit HaBechirah. There are a total of 7 halachot in the text. The latter figure matches the age of Levi when he passed away. Levi was the ancestor of the priests and the Levites who served in the Temple.

60.

Because it is forbidden to carry a flame on the Sabbath.

61.

The Kessef Mishnah, Tosafot Yom Tov, and other commentaries, question why they were not permitted to carry the torches with them. Although carrying fire is prohibited on the Sabbath, the prohibition is only Rabbinic in origin in the category of shvut. The Rambam states (Hilchot Shabbat 21:27) that all Rabbinic prohibitions of this nature were suspended in the Temple.

Among the explanations offered are: Since it was possible to use candles which were lit before the Sabbath, there is no need to violate even a Rabbinic prohibition. Alternatively, this inspection was carried out in preparation for the service of the entire day to follow and, as above, it was an act of deference to the Temple. Therefore, to emphasize the holiness of the Temple, it was proper that it be carried out without violating any prohibition whatsoever.

The structure of the final chapter of Hilchot Beit HaBechirah can be explained homiletically: It begins with the obligation to guard the Temple at night, and concludes with the preparations for the Temple services at dawn.

As mentioned above (Halachah 2), the commentaries explain that the mitzvah of guarding the Temple was instituted so that the Temple would be prominent in our minds at all times. Thus, during the day, there was no necessity to stand guard, for that purpose was accomplished by the Temple service. However, at night, when there was no service, we were required to keep a watch around the Temple.

The period of exile is often described as night and the advent of the Messianic era, as dawn. By guarding the Temple at night, and studying the laws of its construction during the exile, we will merit the coming of the dawn, the coming of Mashiach.

A similar idea can be seen in the last halachah, which deals with the priests' procedure on the Sabbath. The Sabbath is described as me'ein olam haba'ah, a microcosm of the world to come, and the time of the coming of the Mashiach. On the Sabbath, in the Messianic age, the preparations for the Temple service will be carried out with the light kindled on the Sabbath eve, representing the present age - and before the coming of the Mashiach. Our service at present generates spiritual light. We will use that light to prepare for the sacrifices to be offered in the Third Temple.

May we merit the Messianic redemption and the rebuilding of the Temple speedily, and in our days. 47Then, shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasing to God, as in days of old and former years 48 (Malachi 3:4).

Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 1

Introduction to Hilchot Klei Hamikdash

They contain fourteen mitzvot: six positive commandments and eight negative commandments. They are:

1) To prepare the oil of anointment;
2) Not to make oil like it;
3) Not to anoint oneself with it;
4) Not to prepare a compound of spices after the formula of the incense;
5) Not to offer on the golden altar anything but the incense; 6) To bear the ark on the shoulder;
7) That the staves of the Ark shall not be removed from it;
8) That the Levite shall serve in the Sanctuary;
9) That no one in the Sanctuary shall do the work assigned to another;
10) To consecrate the priest for the service;
11) That, on the festivals, all the divisions shall take part equally in the services;
12) To put on priestly vestments for the service;
13) That the priests' robes shall not be rent;
14) That the breast-plate be not loosed from the Ephod.

These mitzvot are explained in the ensuing chapters.

הלכות כלי המקדש והעובדין בו - הקדמה יש בכללן ארבע עשרה מצוות: שש מצות עשה, ושמונה מצות לא תעשה. וזה הוא פרטן: (א) לעשות שמן המשחה.
(ב) שלא לעשות כמוהו.
(ג) שלא לסוך ממנו.
(ד) שלא לעשות כמתכונת הקטורת.
(ה) שלא להקטיר על מזבח הזהב חוץ מן הקטורת.
(ו) לשאת הארון על הכתף.
(ז) שלא יסורו הבדים ממנו.
(ח) שיעבוד הלוי במקדש.
(ט) שלא יעשה אחד במלאכת חברו במקדש.
(י) לקדש הכהן לעבודה.
(יא) שיהיו כל המשמרות שוות ברגלים.
(יב) ללבוש בגדי כהונה לעבודה.
(יג) שלא יקרע המעיל.
(יד) שלא יזח החושן מעל האפוד. וביאור מצוות אלו בפרקים אלו:

1

It is a positive commandment to prepare1 the anointing oil so that it will be ready [to use] for those articles that require anointing,2 as [Exodus 30:25] states: "And you shall make it3 as the oil of sacred anointment."

א

מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לַעֲשׂוֹת שֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה שֶׁיִּהְיֶה מוּכָן לִדְבָרִים שֶׁצְּרִיכִין מְשִׁיחָה בּוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות ל, כה) "וְעָשִׂיתָ אֹתוֹ שֶׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹדֶשׁ":

2

While in the desert, Moses our teacher [had]4 it prepared. He took the equivalent of 500 shekel5 of the holy shekalim of musk, cinnamon, and costus6 and the equivalent of 250 shekel of fragrant cane. The Torah's statement [ibid.:23]: "And fragrant cinnamon, half its measure, 250," implies that [the entire quantity] should be weighed out in two measures, 250 each time. Each one should be ground separately, mixed together7 and then soaked in pure, sweet water until all of its power was extracted into the water. A hin - which is equivalent to twelve log with each log comprising four revi'iot8 - of oil was placed above the water.9 The entire mixture was then cooked over fire until the water boiled off and only the oil remained.10 It was then set aside for [future] generations.

ב

וְכָכָה עָשָׂהוּ משֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר. לָקַח מִן הַמּוֹר וְהַקִּנָּמוֹן וְהַקִּדָּה מִכָּל אֶחָד מִשְּׁלָשְׁתָּן חֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת שֶׁקֶל בְּשֶׁקֶל הַקֹּדֶשׁ. וּמִקְּנֵה הַבּשֶֹׁם חֲמִשִּׁים וּמָאתַיִם. וְזֶהוּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בַּתּוֹרָה (שמות ל כג) "וְקִנְּמָן בֶּשֶׂם מַחֲצִיתוֹ חֲמִשִּׁים וּמָאתַיִם" שֶׁשּׁוֹקְלִים אוֹתוֹ בִּשְׁתֵּי פְּעָמִים חֲמִשִּׁים וּמָאתָיִם בְּכָל פַּעַם. וְשׁוֹחֵק כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד לְבַדּוֹ. וְעֵרֵב הַכּל וְשָׁרָה אוֹתָן בְּמַיִם זַכִּין וּמְתוּקִין עַד שֶׁיֵּצֵא כָּל כֹּחָן בַּמַּיִם וְנָתַן עַל הַמַּיִם שֶׁמֶן זַיִת הִין וְהוּא י''ב לוֹג. כָּל לוֹג אַרְבַּע רְבִיעִיּוֹת. וּבִשֵּׁל הַכּל עַל הָאֵשׁ עַד שֶׁאָבְדוּ הַמַּיִם וְנִשְׁאַר הַשֶּׁמֶן וְהִנִּיחוֹ בִּכְלִי לְדוֹרוֹת:

3

Musk refers to the blood contained with a wild beast from India that is of universal renown which people everywhere use as a fragrance.11 Cinnamon is a tree that comes from the Indian islands which has a pleasant fragrance and which people use as incense. The term kidah refers to costus.12 Fragrant cane, this refers to thin canes13 like red straw that come from the Indian islands and have a pleasant fragrance. They are types of herbs which doctors place in balsam.

ג

הַמּוֹר הוּא הַדָּם הַצָּרוּר בְּחַיָּה שֶׁבְּהֹדּוּ הַיָּדוּעַ לַכּל שֶׁמִּתְבַּשְּׂמִין בָּהּ בְּנֵי אָדָם בְּכָל מָקוֹם. וְהַקִּנָּמוֹן הוּא הָעֵץ שֶׁבָּא מֵאִיֵּי הֹדּוּ שֶׁרֵיחוֹ טוֹב וּמִתְגַּמְּרִים בּוֹ בְּנֵי אָדָם. וְהַקִּדָּה הִיא הַקּוֹשְׁט. וּקְנֵה בּשֶֹׁם הֵם הַקָּנִים הַדַּקִּים כְּתֶבֶן הָאֲדֻמִּים הַבָּאִים מֵאִיֵּי הֹדּוּ וְרֵיחָן טוֹב וְהֵם מִמִּינֵי הַבְּשָׂמִים שֶׁנּוֹתְנִין אוֹתָם הָרוֹפְאִים בְּצֹרִי:

4

One who willfully prepares anointing oil in this manner and with these measurements without adding or reducing [the quantity of the herbs] is liable for karet.14 If he prepares it unknowingly, he must bring a fixed sin-offering,15 [as ibid.:34] states: "One who makes such a compound shall be cut off from his nation." [The above applies] provided he prepared it for anointment. If, however, he prepared it for practice or to give to other people,16 he is exempt.17

ד

הָעוֹשֶׂה שֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה כַּמַּעֲשֶׂה הַזֶּה וְכַמִּשְׁקָל הַזֶּה וְלֹא הוֹסִיף וְלֹא גָּרַע בְּמֵזִיד חַיָּב כָּרֵת. בְּשׁוֹגֵג מֵבִיא חַטָּאת קְבוּעָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות ל לג) "אֲשֶׁר יִרְקַח כָּמֹהוּ" (שמות ל לג) "וְנִכְרַת מֵעַמָּיו". וְהוּא שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה אוֹתוֹ לְהִמָּשַׁח בּוֹ. אֲבָל אִם עָשָׂהוּ לְהִתְלַמֵּד אוֹ לִתְּנוֹ לַאֲחֵרִים פָּטוּר:

5

One who anoints himself with an olive-sized portion18 of the oil of anointment willfully is liable for karet. If he [anoints himself] unknowingly, he must bring a fixed sin-offering, [as ibid.] states: "And one who applies it to an unauthorized person,19 shall be cut off from his nation."

One is liable only for anointing oneself with the oil of anointment made by Moses,20 as the prooftext states "from it," from [the oil] of which [ibid.:31] states "This will be oil for sacred anointing for Me." No other [anointing] oil was ever made aside from that made by Moses.21

ה

הַסָּךְ מִשֶּׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה כְּזַיִת בְּמֵזִיד חַיָּב כָּרֵת. וּבְשׁוֹגֵג מֵבִיא חַטָּאת קְבוּעָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות ל לג) "וַאֲשֶׁר יִתֵּן מִמֶּנּוּ עַל זָר וְנִכְרַת מֵעַמָּיו". וְאֵין חַיָּבִין אֶלָּא עַל סִיכַת שֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה שֶׁעָשָׂה משֶׁה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר מִמֶּנּוּ. מִזֶּה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בּוֹ (שמות ל לא) "שֶׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה זֶה לִי". וּמֵעוֹלָם לֹא נַעֲשָׂה שֶׁמֶן אַחֵר חוּץ מִמַּה שֶּׁעָשָׂה משֶׁה:

6

[One is liable] whether he anoints himself or others,22 as [the prooftext] states: "And one who applies it to an unauthorized person." One who spreads it on utensils, an animal, a gentile - who is [halachicly equivalent] to an animal23 - or who spreads it on a corpse, is exempt, as [implied by ibid.:32]: "It should not be spread on the flesh of a man."24

ו

אֶחָד הַסָּךְ אֶת עַצְמוֹ וְאֶחָד הַסָּךְ אֶת אֲחֵרִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות ל לג) "וַאֲשֶׁר יִתֵּן מִמֶּנּוּ עַל זָר". הַסָּךְ כֵּלִים וּבְהֵמָה וְעַכּוּ''ם שֶׁהֵם כְּמוֹתָהּ אוֹ שֶׁסָּךְ מֵתִים בּוֹ פָּטוּר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות ל לב) "עַל בְּשַׂר אָדָם לֹא יִיסָךְ":

7

For all time,25 we do not [use this oil] except to anoint the High Priest, the priest who leads the nation in war,26 and kings from the House of David.27 Even a High Priest who is the son of a High Priest should be anointed,28 as [Leviticus 6:15] states: "The priest from his sons anointed in place of him...."

ז

אֵין מוֹשְׁחִין מִמֶּנּוּ לְדוֹרוֹת אֶלָּא כֹּהֲנִים גְּדוֹלִים וּמְשׁוּחַ מִלְחָמָה וּמַלְכֵי בֵּית דָּוִד בִּלְבַד. אֲפִלּוּ כֹּהֵן בֶּן כֹּהֵן מוֹשְׁחִין אוֹתוֹ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא ו טו) "וְהַכֹּהֵן הַמָּשִׁיחַ תַּחְתָּיו מִבָּנָיו" וְגוֹ':

8

Since there was no anointing oil [during] the Second Temple [era],29the High Priest was installed in his office by putting on the garments of the High Priest alone.

ח

בְּבַיִת שֵׁנִי שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה שָׁם שֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה הָיָה כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל מִתְרַבֶּה בִּלְבִישַׁת בְּגָדִים בִּלְבַד שֶׁהָיָה לוֹבֵשׁ בִּגְדֵי כְּהֻנָּה גְּדוֹלָה:

9

How was the High Priest anointed? The oil should be poured on his head and applied between his eyes in the form of the Greek letter chi,30 like this C as [Leviticus 8:12] states: "And he poured the anointing oil on Aaron's head and anointed him to sanctify him." The kings of the Davidic dynasty are anointed [with the oil] spread as a crown on their foreheads.31 They should not be anointed on other places [on their bodies], nor should one use an excessive amount of oil.

ט

כֵּיצַד מוֹשְׁחִין אֶת הַכֹּהֵן. צָק אֶת הַשֶּׁמֶן עַל רֹאשׁוֹ וְסָךְ מִמֶּנּוּ עַל גַּבֵּי עֵינָיו כְּמִין כִּי יְוָנִית כָּזֶה X שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא ח יב) "וַיִּצֹק מִשֶּׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה עַל רֹאשׁ אַהֲרֹן וַיִּמְשַׁח אֹתוֹ לְקַדְּשׁוֹ". וּמַלְכֵי בֵּית דָּוִד מוֹשְׁחִין אוֹתָן כְּמִין נֵזֶר עַל רֹאשׁוֹ. וְלֹא יִמְשַׁח בִּמְקוֹמוֹת אֲחֵרוֹת וְלֹא יַרְבֶּה בְּשֶׁמֶן:

10

A person who places the anointing oil on a king or High Priest who had been anointed previously is exempt, for [the prooftext] speaks of "one who applies it to an unauthorized person." And these individuals are not unauthorized with regard to this oil.32

If, however, one - even a king or a High Priest - spreads it [on his flesh], he is liable, for [the prooftext] states: "It should not be spread on the flesh of a man." This implies all men.33 When a High Priest takes the anointment oil from his head and spreads it on his belly, he is liable for karet,34 provided he spreads an olive-sized portion.35

י

הַנּוֹתֵן מִשֶּׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה עַל גַּבֵּי מֶלֶךְ אוֹ כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁכְּבָר נִמְשְׁחוּ פָּטוּר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות ל לג) "וַאֲשֶׁר יִתֵּן מִמֶּנּוּ עַל זָר" וְאֵין אֵלּוּ זָרִים אֶצְלוֹ. אֲבָל הַסָּךְ מִמֶּנּוּ אֲפִלּוּ לְמֶלֶךְ וְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל חַיָּב שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות ל לב) "עַל בְּשַׂר אָדָם לֹא יִיסָךְ" כָּל אָדָם בְּמַשְׁמָע. וְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁנָּטַל שֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה מֵרֹאשׁוֹ וְסָךְ בְּמֵעָיו חַיָּב כָּרֵת וְהוּא שֶׁיָּסוּךְ מִמֶּנּוּ בִּכְזַיִת:

11

A king should only be anointed next to a spring.36 We do not anoint the king who is the son of a king, for the kingship is a hereditary position for the king for all time,37 as [Deuteronomy 17:20] states: "[Thus] he and his descendants [will prolong their reign] in the midst of Israel." If there is a controversy, he should be anointed to resolve the controversy and to notify to all that he alone is the king, as Solomon was anointed because of the controversy [stirred up by] Adoniyahu.38 Yoash was anointed because of Atal'ya,39 and Yehoachaz was anointed because of his brother Yehoyakim.40 When Elisha had Yehu anointed,41 he did not have him anointed with the anointment oil, but with balsam oil. This is an accepted tradition among the sages.

יא

אֵין מוֹשְׁחִין אֶת הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶלָּא עַל גַּבֵּי הַמַּעְיָן. וְאֵין מוֹשְׁחִין מֶלֶךְ בֶּן מֶלֶךְ שֶׁהַמַּלְכוּת יְרֻשָּׁה לַמֶּלֶךְ לְעוֹלָם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יז כ) "הוּא וּבָנָיו בְּקֶרֶב יִשְׂרָאֵל". וְאִם הָיְתָה שָׁם מַחְלֹקֶת מוֹשְׁחִין אוֹתוֹ כְּדֵי לְסַלֵּק הַמַּחֲלֹקֶת וּלְהוֹדִיעַ לַכּל שֶׁזֶּהוּ מֶלֶךְ לְבַדּוֹ. כְּמוֹ שֶׁמָּשְׁחוּ שְׁלֹמֹה מִפְּנֵי מַחְלֹקֶת אֲדוֹנִיָּהוּ. וְיוֹאָשׁ מִפְּנֵי עֲתַלְיָה. וִיהוֹאָחָז מִפְּנֵי יְהוֹיָקִים אָחִיו. וְזֶה שֶׁמָּשַׁח אֱלִישָׁע לְיֵהוּא לֹא בְּשֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה מְשָׁחוֹ אֶלָּא בְּשֶׁמֶן אֲפַרְסְמוֹן. וְדָבָר זֶה מָסֹרֶת בְּיַד הַחֲכָמִים:

12

All of the vessels of the Sanctuary that were fashioned [at the command] of Moses were sanctified only by being anointed with the anointing oil,42 as [Numbers 7:1] states: "And he anointed them and sanctified them." This practiced was not followed in the coming generations. Instead, all of the utensils became sanctified when they were used for their purpose in the Temple, as [implied by Numbers 4:12] "...that they will serve with them in the Sanctuary," i.e., through service, they are sanctified.

יב

כָּל כְּלֵי הַמִּקְדָּשׁ שֶׁעָשָׂה משֶׁה בַּמִּדְבָּר לֹא נִתְקַדְּשׁוּ אֶלָּא בִּמְשִׁיחָתָן בְּשֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ז א) "וַיִּמְשָׁחֵם וַיְקַדֵּשׁ אֹתָם". וְדָבָר זֶה אֵינוֹ נוֹהֵג לְדוֹרוֹת. אֶלָּא הַכֵּלִים כֻּלָּן כֵּיוָן שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּמְּשׁוּ בָּהֶן בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ בִּמְלַאכְתָּן נִתְקַדְּשׁוּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ד יב) "אֲשֶׁר יְשָׁרְתוּ בָם בַּקֹּדֶשׁ" בְּשֵׁרוּת הֵם מִתְקַדְּשִׁין:

13

The spoons and the bowls used to contain the meal offerings and similarly, the basins used to receive the blood, and the other vessels used [in the Sanctuary] were all made of silver and gold. It was permitted to make them from other metals, as we explained.43 They receive their holiness by being used for the [desired] tasks. If they were broken, they should be smelted down and another utensil made from them,44 for their holiness never departs from them.

יג

הַכַּפּוֹת וְהַקְּעָרוֹת שֶׁמְּקַבְּלִין בָּהֶם הַמְּנָחוֹת וְכֵן הַמִּזְרָקוֹת שֶׁמְּקַבְּלִין בָּהֶן הַדָּם וּשְׁאָר כְּלֵי הַשָּׁרֵת כֻּלָּן שֶׁל כֶּסֶף וְשֶׁל זָהָב הָיוּ וּמֻתָּר לַעֲשׂוֹתָן מִשְּׁאָר מִינֵי מַתָּכוֹת כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ וְכֻלָּן מִתְקַדְּשִׁין בִּמְלַאכְתָּן. וְאִם נִשְׁבְּרוּ מַתִּיךְ אוֹתָם וְעוֹשֶׂה אוֹתָן כְּלִי אַחֵר וְאֵין קְדֻשָּׁתָן מִסְתַּלֶּקֶת מֵהֶן לְעוֹלָם:

14

If the sacred utensils became perforated or cracked, the cracks are not plugged close. Instead, the utensils should be smelted down and new utensils made.45

יד

כְּלֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ שֶׁנִּקְּבוּ אוֹ שֶׁנִּסְדְּקוּ אֵין סוֹתְמִין אוֹתָן אֶלָּא מַתִּיכִין אוֹתָן וְעוֹשִׂין אוֹתָן חֲדָשִׁים:

15

When a knife has become dislodged from its shaft or blemished, it is not returned to its shaft, nor is it sharpened. Instead, it should be entombed on the side of the Temple, between the Sanctuary and the Entrance Hall on the south46 and new ones should be made. For [conduct bespeaking] poverty is not [appropriate] in a place where wealth [is in place].

טו

סַכִּין שֶׁנִּשְׁמַט מִן הַנִּצָּב אוֹ שֶׁנִּפְגַּם אֵין מַחֲזִירִין אוֹתוֹ וְאֵין מַשְׁחִיזִין אוֹתוֹ. אֶלָּא גּוֹנְזִין אוֹתוֹ בְּצַד הַהֵיכָל בֵּין הַקֹּדֶשׁ וְהָאוּלָם לַדָּרוֹם וְעוֹשִׂין אֲחֵרִים. שֶׁאֵין עֲנִיּוּת בִּמְקוֹם עֲשִׁירוּת:

16

There were two containers for dry measure in the Temple: an isaron and a half an isaron.47 The isaron was for the meal offering48 and the half isaron to separate the meal offering brought by the High Priest every day.49

טז

שְׁתֵּי מִדּוֹת שֶׁל יָבֵשׁ הָיוּ בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ. עִשָּׂרוֹן. וַחֲצִי עִשָּׂרוֹן. הָעִשָּׂרוֹן לִמְנָחוֹת. וַחֲצִי הָעִשָּׂרוֹן לְחַלֵּק בּוֹ מִנְחַת כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁבְּכָל יוֹם:

17

There were seven containers of liquid measure: a hin,50 a half a hin, a third of a hin, a fourth of a hin, a log, a half a log, and a fourth of a log. 51

Why were there measures of a half a hin, a third of a hin, a fourth of a hin? To measure out the wine libations for the sacrifices.52 A log was necessary to measure the oil for the meal offerings.53 A half a log was necessary to measure out the oil for every lamp of the lamps of the Menorah.54 And a fourth [of a log] to divide the oil for [the High Priest's] chavitan offering.55

יז

וְשֶׁבַע מִדּוֹת שֶׁל לַח הָיוּ שָׁם. הִין. וַחֲצִי הַהִין. וּשְׁלִישִׁית הַהִין. וּרְבִיעִית הַהִין. וְלוֹג. וַחֲצִי לוֹג. וּרְבִיעִית. וְלָמָּה הָיוּ חֲצִי הַהִין וּשְׁלִישִׁית הַהִין וּרְבִיעִית הַהִין. לִמְדִידַת הַנְּסָכִים שֶׁל זְבָחִים. וְלוֹג לִמְדִידַת שֶׁמֶן הַמְּנָחוֹת. וַחֲצִי לוֹג לִמְדִידַת שֶׁמֶן לְכָל נֵר מִנֵּרוֹת הַמְּנוֹרָה. וּרְבִיעִית לְחַלֵּק בָּהּ הַשֶּׁמֶן לַחֲבִיתִין:

18

There is nothing that is measured with a hin. Why [then] was it there? [It remained, because] it had been in the Sanctuary from the time of Moses who used it to measure the oil for the anointing oil.56 With the measure of a half a log that was in the Temple, water was measured for the Sotah water57 and oil for the thanksgiving offerings.58 With the measure of a fourth [of a log], oil was measured for the bread brought by a nazirite59 and water for the purification of a metzora.60 It is not that through these deeds the measures became sanctified,61 but rather because of the tasks [performed] in the Sanctuary that were mentioned [in the preceding halachah].

יח

וְאֵין לָנוּ דָּבָר לִמְדֹּד בּוֹ הִין וְלָמָּה הָיָה שָׁם. הוֹאִיל וְהָיָה בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ מִימֵי משֶׁה שֶׁמָּדַד בּוֹ שֶׁמֶן לְשֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה. וּבַחֲצִי לוֹג שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ הָיוּ מוֹדְדִין מַיִם לְמֵי סוֹטָה וְשֶׁמֶן לְתוֹדָה. וּבָרְבִיעִית שֶׁהָיְתָה שָׁם הָיוּ מוֹדְדִין שֶׁמֶן לֶחֶם הַנָּזִיר. וּמַיִם לְטָהֳרַת מְצֹרָע. וְלֹא מִפְּנֵי מַעֲשִׂים אֵלּוּ נִתְקַדְּשׁוּ אֶלָּא מִפְּנֵי הַמְּלָאכוֹת שֶׁל מִקְדָּשׁ שֶׁאָמַרְנוּ:

19

All of these measures are consecrated and are considered as sacred utensils. [There is, however a difference between them.] The liquid measures were anointed on both the inside and the outside, while the dry measures were anointed only on the inside. Therefore the overflow of the liquid measures was consecrated,62 and the overflow of the dry measures was not consecrated.63

יט

כָּל הַמִּדּוֹת הָאֵלּוּ קֹדֶשׁ וּמִכְּלֵי הַשָּׁרֵת. אֶלָּא שֶׁמִּדּוֹת הַלַּח נִמְשְׁחוּ מִבִּפְנִים וּמִבַּחוּץ. וּכְלֵי הַיָּבֵשׁ לֹא נִמְשְׁחוּ אֶלָּא בִּפְנִים. לְפִיכָךְ בֵּירוּצֵי מִדּוֹת הַלַּח קֹדֶשׁ. וּבֵירוּצֵי מִדּוֹת הַיָּבֵשׁ חל:

Footnotes
1.

The Rambam's wording here represents a change from his wording in Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 35) where he describes the mitzvah in passive terms: "having the oil made in a unique fashion available for anointing." Perhaps he chose that wording for, as explained in Halachah 5, after the oil was made at Moses' command, no other such oil was ever made and the mitzvah was merely "to have it."

2.

Sefer HaMitzvot (ibid.) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 107) includes this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. See the gloss of the Radbaz who explains that anointing the kings and the High Priest is not considered one of the mitzvot, for there were times when this anointment was not practiced.

3.

The mixture of spices mentioned in the previous verses.

4.

This addition is necessary, for as indicated by Exodus 37:29, Moses himself did not prepare the anointment oil. It was prepared by Betzalel and the other craftsmen working with him.

5.

According to Scriptural Law, based on the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Bechorot 8:8), in modern measure a shekel of the Torah is equivalent to 16 grams of pure silver. Nevertheless, as the Rambam states in Hilchot Shekalim 1:2, in the era of the Second Temple, our Sages increased its measure by almost a fourth. Accordingly, the measure of silver required for the redemption of the firstborn and other obligations were a shekel is required is significantly larger.

6.

The Rambam describes these spices in the following halachah.

7.

The Kessef Mishneh states that the obligation to grind the herbs is derived from a comparison to the incense offering. The order in which they are ground and then mixed is a logical deduction. If they are ground first, they will be mixed more thoroughly and more effectively.

8.

A common halachic measure equivalent to approximately 86 cc according to Shiurei Torah and approximately 150 cc according to Chazon Ish. Thus a hin is 48 times this amount.

9.

For the oil will float above the water.

10.

Otherwise, the amount of oil used would not be sufficient to soak all the herbs (Rashi, in his commentary to Exodus 30:24).

11.

The Rambam is referring to a secretion of the abdominal gland of the male musk deer, a large animal that roams the mountains of Nepal and Tibet. The secretion is reddish-brown, with a honeylike consistency and a strong fragrance. After the gland is cut open, the secretion hardens, assumes a blackish-brown color, and when dry becomes granular.

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's definition, stating that it is improper that the blood of a beast - and certainly, a non-kosher beast - be used in the Sanctuary. He interprets the term mor as referring to the fragrant herb, myrrh. The Kessef Mishneh supports the Rambam's view, explaining that the loathsome quality one would associate with the blood of a beast departs from it when the secretion dries and becomes granular. See also the Ramban's commentary to Exodus 30:23, where he discusses both positions.

12.

It is the root of a tall herb, whose botanical name is Saussurea lappa, which even today grows only in the highlands of Kashmir.

13.

In his notes to his translation of the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Keritot 1:1), Rav Kapach identifies this as the acorus calamus plant. In his Living Torah, Rav Aryeh Kaplan identifies this as the cymbopogon martini or palmarosa plant.

14.

Literally, the soul's being cut off. This involves premature death in this world (before the age of 50, Mo'ed Kattan 28a) and the soul not meriting a portion in the world to come (Hilchot Teshuvah 8:1).

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 83) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 109) includes the prohibition against making such oil among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

15.

The term "fixed sin-offering" is used to differentiate between this offering and "an adjustable guilt offering" in which instance, the offering the person brings changes according to his financial capacity. See Hilchot Shegagot 1:4.

16.

Even if those people desire to use it for anointment. As long as he personally does not intend to use it for anointment, he is not liable (Radbaz).

17.

I.e., the act is forbidden, but he is not liable.

18.

For to be liable, one must benefit from a minimum measure and that minimum measure is, as is true with regard to partaking of forbidden substances, an olive-sized portion.

19.

I.e., someone other than a High Priest, a king, and the priest who lead the people in war, as stated in Halachah 7.

20.

And not a copy, even if it was made in the exact same manner.

21.

That oil remained throughout the majority of the First Temple period until it was entombed by King Josiah together with the ark, as the Rambam relates in Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 4:1. From that point onward, neither the High Priests or kings were anointed.

On the surface, one might ask: Since no other oil was ever made, why is making the oil considered one of the 613 mitzvot? For as the Rambam clarifies several times in Sefer HaMitzvot, if an obligation is not ongoing, it is not appropriate to consider it as a mitzvah. On that basis, a number of commands, for example, the command to wage war against Midian (Numbers 7:2), were excluded from this reckoning.

The Minchat Chinuch (positive mitzvah 107) notes that the prooftext quoted by the Rambam concludes "for your generations," i.e., for all time. The mitzvah was to have the oil made by Moses available at all time. After the oil was entombed by King Josiah, new oil was not made, because the oil which Moses made is still available. At the coming of Mashiach, that oil will surface and again be used.

22.

The Radbaz maintains that if the others willfully allow the oil to be applied to their flesh, they are also liable. The Tosefta, Makkot, ch. 3, also rules in this manner.

23.

See Kiddushin 68a; Hilchot Eruvin 2:9.

24.

And none of the above are halachicly equivalent to a man.

25.

I.e., in contrast to the era of Moses where this oil was also used to anoint the priestly garments and the vessels of the Sanctuary, as stated in Halachah 12.

26.

See Hilchot Melachim, ch. 7, which states that a priest is appointed to speak before the nation and inspire them in war.

27.

The kings of the ten tribes, by contrast, were not anointed with this anointing oil, only balsam oil, as stated in Hilchot Melachim 1:10. According to the Rambam (ibid.:7), King Saul was also anointed with this oil. He is not mentioned, because his regal line did not continue for posterity.

28.

In contrast, the kings were anointed only when there is a dispute over the inheritance or during a civil war (ibid.:12 and Halachah 11 of this chapter).

29.

As mentioned above, the anointing oil was entombed toward the conclusion of the First Temple Era.

30.

Our text follows the manuscript versions of the Mishneh Torah and the manuscript versions of the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Menachot 6:3). Most of the later printings of the Mishneh Torah replace the C with an X, for in fact, this is the form of the Greek letter. Kin'at Eliyahu suggests that although the Rambam speaks about the Greek letter, perhaps his intent was the Roman letter.

31.

The translation of rosho as "forehead" rather than "head," is based on the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Keritot 1:1).

32.

For we are obligated to apply it to them.

33.

Including a High Priest or king.

34.

Even though the oil was placed on his flesh, since it should not have been applied to this portion of the body, doing so is included in the above prohibition.

35.

The Ra'avad objects to this qualification, maintaining that once he places an olive-sized portion of the oil on his skin, he is liable even if he spreads a smaller measure. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh note that the simple meaning of Keritot 6b appears to support the Ra'avad's position. Nevertheless, they also provide interpretations that support the Rambam's understanding.

36.

Horiot 12a explains that the king was anointed there as an sign that his dynasty should be perpetuated, just as a stream continues in a never-ending flow. This symbolism is only appropriate for kings of the Davidic dynasty, whose dynasty will continue for-ever. In contrast, the dynasties of the kings of Israel will eventually be interrupted [see Hilchot Melachim 1:9 (Kessef Mishneh)].

Accordingly, King David ordered that Solomon be anointed at the Gichon Stream (1 Kings 1:33).

37.

When mentioning this law, Hilchot Melachim 1:7 continues: "Not only the monarchy, but all other positions of authority and appointments in Israel, are transferred to one's children and grand-children as inheritances forever." The order of inheritance of the crown follows the order of inheritance of property as explained in Hilchot Nachalot, ch. 1. The first in line for the monarchy are the deceased king's sons, in order of age. Should none of his sons be alive, the right is passed to his grandchildren. The children of the elder son are granted preference. If the king has no male descendents, the monarchy is given to his brothers. If they are not alive, it is granted to their sons. From them, the right to the throne passes to the deceased king's nephews (his sister's sons), then to his uncles, to his first cousins.

38.

1 Kings, Chapter l, describes Adoniyahu's abortive attempt to declare himself as David's successor.

39.

II Kings, Chapter 11, describes Atal'ya's murder of the children of King Achazyahu, her assumption of the throne, and the revolt which established Yoash as king.

40.

Yehoachaz was younger than Yehoyakim. Nevertheless, he was given the throne, because he was more capable than his brother, and better suited to serve in his father's position. See the commentaries to II Kings, ch. 23.

41.

See II Kings, ch. 9.

42.

The Radbaz uses this concept to reinforce his thesis that the Rambam does not consider applying the anointing oil as a mitzvah, because it did not apply for all time.

43.

Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 1:18-19. There the Rambam explains that it is preferable to make them from precious metals. Nevertheless, if this is beyond the financial capacity of the community, they can be made from base metals. Indeed, when the Hasmoneans conquered Jerusalem, it is said that they first made a Menorah of iron coated with tin.

44.

Note a similar ruling in Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 8:21.

45.

For patchwork is not becoming to the Temple.

46.

This portion of the Temple was called Beit HaChalafot, "the Chamber of the Knives," for this reason (Middot 4:7).

47.

An isaron is the size of 43.2 eggs. According to modern measure, the size of an egg is considered to be 57.6 cc according to Shiurei Torah and 99.5 cc according to Chazon Ish.

48.

For as stated in Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 12:5, the meal offerings were measured out using an isaron as the basic measure.

49.

As stated in ibid. 12:4, 13:2, each day the High Priest would bring a meal offering and he would divide it in half. Half was offered in the morning, and half in the afternoon.

50.

See Halachah 2.

51.

As mentioned above, a revi'it, a fourth of a log, is a common halachic measure equivalent to approximately 86 cc according to Shiurei Torah and approximately 150 cc according to Chazon Ish.

52.

As Numbers 28:14 states, the wine libation for a bull was half a hin, for a ram, one third of a hin, and for a ewe, one fourth of a hin. See also Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbonot 2:4.

53.

As stated in Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbonot 12:7, a log of oil is poured over all the different meal offerings.

54.

For as stated in Hilchot Temidim UMusafim 3:11, this quantity of oil was placed in the lamps every day of the year.

55.

For as indicated by Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 13:3, a fourth of a log of oil is poured on each of the cakes the High Priest brings.

56.

As stated in Halachah 2 above.

57.

A sotah, a woman accused of adultery, was forced to drink water in which a scroll containing a curse with God's name had been blotted out. See Hilchot Sotah 3:9.

58.

As stated in Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbonot 9:20, a log of oil was used in the baking processes of the different types of wafers used for this offering. Kin'at Eliyahu asks: Since there were specific measures employed in making each type of wafer, why weren't smaller measures used to measure out this oil?

59.

As stated in Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 9:23, a fourth of a log of oil was used in the preparation of this bread.

60.

A person with a physical affliction similar to - but not identical with - leprosy. As related in Hilchot Tuma'at Tzara'at 11:1, as part of such a person's purification process, a bird was slaughtered and its blood poured over water.

61.

I.e., receiving the blood of a sacrificial animal is an act of service. Therefore it consecrates the container. Preparing the meal offerings, by contrast, is not an act of service. Therefore it does not sanctify the container.

62.

Because it had touched a sacred utensil, the outside of the measure. These liquids were collected and used as libations or sold and the proceeds used to bring sacrifices for the altar. See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbonot 2:9-11.

See also Hilchot Pesulei HaMukdashim 3:20.

63.

Because it never touched a sacred utensil.

Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 2

1

The incense offering was prepared every year. Preparing it fulfills a positive commandment,1 as [Exodus 30:34] states: "And you take spices...." Four of the spices are explicitly mentioned in the Torah. They are balsum,2 onycha, storax, and frankincense. The others were communicated as a halachah communicated to Moses at Sinai.

א

הַקְטֹרֶת נַעֲשֵׂית בְּכָל שָׁנָה וְשָׁנָה וַעֲשִׂיָּתוֹ מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְאַתָּה קַח לְךָ סַמִּים וְגוֹ'. וְנִתְפָּרְשׁוּ בַּתּוֹרָה אַרְבָּעָה מִסַּמְמָנֶיהָ. וְהֵן (שמות ל לד) "נָטָף. וּשְׁחֵלֶת. וְחֶלְבְּנָה. וּלְבֹנָה". וּשְׁאָר סַמְמָנֶיהָ הֲלָכָה לְמשֶׁה מִסִּינַי:

2

[The requirement for] eleven spices was communicated to Moses at Sinai.3 The would prepare them with an exact weight and add to them - without weighing them: Salt of Sodom,4 Jordanian amber,5 and an herb that would produce smoke. Only select people would know its identity and that knowledge was conveyed as halachah from person to person.

ב

אַחַד עָשָׂר סַמְמָנִים נֶאֶמְרוּ לוֹ לְמשֶׁה מִסִּינַי. וְהֵם שֶׁעוֹשִׂין אוֹתָן בְּמִשְׁקָל מְכֻוָּן. וּמוֹסִיפִין עִמָּהֶן בְּלֹא מִשְׁקָל מֶלַח סְדוֹמִית וְכִפַּת הַיַּרְדֵּן. וְעֵשֶׂב אֶחָד שֶׁמַּעֲלֶה עָשָׁן. וְלֹא הָיוּ יוֹדְעִים אוֹתוֹ אֶלָּא אֲנָשִׁים יְדוּעִים וְהוּא הָיָה הֲלָכָה בְּיָדָם אִישׁ מִפִּי אִישׁ:

3

This is the weight of the eleven spices: balsam, onycha, storax, frankincense, 70 maneh from each one. A maneh is 100 dinarim,6musk, cassia, spikenard, and saffron, 16 maneh, costus, 12 maneh, cinnamon, 9 maneh, Ceylonese cinnamon 3 maneh. The weight of the entire mixture was 368 maneh.

The entire mixture was ground very thin. A fourth of a kab7 of the salt of Sodom and a small amount of Jordanian amber and the smoke raising herb were added. A maneh of it was burned every day8 on the golden altar. There were 365 maneh, corresponding to the 365 days of the year. The three remaining maneh were ground again on the day before Yom Kippur very finely for [the High Priest] to take a handful to offer on Yom Kippur.9 The remainder is the remainder of the incense that was mentioned in [Hilchot] Shekalim.10

ג

וְזֶהוּ מִשְׁקַל אַחַד עָשָׂר סַמָּנֶיהָ. נָטָף. וּשְׁחֵלֶת. וְחֶלְבְּנָה. וּלְבֹנָה. מִכָּל אֶחָד מִשְׁקַל שִׁבְעִים מָנֶה. וְהַמָּנֶה מֵאָה דִּינָרִין. וּמוֹר. וּקְצִיעָה. וְשִׁבּלֶת נֵרְדְּ. וְכַרְכֹּם. מִכָּל אֶחָד שִׁשָּׁה עָשָׂר מָנֶה. קֹשְׁטְ שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר מָנֶה. קִנָּמוֹן תִּשְׁעָה מָנִים. קִלּוּפָה שְׁלֹשָׁה מָנִים. מִשְׁקַל הַכּל שְׁלֹשׁ מֵאוֹת וְשִׁשִּׁים וּשְׁמוֹנָה מָנֶה. שְׁחוּקִין הַכּל הָדֵק. מוֹסִיפִין לָהּ רֹבַע הַקַּב מֶלַח סְדוֹמִית. וְכִפַּת הַיַּרְדֵּן וּמַעֲלֶה עָשָׁן כָּל שֶׁהוּא. וּמַקְטִיר מִמֶּנָּה בְּכָל יוֹם עַל מִזְבַּח הַזָּהָב מָנֶה. שְׁלֹשׁ מֵאוֹת וְשִׁשִּׁים וַחֲמִשָּׁה מָנֶה כְּנֶגֶד יְמוֹת הַחַמָּה. וְהַשְּׁלֹשָׁה מָנִים הַנִּשְׁאָרִים שׁוֹחֵק אוֹתָם עֶרֶב יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים דַּקָּה מִן הַדַּקָּה עַד שֶׁמּוֹצִיא מִמֶּנָּה מָלֵא חָפְנָיו לְהַקְטִיר בְּיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים. וְהַשְּׁאָר הוּא מוֹתַר הַקְּטֹרֶת שֶׁאָמַרְנוּ בִּשְׁקָלִים:

4

Nataf mentioned by the Torah are the balsam trees that produce balsam oil.11 Onycha is tziporen12 which people include in incense. Storax is like black honey and it produces a disagreeable odor. It comes from the sap of the trees grown in Greece. These are the names of the spices in Arabic: od balasan, atzpar tiv, miyah,13 lican,14 muski,15 ketziyah,16 sanbali alnaturin,17 saffron, kosht,18 od,19 kesser silica,20 and anber.21

ד

נָטָף הָאָמוּר בַּתּוֹרָה הוּא עֲצֵי הַקְּטָף שֶׁיּוֹצֵא מֵהֶן הַצֳּרִי. וְהַשְּׁחֵלֶת הִיא הַצִּפֹּרֶן שֶׁנּוֹתְנִין אוֹתָהּ בְּנֵי הָאָדָם בְּמֻגְמָרוֹת. וְהַחֶלְבְּנָה כְּמוֹ דְּבַשׁ שָׁחוֹר וְרֵיחוֹ קָשֶׁה וְהוּא שְׂרַף אִילָנוֹת בְּעָרֵי יָוָן. וְזֶהוּ שְׁמוֹת הַסַּמָּנִים בְּלָשׁוֹן עֲרָבִי. עוּד בְּלַסַאן וְאַצְפַאר טִיב. וּמִיעָה. וּלְכַאן. וּמוּסְקִי. וּקְצִיעָה. וְסַנְבְּלִי אַלְנַטוֹרִין. וְזַעֲפְרָן. וְקֹשְׁט. וְעוּד [הַיַּרְדִּי]. וְקַסַּר סְלִיכָה. וְעִנְבָּר:

5

How is the incense offering prepared? Nine kabbin of vetch lye are brought and the onycha is rubbed with it.22 Afterwards, the onycha is soaked in 21 kabbin of caper wine23 or a very strong, aged white wine. Afterwards each of the spices is ground very finely alone. While he is grinding, he should say: "Grind thoroughly. Grind thoroughly," for the entire time that he is grinding.24 Then he mixes them all together.

ה

כֵּיצַד מְפַטְּמִין אֶת הַקְּטֹרֶת. מֵבִיא תִּשְׁעָה קַבִּין בֹּרִית כַּרְשִׁינָה וְשָׁף בָּהּ אֶת הַצִּפֹּרֶן וְאַחַר כָּךְ שׁוֹרֶה אֶת הַצִּפֹּרֶן בְּאֶחָד וְעֶשְׂרִים קַב שֶׁל יֵין קַפְרִיסִין אוֹ יַיִן לָבָן יָשָׁן חָזָק בְּיוֹתֵר. וְאַחַר כָּךְ שׁוֹחֵק כָּל אֶחָד מִן הַסַּמָּנִים בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ הָדֵק. וּכְשֶׁהוּא שׁוֹחֵק אוֹמֵר הָדֵק הֵיטֵב הָדֵק הֵיטֵב כָּל זְמַן שֶׁשּׁוֹחֵק וּמְעָרֵב הַכּל:

6

All of the acts involved in its preparation are performed in the Sanctuary, in the Temple Courtyard, [using ingredients that] have been consecrated.25 When one prepares the incense offering from unconsecrated ingredients or in an unconsecrated utensil, it is unacceptable.

ו

וְכָל מַעֲשֶׂיהָ בַּקֹּדֶשׁ בְּתוֹךְ הָעֲזָרָה וּמִשֶּׁל הַקֹּדֶשׁ. וְהַמְפַטֵּם אֶת הַקְּטֹרֶת מִן הַחֻלִּין אוֹ בִּכְלִי שֶׁל חֻלִּין פְּסוּלָה:

7

Twice a year, the incense would be returned to the grinder.26 In the summer, it would be spread out so that it would not become musty. In the rainy season, it is stored away lest its fragrance be weakened.

ז

פַּעֲמַיִם בַּשָּׁנָה הָיוּ מַחֲזִירִין אוֹתוֹ לַמַּכְתֶּשֶׁת. בִּימוֹת הַחַמָּה הָיוּ מְפַזְּרִים אוֹתָהּ כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא תִּתְעַפֵּשׁ. וּבִימוֹת הַגְּשָׁמִים צוֹבְרִין אוֹתָהּ כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יָפוּג רֵיחָהּ:

8

If one included any honey in it, it is disqualified.27 If one omits any of its spices, he is liable for death, for it is considered as foreign incense. If one prepared it little by little in appropriate proportions, it is acceptable. Even if one prepared half [a maneh] in the morning and half in the afternoon, [it is acceptable].

ח

נָתַן לְתוֹכָהּ דְּבַשׁ כָּל שֶׁהוּא פְּסָלָהּ. חִסֵּר אֶחָד מִסַּמְמָנֶיהָ חַיָּב מִיתָה שֶׁהֲרֵי נַעֲשֵׂית קְטֹרֶת זָרָה. פִּטְּמָהּ מְעַט מְעַט בְּמַתְכֻּנְתָּהּ כְּשֵׁרָה אֲפִלּוּ פִּטֵּם פְּרָס בְּשַׁחֲרִית וּפְרָס בֵּין הָעַרְבַּיִם:

9

When a person prepares incense from these eleven spices according to these proportions to smell its fragrance, he is liable for karet for its preparation28if he prepared it willfully, even if he did not actually smell its fragrance. If he did so inadvertently, he is liable for a fixed sin offering. Even if he did not prepare the entire quantity [of 368 maneh], but merely a half or a third, since he prepared it according to the above proportions, he is liable for karet, as [Exodus 30:38] states: "You shall not make [incense] for yourselves according to its formula. Anyone who prepares [incense] like this to smell its fragrance shall be cut off from his people."

ט

הָעוֹשֶׂה קְטֹרֶת מֵאַחַד עָשָׂר סַמְמָנִין אֵלּוּ לְפִי מִשְׁקָלוֹת אֵלּוּ כְּדֵי לְהָרִיחַ בָּהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא הֵרִיחַ חַיָּב כָּרֵת עַל עֲשִׂיָּתָהּ אִם עָשָׂה מֵזִיד. וּבְשׁוֹגֵג מֵבִיא חַטָּאת קְבוּעָה. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא עָשָׂה הַמִּשְׁקָל כֻּלּוֹ אֶלָּא חֶצְיוֹ אוֹ שְׁלִישׁוֹ. הוֹאִיל וְעָשָׂה לְפִי מִשְׁקָלוֹת אֵלּוּ חַיָּב כָּרֵת. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות ל לז) "בְּמַתְכֻּנְתָּהּ לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ לָכֶם" (שמות ל לח) "אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה כָמוֹהָ לְהָרִיחַ בָּהּ וְנִכְרַת מֵעַמָּיו":

10

If he prepared it to learn or with the intent of giving it to the community, he is not liable. If he smelled its fragrance, but did not prepare it, he is not liable for karet. Instead, he is bound by the laws applying to all of those who derive benefit from consecrated property.29 The Torah obligated a person for karet only when he prepared it according to its formula for the sake of smelling it.

י

עֲשָׂאָהּ לְהִתְלַמֵּד בָּהּ אוֹ לְמָסְרָהּ לַצִּבּוּר פָּטוּר. הֵרִיחַ בָּהּ וְלֹא עֲשָׂאָהּ אֵינוֹ חַיָּב כָּרֵת אֶלָּא דִּינוֹ כְּדִין כָּל הַנֶּהֱנֶה מִן הַהֶקְדֵּשׁ. לֹא חִיְּבָה תּוֹרָה כָּרֵת אֶלָּא לָעוֹשֶׂה בְּמַתְכֻּנְתָּהּ לְהָרִיחַ בָּהּ:

11

The incense offering is offered on the Golden Altar in the Temple each day. No other entity is offered on it. If one offered any incense other than this or offered this incense, but it was donated by an individual or a group,30 or one offered a sacrifice on it,31 or poured a libation on it, one is liable for lashes,32 as [ibid.:9] states: "You shall not offer upon it foreign incense, a burnt offering, or a meal offering."

יא

מִזְבַּח הַזָּהָב שֶׁבַּהֵיכָל עָלָיו מַקְטִירִין הַקְּטֹרֶת בְּכָל יוֹם. וְאֵין מַקְרִיבִין עָלָיו דָּבָר אַחֵר. וְאִם הִקְטִיר עָלָיו קְטֹרֶת אַחֶרֶת שֶׁאֵינָהּ כָּזוֹ. אוֹ שֶׁהִקְטִיר עָלָיו קְטֹרֶת כָּזוֹ שֶׁהִתְנַדֵּב אוֹתָהּ יָחִיד אוֹ רַבִּים. אוֹ הִקְרִיב עָלָיו קָרְבָּן. אוֹ הִסִּיךְ נֶסֶךְ. לוֹקֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות ל ט) "לֹא תַעֲלוּ עָלָיו קְטֹרֶת זָרָה וְעוֹלָה וּמִנְחָה" וְגוֹ':

12

When the ark is transported from place to place, it should not be transported on an animal or on a wagon. Instead, it is a mitzvah for it to be carried on one's shoulders.33Since David forgot and had it transported on a wagon, there was an outbreak [of Divine anger] at Uzzah.34 Instead, it is a mitzvah to carry it on one's shoulders, as [Numbers 7:9] states: "For the holy task is their obligation. They shall carry it on their shoulders."

יב

בְּעֵת שֶׁמּוֹלִיכִין אֶת הָאָרוֹן מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם אֵין מוֹלִיכִין אוֹתוֹ לֹא עַל הַבְּהֵמָה וְלֹא עַל הָעֲגָלוֹת אֶלָּא מִצְוָה לְנָטְלוֹ עַל הַכָּתֵף. וּלְפִי שֶׁשָּׁכַח דָּוִד וּנְשָׂאוֹ עַל הָעֲגָלָה נִפְרַץ פֶּרֶץ בְּעֻזָּא. אֶלָּא מִצְוָה לְנָשְׂאוֹ עַל הַכָּתֵף שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ז ט) "כִּי עֲבֹדַת הַקֹּדֶשׁ עֲלֵיהֶם בַּכָּתֵף יִשָּׂאוּ":

13

When [the Levites] carry the ark on their shoulders, they should carry it face to face, with their backs pointed outward and their faces inward.35 They must be careful that the staves of the ark are not removed from the rings. Anyone who removes one of the staves36 from the rings is liable for lashes,37 as [Exodus 25:15] states: "The staves shall be in the rings of the ark. They shall not be removed from it."

יג

כְּשֶׁנּוֹשְׂאִים אוֹתוֹ עַל הַכָּתֵף נוֹשְׂאִין פָּנִים כְּנֶגֶד פָּנִים וַאֲחוֹרֵיהֶם לַחוּץ וּפְנֵיהֶם לְפָנִים. וְנִזְהָרִים שֶׁלֹּא יִשָּׁמְטוּ הַבַּדִּים מִן הַטַּבָּעוֹת. שֶׁהַמֵּסִיר אֶחָד מִן הַבַּדִּים מִן הַטַּבָּעוֹת לוֹקֶה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כה טו) "בְּטַבְּעֹת הָאָרֹן יִהְיוּ הַבַּדִּים לֹא יָסֻרוּ מִמֶּנּוּ":

Footnotes
1.

As the Radbaz states, the Rambam does not consider the preparation of the incense offering as a separate mitzvah. Indeed, in his Sefer HaMitzvos, General Principle 10, he explains that preparing the incense offering should not be considered as a separate mitzvah, for until it is actually offered it is an incomplete act. The mitzvah of bringing the incense offering is mentioned in Hilchot Temidim UMusafim 3:1.

2.

The Rambam defines the terms mentioned here in Halachah 4.

3.

I.e., through the principles of Biblical exegesis, our Sages (Keritot 8b) derived that the incense offering contained this number of spices.

4.

Although a measure of volume was mentioned for Salt of Sodom (see the following halachah), a measure of weight was not.

5.

Amber is the fossilized resin from ancient forests. The resin becomes buried and fossilized through a natural polymerization of the original organic compounds. Heating amber will soften it and eventually it will burn, producing a pleasant fragrance. Others identify kipat hayardein with roses. Living Torah refers to it as cycla men, an attractive flower that grows in the Mediterranean region.

6.

A dinar is 76.8 grams (81.6 grams according to a more stringent view) in modern measure.

7.

A measure of volume equal to 1376 cc according to Shiurei Torah, 2400 cc according to Chazon Ish.

8.

Half a maneh in the morning and half in the afternoon.

9.

In the Holy of Holies. See Hilchot Avodat Yom HaKippurim 4:1.

10.

365 portions of incense were prepared although an ordinary lunar year has 353, 354, or 355 days. Hence, at the end of the year, there was a certain amount left over. In Hilchot Shekalim 4:12, the Rambam writes that on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the remainder of the incense was redeemed and then given to the craftsmen who prepared it. Afterwards, it was repurchased from them. Thus when a leap year was declared, there was enough incense.

11.

Balsalm is an evergreen tree whose sap has a very pleasant fragrance.

12.

The claw or nail of the strombus or wing-shell, a shell-fish common in the Red Sea. When burned, they emit a strong fragrance.

13.

These terms refer to balsam, onycha, and storax.

14.

Frankincense is the gum resin of a tree found growing in tropical regions, a member of the Burseraceae family. This resin exudes as a milky liquid and hardens into yellowish droplets, known as frankincense tears. It gives off a warm, slightly citrine perfume.

15.

Musk, see Chapter 1, Halachah 3.

16.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Keritot 1:1), the Rambam states that this is an herb that he cannot identify. Some have identified it with cassia, an aromatic bark, similar to cinnamon, but differing in strength and quality.

17.

Spikenard is obtained from an Indian plant, found in the Himalaya mountains, the Nardostachys jatamansi.

18.

Costus, see Chapter 1, Halachah 3.

19.

Cinnamon.

20.

Ceylonese cinnamon.

21.

Jordanian amber.

22.

This cleanses it thoroughly and improves its appearance.

23.

Alternatively, wine from Cyprus.

24.

For the chanting improves the spices (Keritot 6b).

25.

Keritot 6b derives this concept from the description of the anointment oil in Exodus 30:32: "It is holy; it shall be holy for you." The repetition of the term "holy" implies that all of the activity to prepare it must be performed with entities that are consecrated. An equation is established between that oil and the incense offering.

26.

To grind it again, lest it have solidified.

27.

Although this would greatly improved its fragrance, there is an explicit Biblical prohibition (Leviticus 2:11; Hilchot Issurei Mizbeiach 5:2) against burning any such incense.

28.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 85) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 110) consider the prohibition against preparing incense for its fragrance as one of the Torah's 613 commandments.

29.

This is speaking about a person who smells the fragrance of the communal incense offering. A person who smells the incense of a private individual who copied the formula of the incense offering is not liable.

See Hilchot Meilah 1:2 for the details of one's liability. See also ibid. 5:16 which states that this applies only when the column of smoke from the incense is rising. Once it has already risen, the prohibition no longer applies.

30.

But not to the community as a whole.

The Radbaz quotes Rashi (Keritot 6a) which states that one is liable for death at the hand of heaven for bringing such an incense offering. (The death of Aaron's sons, Nadav and Avihu, are cited as proof for this thesis.)

31.

The blood of certain sacrifices is, however, sprinkled on it, as stated in Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 5:13; Hilchot Avodat Yom HaKippurim 4:2.

32.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 82) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 104) consider the prohibition against making such offerings on this altar as one of the Torah's 613 commandments.

33.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 34) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 379) consider this mitzvah as one of the Torah's 613 commandments.

The prooftext cited by the Rambam refers to the ark being carried by the Levites, the descendants of the family of Kehot. In Sefer HaMitzvot, however, the Rambam writes that the mitzvah for all time was to have the ark carried by the priests and not the Levites. Indeed, the narrative of the ark being carried in Joshua 3:6 and II Samuel 15:25 corroborates this thesis. (The Ramban explains that this does not contradict the Biblical command, because the priests are also descendants of Kehot.) The reason the mitzvah was fulfilled by the Levites while the Jews journeyed through the desert is because there were not enough priests to carry the ark at that time.

34.

As the Bible relates, II Samuel, ch. 6, God vented His anger for the transgression on Uzzah, causing his death.

35.

Thus those in the front will be walking backwards. This is necessary so that they will not be turning their backs to the ark (Bamidbar Rabbah, ch. 5).

36.

Although the prooftext quoted by the Rambam speaks of the staves, using the plural term, he understands the prohibition as applying even to one of them. See the Minchat Chinuch (mitzvah 96) which discusses this issue.

37.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 86) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 96) consider the prohibition against removing the staves as one of the Torah's 613 commandments.

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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