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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 9, Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 10, Biat Hamikdash - Chapter 1

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Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 9

1

How is the forehead plate made? We make a plate of gold two fingerbreadths1 wide that extends [over the forehead of the High Priest] from one ear to the other. Upon it is written, קדש לה'ה2 in two lines, קדש on the lower line and לה'ה on the upper line.3 If [the words] were written on one line it was valid. There were times when they were written on one line.4

א

כֵּיצַד מַעֲשֵׂה הַצִּיץ. עוֹשֶׂה טַס שֶׁל זָהָב רֹחַב שְׁתֵּי אֶצְבָּעוֹת וּמַקִּיף מֵאֹזֶן לְאֹזֶן וְכוֹתֵב עָלָיו שֵׁנִי שִׁיטִין קֹדֶשׁ לַה' קֹדֶשׁ מִלְּמַטָּה לַה' מִלְמַעְלָה. וְאִם כְּתָבוֹ בְּשִׁיטָה אַחַת כָּשֵׁר. וּפְעָמִים כְּתָבוּהוּ בְּשִׁיטָה אַחַת:

2

The letters would project outward. How was this done? [A craftsman] would engrave the letters on the back of the plate5 while it was pressed to beeswax6 until they project.

It had holes on each of its ends. There was a strand of sky-blue wool below it that ran from hole to hole so that it could be tied with this strand at the nape [of the neck].7

ב

וְהָאוֹתִיּוֹת בּוֹלְטוֹת בְּפָנָיו. [כֵּיצַד]. חוֹפֵר אֶת הָאוֹתִיּוֹת מֵאַחֲרָיו וְהוּא מְדֻבָּק עַל הַשַּׁעֲוָה עַד שֶׁבּוֹלֵט. וְהוּא נָקוּב בִּשְׁתֵּי קְצוֹתָיו. וּפְתִיל תְּכֵלֶת לְמַטָּה מִמֶּנּוּ נִכְנָס מִנֶּקֶב לְנֶקֶב כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה נִקְשָׁר בִּפְתִיל כְּנֶגֶד הָעֹרֶף:

3

The cloak was made entirely of sky-blue colored wool.8 Its strands were twelve-fold. Its opening was woven, and that is where its weave began.9 It did not have an opening for his arms.10 Instead, it was divided into two flaps from below the throat and downward like all cloaks.11 It is joined only directly below the throat.

One who tears the border of the opening of the cloak is liable for lashes, as [Exodus 28:32] states: "It shall not be torn."12 This applies to all the priestly garments. One who tears them with a destructive intent is liable for lashes.13

ג

הַמְּעִיל כֻּלּוֹ תְּכֵלֶת. וְחוּטָיו כְּפוּלִין שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר וּפִיו אָרוּג בִּתְחִלַּת אֲרִיגָתוֹ. וְאֵין לוֹ בֵּית יָד אֶלָּא נֶחְלָק לִשְׁתֵּי כְּנָפַיִם מִסּוֹף הַגָּרוֹן עַד לְמַטָּה כְּדֶרֶךְ כָּל הַמְּעִילִים וְאֵינוֹ מְחֻבָּר אֶלָּא כְּנֶגֶד כָּל הַגָּרוֹן בִּלְבַד. וְהַקּוֹרֵעַ פִּי הַמְּעִיל לוֹקֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כח לב) (שמות לט כג) "לֹא יִקָּרֵעַ". וְהוּא הַדִּין לְכָל בִּגְדֵי כְּהֻנָּה שֶׁהַקּוֹרְעָן דֶּרֶךְ הַשְׁחָתָה לוֹקֶה:

4

He should then bring sky-blue wool, red wool, and scarlet wool, the strands of each of these spun eight-fold. [This is necessary,] because [Exodus 39:24] states that [the pomegrantes on the cloak's] hem [should be made from strands that are] "twisted."14Thus there are twenty four threads used for the hem of the cloak.15 They should be fashioned into shapes resembling pomegranates whose mouths are not open16and hung from the cloak. He brings 72 cups with 72 clappers that are made entirely of gold and suspends them from the hems, 36 from the hem of one flap and 36 from the hem of the other flap.17 The cup with the clapper hanging in it are together called a bell. From the hems on both sides of [the flaps of the cloak are suspended series of] bells and pomegranates, bells and pomegranates.

ד

וּמֵבִיא תְּכֵלֶת וְאַרְגָּמָן וְתוֹלַעַת שָׁנִי כָּל מִין מִשְּׁלָשְׁתָּן שָׁזוּר שְׁמוֹנָה לְפִי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בְּשׁוּלָיו (שמות לט כד) "מָשְׁזָר". נִמְצְאוּ חוּטֵי הַשּׁוּלַיִם אַרְבָּעָה וְעֶשְׂרִים. וְעוֹשֶׂה אוֹתָן כְּמִין רִמּוֹנִים שֶׁלֹּא פָּתְחוּ פִּיהֶן וְתוֹלֶה אוֹתָן בַּמְּעִיל. וּמֵבִיא שְׁנַיִם וְשִׁבְעִים זוּגִים וּבָהֶם שְׁנַיִם וְשִׁבְעִים עִנְבּוֹלִים הַכּל זָהָב וְתוֹלֶה בּוֹ שִׁשָּׁה וּשְׁלֹשִׁים בְּשׁוּלֵי כָּנָף זֶה וְשִׁשָּׁה וּשְׁלֹשִׁים בְּשׁוּלֵי כָּנָף זֶה. וְהַזּוּג עִם הָעִנְבּוֹל הַתָּלוּי בֵּין שְׁנֵיהֶם כְּאֶחָד נִקְרָא פַּעֲמוֹן עַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ שׁוּלָיו מִשְּׁנֵי צְדָדָיו (שמות לט כו) "פַּעֲמוֹן וְרִמּוֹן פַּעֲמוֹן וְרִמּוֹן":

5

The gold that is woven in the ephod and the breastplate which is mentioned in the Torah18 was made in the following manner. A strand of pure gold was taken and placed together with six strands of sky-blue wool and [then] the seven strands were spun as one. He would do the same with one strand of gold and six of red wool, with one strand [of gold] with six of scarlet wool, and with one strand of gold with six of linen. Thus there would be four strands of gold and there would be a total of 28 strands.19

[This is reflected by Exodus 39:3]: "And they hammered out thin sheets of gold [and cut strands] to fashion into the sky-blue wool, into the red wool, into the scarlet wool, and into the linen." This teaches that there was a strand of gold woven in them.

ה

הַזָּהָב שֶׁבַּאֲרִיגַת הָאֵפוֹד וְהַחשֶׁן הָאָמוּר בַּתּוֹרָה כָּכָה הוּא מַעֲשֵׂהוּ. לוֹקֵחַ חוּט אֶחָד זָהָב טָהוֹר וְנוֹתְנוֹ עִם שִׁשָּׁה חוּטִין שֶׁל תְּכֵלֶת וְכוֹפֵל הַשִּׁבְעָה חוּטִין כְּאַחַת. וְכֵן הוּא עוֹשֶׂה חוּט זָהָב עִם שִׁשָּׁה שֶׁל אַרְגָּמָן וְחוּט אֶחָד עִם שִׁשָּׁה שֶׁל תּוֹלַעַת שָׁנִי. וְחוּט אֶחָד עִם שִׁשָּׁה שֶׁל פִּשְׁתִּים. נִמְצְאוּ אַרְבָּעָה חוּטֵי זָהָב וְנִמְצְאוּ כָּל הַחוּטִים שְׁמוֹנָה וְעֶשְׂרִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות לט ג) "וַיְרַקְּעוּ אֶת פַּחֵי הַזָּהָב" וְגוֹמֵר (שמות לט ג) "לַעֲשׂוֹת בְּתוֹךְ הַתְּכֵלֶת וּבְתוֹךְ הָאַרְגָּמָן וּבְתוֹךְ תּוֹלַעַת הַשָּׁנִי וּבְתוֹךְ הַשֵּׁשׁ" מְלַמֵּד שֶׁחוּט הַזָּהָב כָּפוּל בְּתוֹכָן:

6

How was the breastplate made? He would weave a garment that was a work of craft20 from gold, sky-blue wool, red wool, scarlet, linen, with 28 strands, as we explained.21 It is a cubit long and zeret22 wide and it should be folded into two.23 Thus it was a square a zeret long and a zeret wide.24In it should be affixed four rows of stones as described by the Torah.25 Each stone should be square and set in a setting of gold that encompasses it from below and from the four directions.26

ו

כֵּיצַד מַעֲשֵׂה הַחשֶׁן. אוֹרֵג בֶּגֶד מַעֲשֵׂה חשֵׁב מִן הַזָּהָב וְהַתְּכֵלֶת וְהָאַרְגָּמָן וְתוֹלַעַת הַשָּׁנִי וְהַשֵּׁשׁ עַל שְׁמֹנָה וְעֶשְׂרִים חוּטִין כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ אָרְכּוֹ אַמָּה וְרָחְבּוֹ זֶרֶת וְכוֹפְלוֹ לִשְׁנַיִם. נִמְצָא זֶרֶת עַל זֶרֶת מְרֻבָּע. וְקוֹבֵעַ בּוֹ אַרְבָּעָה טוּרִים שֶׁל אֶבֶן הַמְפֹרָשִׁים בַּתּוֹרָה כָּל אֶבֶן מֵהֶן מְרֻבָּע וּמְשֻׁקָּע בְּבַיִת שֶׁל זָהָב שֶׁמַּקִּיפוֹ מִלְּמַטָּה וּמֵאַרְבַּע רוּחוֹתָיו:

7

He should engrave on the stones the names of the tribes according to their order of birth. Thus on the ruby, the name Reuben is engraved and on the jasper,27 Benjamin is engraved. At the outset, above Reuben,28 he should write [the names] Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and below Benjamin,29 he should write, שבטי יה30 so that all the letters are found there.

ז

וּמְפַתֵּחַ עַל הָאֲבָנִים שְׁמוֹת הַשְּׁבָטִים כְּתוֹלְדוֹתָם וְנִמְצָא כּוֹתֵב עַל הָאֹדֶם רְאוּבֵן וְעַל יָשְׁפֵה בִּנְיָמִין. וְכוֹתֵב בַּתְּחִלָּה לְמַעְלָה מֵרְאוּבֵן אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב וְכוֹתֵב לְמַטָּה מִבִּנְיָמִין שִׁבְטֵי יָהּ כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיוּ כָּל הָאוֹתִיּוֹת מְצוּיוֹת שָׁם:

8

Four golden rings are made on the four corners of the breastplate. In the two upper rings from which the breastplate is suspended, two golden cords are placed.31 They are called chains. In the two lower rings that are opposite [the High Priest's] breast32 are placed two cords of sky-blue wool.33

ח

וְעוֹשֶׂה עַל אַרְבַּע זָוִיּוֹת שֶׁל חשֶׁן אַרְבַּע טַבְּעוֹת זָהָב. וְנוֹתֵן בִּשְׁתֵּי הַטַּבָּעוֹת שֶׁל מַעְלָה שֶׁהַחשֶׁן נִתְלֶה בָּהֶן שְׁתֵּי עֲבוֹתוֹת הַזָּהָב. וְהֵם הַנִּקְרָאִים שַׁרְשְׁרוֹת. וְנוֹתֵן בִּשְׁתֵּי טַבָּעוֹת שֶׁל מַטָּה שֶׁהֵן כְּנֶגֶד הַדָּדִים שְׁנֵי פְּתִילֵי תְּכֵלֶת:

9

The width of the ephod is the width of a person's back from shoulder to shoulder. Its length extend from one's elbows to his feet. It has two bands extending from it on either side34 with which it is fastened. They are called the belt of the ephod. The entire garment is woven with gold, sky-blue wool, red wool, scarlet wool, and linen with 28 threads as described with regard to the breastplate.35He should sew36 to it two shoulder straps so that it will extend to [High] Priest's shoulder. He should affix to each shoulder a square37 sardonyx stone38 set in a setting of gold. The names of the tribes should be engraved on the two stones, six on one stone and six on the other39 according to the order of their birth.40 Joseph's name would be written as יהוסף.41 Thus there would be 25 letters on one stone and 25 letters on the other stone. They would be written in this manner.42

The stone on which Reuven's name was written was placed on his right shoulder and the stone on which Shimon's name was written was placed on his left shoulder. On each shoulder, he should make two rings: one above, one the top of the shoulder and one below the shoulder above the belt. The two golden cords should be placed in the the two upper rings, they are called chains.43 This is the form of the ephod.44

ט

הָאֵפוֹד רָחְבּוֹ כְּרֹחַב גַּבּוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם מִכָּתֵף לְכָתֵף. וְאָרְכּוֹ מִכְּנֶגֶד אַצִּילֵי הַיָּדַיִם מֵאֲחוֹרָיו עַד הָרַגְלַיִם. וְיֵשׁ לוֹ כְּמוֹ שְׁתֵּי יָדוֹת יוֹצְאוֹת מִמֶּנּוּ בָּאָרִיג לְכָאן וּלְכָאן שֶׁחוֹגְרִין אוֹתוֹ בָּהֶם וְהֵם הַנִּקְרָאִין חֵשֶׁב הָאֵפוֹד. וְהַכּל אָרוּג זָהָב תְּכֵלֶת וְאַרְגָּמָן וְתוֹלַעַת שָׁנִי וְשֵׁשׁ עַל שְׁמוֹנָה וְעֶשְׂרִים חוּטִין כְּמַעֲשֵׂה הַחשֶׁן. וְתוֹפֵר עָלָיו שְׁתֵּי כְּתֵפוֹת כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיוּ עַל כִּתְפוֹת הַכֹּהֵן. וְקוֹבֵעַ עַל כָּל כָּתֵף וְכָתֵף אֶבֶן שֹׁהַם מְרֻבָּע מֻשְׁקָע בְּבַיִת שֶׁל זָהָב. וּמְפַתֵּחַ עַל שְׁתֵּי הָאֲבָנִים שְׁמוֹת הַשְּׁבָטִים. שִׁשָּׁה עַל אֶבֶן זוֹ וְשִׁשָּׁה עַל אֶבֶן זוֹ כְּתוֹלְדוֹתָם. וְכוֹתְבִין שֵׁם יוֹסֵף יְהוֹסֵף. וְנִמְצְאוּ כ''ה אוֹת בְּאֶבֶן זוֹ וְכ''ה אוֹת בְּאֶבֶן זוֹ. וְכָךְ הָיוּ כְּתוּבִין: וְהָאֶבֶן שֶׁכָּתוּב בָּהּ רְאוּבֵן עַל כְּתֵפוֹ הַיְמָנִית. וְהָאֶבֶן שֶׁכָּתוּב בָּהּ שִׁמְעוֹן עַל כְּתֵפוֹ הַשְּׂמָאלִית. וְעוֹשֶׂה בְּכָל כָּתֵף שְׁתֵּי טַבָּעוֹת אַחַת מִלְּמַעְלָה בְּרֹאשׁ הַכָּתֵף וְאַחַת מִלְּמַטָּה לַכָּתֵף לְמַעְלָה מִן הַחֵשֶׁב. וְנוֹתֵן שְׁתֵּי עֲבוֹתוֹת זָהָב בִּשְׁתֵּי טַבָּעוֹת שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה וְהֵם הַנִּקְרָאִים שַׁרְשְׁרוֹת:

10

Afterwards, he places the ends of the cords of the breastplate in the upper rings that are on the shoulders of the ephod and he should place the two strands of sky-blue wool that are on the hem of the breastplate45 into the rings that are above the belt of the ephod. The chains that are in the rings on the shoulders of the ephod should descend until they reach the upper rings of the breastplate so that they will cleave to each other and thus the breastplate will not be separate from the ephod.46 Anyone who separates the breastplate from the ephod and disrupts their connection47with a destructive intent48 is worthy of lashes.49

י

וְאַחַר כָּךְ מַכְנִיס קְצוֹת הָעֲבוֹתוֹת שֶׁל חשֶׁן בַּטַּבָּעוֹת שֶׁל מַעְלָה בְּכִתְפוֹת הָאֵפוֹד. וּמַכְנִיס שְׁנֵי פְּתִילֵי הַתְּכֵלֶת שֶׁבְּשׁוּלֵי הַחשֶׁן בִּשְׁתֵּי הַטַּבָּעוֹת שֶׁל מַעְלָה מֵחֵשֶׁב הָאֵפוֹד. וּמוֹרִידִין אֶת הַשַּׁרְשְׁרוֹת שֶׁבְּטַבְּעוֹת כִּתְפוֹת הָאֵפוֹד עַד טַבְּעוֹת הַחשֶׁן הָעֶלְיוֹנוֹת כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּדָּבְקוּ זֶה בָּזֶה (שמות כח כח) (שמות לט כא) "וְלֹא יִזַּח הַחשֶׁן מֵעַל הָאֵפוֹד". וְכָל הַמֵּזִיחַ חשֶׁן מֵעַל הָאֵפוֹד וּמְפָרֵק חִבּוּרָן דֶּרֶךְ קִלְקוּל לוֹקֶה:

11

Thus when he wears the ephod together with the breastplate, the breastplate will be flat over his heart and the ephod will be behind him. The belt of the ephod is tied over his heart50 below the breastplate. The two shoulders of the ephod lie on his two shoulders. The two cords of gold extend down from his shoulders on either side from the shoulders of ephod to the rings of the breastplate. The two strands of sky-blue wool are tied below his elbows from the two lower rings of the breastplate to the two lower rings of the shoulders of the ephod which are above the belt.

יא

נִמְצָא כְּשֶׁלּוֹבֵשׁ הָאֵפוֹד עִם הַחשֶׁן יִהְיֶה הַחשֶׁן עַל לִבּוֹ בְּשָׁוֶה וְהָאֵפוֹד מֵאַחֲרָיו וְחֵשֶׁב הָאֵפוֹד קָשׁוּר עַל לִבּוֹ תַּחַת הַחשֶׁן. וּשְׁתֵּי כִּתְפוֹת הָאֵפוֹד עַל שְׁתֵּי כְּתֵפָיו. וּשְׁתֵּי עֲבוֹתוֹת זָהָב יוֹרְדוֹת מֵעַל כְּתֵפָיו מִכָּאן וּמִכָּאן מִכִּתְפוֹת הָאֵפוֹד עַד טַבְּעוֹת הַחשֶׁן. וּשְׁנֵי חוּטֵי תְּכֵלֶת מְרֻכָּסִין מִתַּחַת אַצִּילֵי יָדָיו. מִשְּׁתֵּי טַבְּעוֹת הַחשֶׁן הַתַּחְתּוֹנוֹת עַד שְׁתֵּי טַבְּעוֹת כִּתְפוֹת הָאֵפוֹד הַתַּחְתּוֹנוֹת שֶׁהֵם לְמַעְלָה מִן הַחֵשֶׁב:

Footnotes
1.

A fingerbreadth is about 2 cm according to Shiurei Torah. There is no measure according to Scriptural Law. The Rabbis chose a measure of two fingerbreadths, because this is the ordinary width of a High Priest's forehead.

2.

"Sanctified unto God."

3.

The standard published text of Sukkah 5a states that God's name should be on the upper line and קדש on the lower line. Apparently, the Rambam's text of the Gemara followed a different version. Alternatively, the Rambam favored the Jerusalem Talmud (Yoma 4:1) which follows the version stated. There it is explained that although the wording is opposite that of the verse, it is like a king (God's name) sitting on his throne (the word "sanctified").

4.

Shabbat 63b and Sukkah 5a quote Rabbi Eliezar bar Yossi as saying: "I saw it in Rome (where it had been taken after the Temple's destruction) and the words קדש לה'ה were written in one line."

Likutei Sichot, Vol. 26, p. 200ff., explains that the fact that despite Rabbi Eliezar's testimony, the halachah is that the words should be written in two lines indicates that our Sages had received orally the tradition that this was the acceptable way of preparing the forehead plate. Accordingly, we must say that the reason the second view is accepted is not because of Rabbi Eliezar's testimony, but because there was an oral tradition that it was acceptable.

5.

Exodus 39:30 states: "They engraved on it writing, [like that of] a signet ring." Now the letters of a signet ring project outward and so it was required that the letters of the forehead plate project outward. On the other hand, since the verse mentions writing, the letters could not be made using a mold (Kessef Mishneh; this rebuts the Ra'avad's objection). See Gittin 20a.

6.

Beeswax was used so that it would be firm enough to support the gold and prevent it from being pierced, but flexible enough to allow it to be shaped.

7.

The Ra'avad (following the line of thinking found in Rashi's commentary to the Torah) states that there was a third hole in the center of the forehead plate and a strand extending from it over the High Priest's head. This would prevent the plate from slipping down. The Rambam (and his view is supported by the Ramban in his commentary to the Torah) maintains that only two holes were made. Apparently, the plate was held in place by the pressure generated by tying it tightly.

8.

As stated in Exodus 39:22.

9.

As ibid. 28:32 states: "Its opening for the head shall be folded over within it. Its opening shall have a border of weaver's work."

10.

The Ra'avad questions the Rambam's source for this statement. In his commentary to the Torah, the Ramban also questions the Rambam's view. The Radbaz explains that were it to have had an opening for the High Priest's arms, there would have been no difference between it and the tunic.

11.

It did not surround the High Priest on all sides, but instead hung down over the front and back of his body, with openings on either side. Here also, the Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's understanding and the Ramban supports it.

According to the Rambam's conception, the cloak bore somewhat of a resemblance to the garments worn today as a tallit kattan (except that it was much longer than those garment). Indeed, for that reason, the Radbaz questions why there was no obligation to attach tzitzit to it. He explains that since the neck portion of the garment did not extend over the High Priests' shoulders, it is not considered as a four-cornered garment.

12.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 88) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 101) includes this prohibition among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

13.

If, however, he tears them with an intent to mend the article, no prohibition is involved (Radbaz).

14.

And as stated in Chapter 8, Halachah 14, that term implies a strand made up of eight threads.

15.

Eight threads from each type of fabric.

16.

Pomegranates have a crown-like bud on their top and these spheres would not.

17.

See Exodus 28:33-34.

18.

Ibid.:5, 15; 39:2, 8.

19.

I.e., four times seven.

20.

The design embroidered on it could be seen from both sides.

21.

In the previous halachah.

22.

Half a cubit.

23.

Note the comments of the Radbaz who infers that according to the Rambam, the breastplate would be woven while elongated and then folded. Others maintain that it should be sewn folded at the outset.

Between the folds of the breastplate were placed the Urim and Tumim. See Chapter 10, Halachah 10, for a description of them.

24.

As stated in ibid. 28:15-16.

25.

Ibid. 28:17-20: 39:10-13.

26.

As will be explained in the notes to Chapter 10, halachah 10, according to the Rambam, the stones of the breastplate were called the Urim and Tumim and, in the First Temple era, served as oracles.

27.

Our translation is based on R. Aryeh Kaplan's Living Torah. There are some other renditions of this term.

28.

On the ruby itself (Shmot Rabbah, the conclusion of sec. 38). Rav Avraham, the Rambam's son writes that these inscriptions were made with smaller letters so that all the names would fit on the stone. The Radbaz suggests that they were embroidered into the breastplate.

29.

On the jasper itself (ibid.).

30.

"The tribes of God." According to Yoma 73b and other sources, the inscription was "the tribes of Jeshuron." The Jerusalem Talmud states that the inscription was "the tribes of Israel."

31.

See Exodus 28:22-24. These golden cords extend from the ephod and secure the breastplate from above as explained in the following halachot.

32.

For the breastplate is placed above the heart (ibid.:30).

33.

To secure the breastplate to the ephod from below, as stated in Halachah 11.

34.

As Exodus 25:8 states, the belt was made in the same manner as the ephod itself.

35.

See Halachah 5.

36.

In contrast to the other priestly garments which are woven, these shoulder straps are sewn to the ephod.

37.

Kiryat Sefer suggests that the stones were rectangular rather than square, for otherwise it would be difficult to fit six lines on a square stone.

38.

A crypto-crystalline quartz, related to agate with alternating red and white bands. Here also, our translation is based on R. Aryeh Kaplan's Living Torah. There are some other renditions of this term.

39.

In this way, he can fulfill the charge (Exodus 28:12): "Aaron shall carry their names on his shoulders before God as a remembrance."

40.

The order the Rambam chooses - as reflected in the accompanying drawing [which is also included in his commentary to the Mishnah (Yoma 7:5)] - has attracted the attention of the commentaries. Although it follows the simple meaning of the verse, there is a difference of opinion concerning this matter in Sotah 36a-b and the Rambam's view does not follow either of the opinions mentioned there. The Kessef Mishneh, however, offers a resolution that enables the Rambam's understanding to conform to the Talmud's text.

41.

Psalms 81:1 writes Joseph's name in this manner. The Radbaz states that the extra letter was added to Joseph's name, because he was a king, and it was appropriate to include the first three letters of God's name in his name.

42.

The accompanying drawing is a copy of one included in the Mishneh Torah by the Rambam himself.

43.

These are the same chains described in Halachah 8.

44.

The accompanying drawing was copied from drawings by the Rambam that were included in the original manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah.

45.

See Halachah 8.

46.

Since the breastplate is tied firmly from above and from below, it will not be separated from the ephod.

47.

The Radbaz implies from this wording that even if the two are not separated entirely, as long as they are moved slightly, the prohibition applies.

48.

If, however, his intent is to readjust their connection, there is no prohibition against separating them.

49.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 87) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 100) include the prohibition against separating the breastplate from the ephod among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

50.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam and maintains that the belt of the ephod was tied below the High Priest's waist. The Radbaz explains that the belt is to be positioned below the breastplate on the same level as its top. The breastplate should lie on the High Priest's heart. Nevertheless, he also explains that the Rambam's wording has to be clarified, because as stated in the following chapter (Halachot 1-2), the sash is tied over the High Priest's heart. The Radbaz therefore suggests that the sash was tied over the upper portion of the heart and the belt of the ephod slightly lower.

Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 10

1

What is the order in which the priestly garments should be put on? [The priest] should put on the leggings first,1 tying them above his navel, over his loins. Afterwards, he puts on the tunic and then puts on the sash at elbow height. He should wind it fold after fold2 until it ends and then tie it.

א

כֵּיצַד סֵדֶר לְבִישַׁת הַבְּגָדִים. לוֹבֵשׁ הַמִּכְנָסַיִם תְּחִלָּה וְחוֹגֵר אֶת הַמִּכְנָסַיִם לְמַעְלָה מִטִּבּוּרוֹ מֵעַל מָתְנָיו. וְאַחַר כָּךְ לוֹבֵשׁ הַכֻּתֹּנֶת. וְאַחַר כָּךְ חוֹגֵר אֶת הָאַבְנֵט כְּנֶגֶד אַצִּילֵי יָדָיו וּמַקִּיפוֹ כֶּרֶךְ עַל כֶּרֶךְ עַד שֶׁגּוֹמֵר וְקוֹשֵׁר:

2

With regard to the sash, [where it should be placed can be understood from] the received tradition. [Ezekiel 44:18] states: "They shall not gird themselves bayeza, [interpreted3 to mean] "in a place where one perspires."4 Yonason, the son of Uziel,5 received the same tradition from the prophets6 and translated the phrase: "They will gird themselves over the heart."7

Afterwards, he should arrange the headpiece as a hat.8

ב

וְעַל הָאַבְנֵט מְפֹרָשׁ בַּקַּבָּלָה (יחזקאל מד יח) "וְלֹא יַחְגְּרוּ בַּיָּזַע" בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁמְּזִיעִין. וְכָךְ קִבֵּל יוֹנָתָן בֶּן עוּזִיאֵל מִפִּי הַנְּבִיאִים וְתִרְגֵּם עַל לְבָבֵיהוֹן יֵסְרוּן. וְאַחַר כָּךְ צוֹנֵף בַּמִּצְנֶפֶת כְּמִין כּוֹבַע:

3

After the High Priest girds himself with the sash,9 he puts on the cloak, and on the cloak, the ephod and the breastplate. He girds himself with the belt of the ephod over the cloak, below the breastplate. Therefore [the cloak] is called "the cloak of the ephod,"10 the cloak that is girded closed with the ephod.

Afterwards, he winds the headgear like a turban. He ties the forehead plate [behind his head,] above the turban.11 His hair was visible between the forehead plate and the turban and it is in that place that he would wear his tefillin between the forehead plate and the turban.12

ג

כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל אַחַר שֶׁחוֹגֵר בְּאַבְנֵט לוֹבֵשׁ הַמְּעִיל. וְעַל הַמְּעִיל הָאֵפוֹד וְהַחשֶׁן וְחוֹגֵר בְּחֵשֶׁב הָאֵפוֹד עַל הַמְּעִיל מִתַּחַת הַחשֶׁן וּלְפִיכָךְ נִקְרָא (שמות כח לא) (שמות כט ה) (שמות לט כב) "מְעִיל הָאֵפוֹד" שֶׁחוֹגְרוֹ בָּאֵפוֹד. וְאַחַר כָּךְ צוֹנֵף בַּמִּצְנֶפֶת וְקוֹשֵׁר הַצִּיץ לְמַעְלָה מִן הַמִּצְנֶפֶת וּשְׂעָרוֹ הָיָה נִרְאָה בֵּין צִיץ לַמִּצְנֶפֶת וְשָׁם הָיָה מֵנִיחַ תְּפִלִּין בֵּין צִיץ לַמִּצְנֶפֶת:

4

It is a positive commandment to make these garments and for the priests to serve in them,13 as [Exodus 28:2] states: "And you shall make holy garments,"14 and [ibid. 29:8] states: "And drew near his sons and dress them in tunics."15

When a High Priest serves with less than these eight garments or an ordinary priest serves with less than these four garments, he is called lacking garments. His service is invalid and he is liable for death at the hand of Heaven, like a non-priest who serves. [This is indicated by ibid.:9 which states:] "And you shall gird them with a sash... and their priesthood shall be for them...." [Implied is that] when their garments are upon them, their priesthood is upon them. [Conversely,] if their garments are not upon them, they are like non-priests, concerning whom [Numbers 1:51] states: "A non-priest who draws close [to the service of the Sanctuary] shall die."16

ד

מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לַעֲשׂוֹת בְּגָדִים אֵלּוּ וְלִהְיוֹת הַכֹּהֵן עוֹבֵד בָּהֶן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כח ב) "וְעָשִׂיתָ בִגְדֵי קֹדֶשׁ". (שמות כט ח) "וְאֶת בָּנָיו תַּקְרִיב וְהִלְבַּשְׁתָּם כֻּתֳּנֹת". וְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁשִּׁמֵּשׁ בְּפָחוֹת מִשְּׁמוֹנָה בְּגָדִים אֵלּוּ אוֹ כֹּהֵן הֶדְיוֹט שֶׁשִּׁמֵּשׁ בְּפָחוֹת מֵאַרְבָּעָה בְּגָדִים אֵלּוּ הוּא הַנִּקְרָא מְחֻסַּר בְּגָדִים וַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ פְּסוּלָה וְחַיָּב מִיתָה בִּידֵי שָׁמַיִם כְּזָר שֶׁשִּׁמֵּשׁ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כט ט) "וְחָגַרְתָּ אֹתָם אַבְנֵט" (שמות כט ט) "וְהָיְתָה לָהֶם כְּהֻנָּה". בִּזְמַן שֶׁבִּגְדֵיהֶם עֲלֵיהֶן כְּהֻנָּתָן עֲלֵיהֶן. אֵין בִּגְדֵיהֶן עֲלֵיהֶן אֵין כְּהֻנָּתָם עֲלֵיהֶן אֶלָּא הֲרֵי הֵם כְּזָרִים וְנֶאֱמַר (במדבר א נא) (במדבר ג י) (במדבר ג לח) (במדבר יח ז) "וְהַזָּר הַקָּרֵב יוּמָת":

5

Just like a priest who is lacking garments is liable to die and invalidates the service he performs, so too, one who wears extra garments17 - e.g., he wears two tunics, two sashes, or an ordinary priest who wears the garments of the High Priest and performs service - profanes his service and is liable for death at the hand of Heaven.18

ה

כְּשֵׁם שֶׁהַמְּחֻסַּר בְּגָדִים חַיָּב מִיתָה וּפוֹסֵל הָעֲבוֹדָה. כָּךְ הַיָּתֵר בְּגָדִים כְּגוֹן שֶׁלָּבַשׁ שְׁתֵּי כֻּתֳּנוֹת אוֹ שְׁנֵי אַבְנֵטִים אוֹ כֹּהֵן הֶדְיוֹט שֶׁלָּבַשׁ בִּגְדֵי כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל וְעָבַד הֲרֵי זֶה מְחַלֵּל הָעֲבוֹדָה וְחַיָּב מִיתָה בִּידֵי שָׁמַיִם:

6

It is said with regard to the priestly garments:19 "on his flesh and he shall wear them." [Implied is that] nothing should intervene between his flesh and the garments. Even if there is one thread, earth, or a dead louse between his flesh and the [priestly] garment, it is considered an intervening substance and his service is invalid. Therefore a priest cannot serve [in the Temple wearing] his arm tefillin, because they intervene. The head tefillin, by contrast, do not intervene20 and if he desires to wear them at the time of his Temple service, he may.21

ו

נֶאֱמַר בְּבִגְדֵי כְּהֻנָּה (ויקרא טז ד) "עַל בְּשָׂרוֹ" (ויקרא טז ד) "וּלְבֵשָׁם". מְלַמֵּד שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה דָּבָר חוֹצֵץ בֵּין בְּשָׂרוֹ לַבְּגָדִים. אֲפִלּוּ נִימָא אַחַת אוֹ עָפָר אוֹ כִּנָּה מֵתָה אִם הָיְתָה בֵּין בָּשָׂר לַבֶּגֶד הֲרֵי זוֹ חֲצִיצָה וַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ פְּסוּלָה. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין הַכֹּהֵן יָכוֹל לַעֲבֹד בִּתְפִלִּין שֶׁל יָד שֶׁהֲרֵי חוֹצֶצֶת. אֲבָל שֶׁל רֹאשׁ אֵינָהּ חוֹצֶצֶת. וְאִם רָצָה לַהֲנִיחָם בִּשְׁעַת הָעֲבוֹדָה מֵנִיחַ:

7

[A priest] must be careful at the time that he puts on [the priestly garments] that there be no dust, nor a louse - even if it is alive - between his flesh and the garment. Nor should air enter between his flesh and his garment during the time of service so that the garment will become distant from his flesh. He should not place his hand in his bosom under his tunic. He should not remove his hair from the garment, nor should there be a strand hanging loose from the garment. [Although] one these factors occurs, his service is acceptable.22

ז

וְצָרִיךְ לְהִזָּהֵר בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁלּוֹבֵשׁ שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה אָבָק בֵּין בִּגְדוֹ לִבְשָׂרוֹ וְלֹא כִּנָּה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא בַּחַיִּים. וְשֶׁלֹּא תִּכָּנֵס הָרוּחַ בִּשְׁעַת הָעֲבוֹדָה בֵּין בְּשָׂרוֹ לְבִגְדוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּתְרַחֵק הַבֶּגֶד מֵעָלָיו. וְלֹא יַכְנִיס יָדוֹ תַּחַת חֲלוּקוֹ לַחֵיק. וְלֹא יֵצֵא שְׂעָרוֹ מִן הַבֶּגֶד. וְלֹא יִהְיֶה בַּבֶּגֶד נִימָא מְדֻלְדֶּלֶת. וְאִם הָיָה שָׁם אֶחָד מִכָּל אֵלּוּ עֲבוֹדָתוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה:

8

[The following rules apply if a priest] wrapped a cloth on his flesh in a place [untouched by the priestly] garments, e.g., he wrapped it on his finger or on his heel. If it is three fingerbreadths by three fingerbreadths,23 it is considered as an intervening substance and it invalidates [the service]. If it is smaller than that, it is not considered as an intervening substance.24

A small belt, since it is considered as an independent garment, invalidates [one's service] even if it is not three fingerbreadths by three fingerbreadths in area.

ח

כָּרַךְ עַל בְּשָׂרוֹ בֶּגֶד שֶׁלֹּא בִּמְקוֹם בְּגָדִים כְּגוֹן שֶׁכְּרָכוֹ עַל אֶצְבָּעוֹ אוֹ עַל עֲקֵבוֹ אִם הָיָה בּוֹ שָׁלֹשׁ אֶצְבָּעוֹת עַל שָׁלֹשׁ אֶצְבָּעוֹת הֲרֵי זֶה חוֹצֵץ וּפוֹסֵל. פָּחוֹת מִכָּאן אֵינוֹ חוֹצֵץ. וְאִם הָיָה צִלְצוּל קָטָן הוֹאִיל וְהוּא חָשׁוּב בֶּגֶד בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה פּוֹסֵל וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ שָׁלֹשׁ עַל שָׁלֹשׁ:

9

When the finger of a priest is wounded, he is permitted to tie a reed or a cloth that is not three fingerbreadths by three fingerbreadths around it on the Sabbath and perform his service.25 If he intends to release blood, it is forbidden.26 [Leniency is granted,] provided the reed or the cloth does not intervene between his flesh and a sacred utensil27 at the time of service.28

ט

כֹּהֵן שֶׁלָּקָה בְּאֶצְבָּעוֹ מֻתָּר לִכְרֹךְ עָלֶיהָ גֶּמִי בְּשַׁבָּת אוֹ בֶּגֶד שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ שָׁלֹשׁ עַל שָׁלֹשׁ וְעוֹבֵד. וְאִם נִתְכַּוֵּן לְהוֹצִיא דָּם אָסוּר. וְהוּא שֶׁלֹּא יָחֹץ הַגֶּמִי אוֹ הַבֶּגֶד בֵּין בְּשָׂרוֹ לַכְּלִי בִּשְׁעַת עֲבוֹדָה:

10

In the Second Temple,29 they made the Urim and the Tumim30 to complete the eight garments [of the High Priest]31 even though inquiry was not made of them. Why was inquiry not made of them? Because the Holy Spirit32 was not vested there.33 And whenever a priest does not speak with the Holy Spirit and the Divine Presence does not rest there, inquiry is not made.

י

עָשׂוּ בְּבַיִת שֵׁנִי אוּרִים וְתֻמִּים כְּדֵי לְהַשְׁלִים שְׁמוֹנָה בְּגָדִים וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא הָיוּ נִשְׁאָלִין בָּהֶן. וּמִפְּנֵי מָה לֹא הָיוּ שׁוֹאֲלִין בָּהֶן מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא הָיְתָה שָׁם רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ וְכָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְדַבֵּר בְּרוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ וְאֵין שְׁכִינָה שׁוֹרָה עָלָיו אֵין נִשְׁאָלִין בּוֹ:

11

How was inquiry made?34 The [High] priest would stand facing the Ark. The person making inquiry was behind him, facing the [High] Priest's back. The inquirer would ask: "Should I go up [to war] or not?" He would not ask in a loud voice, nor would he merely think about the matter in his heart. Instead, [he would speak] in a low voice, like someone praying to himself.35 Immediately, the Holy Spirit will enclothe the [High] Priest. He will look at the breastplate and with the spirit of prophecy see "Go up" or "Do not go up" written in letters emerging from the breastplate toward his face. The [High] Priest would then answer [the inquirer], telling him: "Go up" or "Do not go up."

יא

וְכֵיצַד שׁוֹאֲלִין. עוֹמֵד הַכֹּהֵן וּפָנָיו לִפְנֵי הָאָרוֹן וְהַשּׁוֹאֵל מֵאַחֲרָיו. פָּנָיו לְאַחֲרֵי הַכֹּהֵן. וְאוֹמֵר הַשּׁוֹאֵל אֶעֱלֶה אוֹ לֹא אֶעֱלֶה. וְאֵינוֹ שׁוֹאֵל בְּקוֹל רָם וְלֹא מְהַרְהֵר בְּלִבּוֹ אֶלָּא בְּקוֹל נָמוּךְ כְּמִי שֶׁמִּתְפַּלֵּל בֵּינוֹ לְבֵין עַצְמוֹ. וּמִיָּד רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ לוֹבֵשׁ אֶת הַכֹּהֵן וּמַבִּיט בַּחשֶׁן וְרוֹאֶה בּוֹ בְּמַרְאֵה הַנְּבוּאָה עֲלֵה אוֹ לֹא תַּעֲלֶה בָּאוֹתִיּוֹת שֶׁבּוֹלְטוֹת מִן הַחשֶׁן כְּנֶגֶד פָּנָיו. וְהַכֹּהֵן מְשִׁיבוֹ וְאוֹמֵר לוֹ עֲלֵה אוֹ לֹא תַּעֲלֶה:

12

Two matters should not be asked about at once. If they are, one replies only to the first. Inquiry should not be made [of the Urim and Tumim] by an ordinary person, only by a king, the court, or one who the community at large requires. [This is derived from Numbers 27:21:] "Before Elazar the priest shall he stand... [he and all the children of Israel with him, and the entire congregation]." "He" refers to the king;36 "all the children of Israel" to the priest anointed to lead the people in war,37 or someone whom the people need to make inquiry for them; and "all the congregation" refers to the High Court.

יב

ואֵין שׁוֹאֲלִין עַל שְׁנֵי דְּבָרִים כְּאֶחָד. וְאִם שָׁאַל מְשִׁיבִין עַל הָרִאשׁוֹן בִּלְבַד. וְאֵין נִשְׁאָלִין בָּהֶן לְהֶדְיוֹט אֶלָּא אוֹ לְמֶלֶךְ אוֹ לְבֵית דִּין אוֹ לְמִי שֶׁצֹּרֶךְ הַצִּבּוּר בּוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר כז כא) "וְלִפְנֵי אֶלְעָזָר הַכֹּהֵן יַעֲמֹד וְגוֹ'. "הוּא" זֶה הַמֶּלֶךְ. "וְכָל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל" זֶה הוּא מְשׁוּחַ מִלְחָמָה אוֹ מִי שֶׁצֹּרֶךְ הַצִּבּוּר בִּשְׁאֵלָתוֹ. "וְכָל הָעֵדָה" אֵלּוּ בֵּית דִּין הַגָּדוֹל:

13

The statements found in the words of the prophets38 that the priests would wear an ephod of linen does not mean that they were High Priests. For the High Priest's ephod was not of linen [alone].39 For the Levites would also wear such a garment, for the prophet Samuel was a Levite, and [I Samuel 2:18] describes him as "a youth, girded with a linen ephod." Instead, this ephod was worn by the students of the prophets40 and those who were fit to have the Holy Spirit rest upon them to make it known that such a person reached a rung equivalent to that of the High Priest who speaks with the Holy Spirit via the medium of the ephod and the breastplate.

Blessed be the Merciful One Who grants assistance.

יג

זֶה שֶׁאַתָּה מוֹצֵא בְּדִבְרֵי נְבִיאִים שֶׁהַכֹּהֲנִים הָיוּ חוֹגְרִין אֵפוֹד בַּד לֹא הָיוּ כֹּהֲנִים גְּדוֹלִים. שֶׁאֵין הָאֵפוֹד שֶׁל כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל אֵפוֹד בַּד. וְאַף הַלְוִיִּם הָיוּ חוֹגְרִין אוֹתוֹ שֶׁהֲרֵי שְׁמוּאֵל הַנָּבִיא לֵוִי הָיָה וְנֶאֱמַר בּוֹ (שמואל א ב יח) "נַעַר חָגוּר אֵפוֹד בָּד". אֶלָּא אֵפוֹד זֶה הָיוּ חוֹגְרִים אוֹתוֹ בְּנֵי הַנְּבִיאִים וּמִי שֶׁהוּא רָאוּי שֶׁתִּשְׁרֶה עָלָיו רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ לְהוֹדִיעַ כִּי הִגִּיעַ זֶה לְמַעֲלַת כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁמְּדַבֵּר עַל פִּי הָאֵפוֹד וְהַחשֶׁן בְּרוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ:

Footnotes
1.

From Leviticus 6:2, one might presume that the tunic is put on first, because it states: "And the priest shall put his fitted [tunic] and he shall put on linen leggings." Nevertheless, through the process of Biblical exegesis, Yoma 23b derives that nothing should be put on before the leggings.

2.

The sash was 32 cubits long, so that it will obviously be wound around him several times.

3.

By Zevachim 18b.

4.

I.e., a place like the armpits or loins where flesh covers flesh leading to perspiration.

5.

A renowned student of the Sage Hillel, who translated the Tanach into Aramaic.

6.

See Megilah 3a which ascribes this translation to the prophets Chaggai, Zechariah, and Malachi who accompanied the Jews back from the Babylonian exile to Jerusalem.

7.

At elbow height.

8.

See Chapter 8, Halachah 2. The order in which the ordinary priests put on the priestly garments is taken from Leviticus 8:13.

9.

I.e., he puts on the first three garments in the same manner as an ordinary priest does.

11.

The bracketed inclusion is necessary, because in front of his head, the turban was above the forehead plate, as the Rambam proceeds to state. The order in which the High Priest put on his priestly garments is taken from Leviticus 8:7-9.

12.

See Halachah 6.

13.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 33) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 99) includes this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. The wording in Sefer Hamitzvot implies that the fundamental mitzvah is for the priests to wear these garments for their Temple service. Making the garments is merely a preparatory phase that enables that mitzvah to be fulfilled.

14.

This refers to the garments of the High Priest.

15.

This refers to the clothes of an ordinary priest.

16.

See Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 9:1.

17.

From the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Zevachim 2:1), it appears that wearing any extra garment, not only an extra priestly garment, causes one to be liable.

18.

We see this concept in several other contexts. When there is an extra entity, it is as if it and the entity that is required to be present is lacking. See Hilchot Shechitah 6:2.

19.

The Rambam is not quoting a verse exactly. Similar phrase exist in Leviticus 6:3 and 16:4.

20.

See Halachah 3.

21.

One can infer that he is not obligated to wear tefillin. We apply the principle: One who is occupied in the observance of a mitzvah - the priestly service - is exempt from another mitzvah, wearing tefillin.

The tefillin are not considered as an extra garment, because tefillin are not considered a garment (Kessef Mishneh).

22.

Zevachim 19a questions whether these situations are acceptable and does not arrive at a conclusion. Accordingly, the Rambam rules that as an initial preference, one should be concerned with these matters, but the difficulty is not great enough to disqualify the service. For unless the Torah or our Sages explicitly ruled that a sacrifice is unacceptable, one cannot bring another one in its place for it is possible that one will be committing the transgression of slaughtering an ordinary animal in the Temple Courtyard (see Hilchot Shechitah 2:3). The slaughter of the animal might be placed in that category, because one is bringing it as a sacrifice under the conception that he is obligated to do so, when in fact that might not be so.

The Kessef Mishneh states that one may not bring a sacrifice and make a conditional stipulation: "If the previous sacrifice was unacceptable, may this be considered as my obligation and if the previous sacrifice was acceptable, this is a freewill offering." There are some sacrifices - e.g., sin offerings, guilt offerings, and communal offerings - where such a stipulation cannot be made. Hence, our Sages enforced uniformity and prevented conditional offerings in these instances.

23.

The minimum size of a garment (see Hilchot Keilim 22:12; 23:7; et al).

24.

It is too small to be considered as entity of consequence.

25.

Since he is not tying a permanent not, there is no prohibition against tying. Nor is there a prohibition against performing an act of healing on the Sabbath (as is prohibited in certain instances), because such prohibitions were not applied in the Temple.

26.

For this is a transgression of the Sabbath laws and it does not aid the Temple service (Rashi, Eruvin 103b).

27.

See Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 5:17.

28.

For in this instance, even if the article is not significant, an interposition invalidates the service. The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's ruling, claiming that it is a contradiction to his ruling in the previous halachah. The Kessef Mishneh justifies the Rambam's position, explaining that in the previous halachah, the garment was not considered a garment because of its size. Nevertheless, that does not mean that it is not considered an interposition. As long as it intervenes, it disqualifies service regardless of its size.

29.

Kiddushin 31a relates that the Sages sought to purchase the stones for the High Priest's breastplate in the era of the Second Temple.

30.

As mentioned in the notes to Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 4:1, the Kessef Mishneh explains that the Rambam considers the term Urim and Tumim as referring to the stones of the High Priest's breastplate. See also the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Sotah 9:20. The Ra'avad and others differ and interpret it as referring to the script of mystic names of God that were placed in the folds of breastplate.

31.

For the stones were an integral part of the structure of the breastplate.

32.

The spirit of prophecy.

33.

Yoma 21b explains that this is one of the five differences between the holiness of the First Temple and that of the Second Temple.

34.

I.e., in the era of the First Temple.

35.

As in the classic example of Chanah's prayer (I Samuel 1:13), which is accepted as the paradigm for our Shemoneh Esreh prayers.

36.

For the verse is referring to Joshua whose position was that of a king.

37.

I.e., a person upon whom the future of the entire Jewish people depended.

39.

Instead, it also contained sky-blue wool, scarlet wool, red wool, as related in Chapter 9, Halachah 9.

40.

See Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah 7:4-5 with regard to the preparations a person would make for the spirit of prophecy to rest upon him.

Biat Hamikdash - Chapter 1

Introduction to Hilchot Biat Hamikdash

They contain fifteen mitzvot: two positive commandments and thirteen negative commandments. They are:


1) That an intoxicatd person shall not enter the Sanctuary;
2) That no one, whose hair is dishevelled, shall enter the Sanctuary;
3) That one whose garment is torn, shall not enter it;
4) That a priest shall not go in to the Sanctuary at all times;
5) That a priest shall not go forth from the Sanctuary during service;
6) To send the ritually unclean out of the Sanctuary;
7) That one who is unclean shall not enter the Sanctuary;
8) That one who is unclean shall not enter the area of the Temple-Mount;
9) That one who is unclean shall not take part in the service;
10) That one who has been cleansed by immersion shall not take part in the service on the day (when he has been cleansed);
11) That one who serves in the Sanctuary shall sanctify his hands and feet (by washing at the laver);
12) That a person with a physical blemish shall not enter the Sanctuary nor approach at the altar;
13) That a person with a physical blemish shall not take part in the service;
14) That a person with a temporary physical blemish shall not take part in the service;
15) That a stranger (not descended from Aaron) shall not take part in the service.

These mitzvot are explained in the ensuing chapters.

הלכות ביאת מקדש - הקדמה יש בכללן חמש עשרה מצוות: שתי מצוות עשה, ושלוש עשרה מצות לא תעשה. וזה הוא פרטן: (א) שלא יכנס כהן שיכור למקדש.
(ב) שלא יכנס בו כהן פרוע ראש.
(ג) שלא יכנס בו כהן קרוע בגדים.
(ד) שלא יכנס כהן בכל עת אל ההיכל.
(ה) שלא יצא כהן מן המקדש בשעת העבודה.
(ו) לשלח טמאים מן המקדש.
(ז) שלא יכנס טמא למקדש.
(ח) שלא יכנס טמא להר הבית.
(ט) שלא ישמש טמא.
(י) שלא ישמש טבול יום.
(יא) לקדש העובד ידיו ורגליו.
(יב) שלא יכנס בעל מום להיכל ולמזבח.
(יג) שלא לעבוד בעל מום.
(יד) שלא יעבוד בעל מום עובר.
(טו) שלא יעבוד זר. וביאור מצוות אלו בפרקים אלו:

1

Whenever a priest who is fit to perform Temple service1 drinks wine, he is forbidden2 to enter the area of the Altar or [proceed] beyond there.3 If he entered [that area]4 and performed service,5 his service is invalid and he is liable for death at the hand of heaven, as [Leviticus 10:9] states: "[Do not drink intoxicating wine...] so that you do not die."6

The above applies provided one drinks a revi'it7 of undiluted wine at one time, provided the wine is over 40 days old.8 If, however, one drank less than a revi'it of wine, one drank a revi'it intermittently,9 one mixed it with water,10 or one drank even more than a revi'it of wine from the vat, i.e., within 40 days of its being brought into being,11 he is exempt and his service is not profaned. If he drank more than a revi'it of wine, even though it was diluted and even though he drank it intermittently, he is liable for death and his service is invalidated.12

א

כָּל כֹּהֵן הַכָּשֵׁר לַעֲבוֹדָה אִם שָׁתָה יַיִן אָסוּר לוֹ לְהִכָּנֵס מִן הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וּלְפָנִים. וְאִם נִכְנַס וְעָבַד עֲבוֹדָתוֹ פְּסוּלָה וְחַיָּב מִיתָה בִּידֵי שָׁמַיִם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא י ט) "וְלֹא תָמֻתוּ". וְהוּא שֶׁשָּׁתָה רְבִיעִית יַיִן חַי בְּבַת אַחַת מִיַּיִן שֶׁעָבְרוּ עָלָיו אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם. אֲבָל אִם שָׁתָה פָּחוֹת מֵרְבִיעִית יַיִן. אוֹ שָׁתָה רְבִיעִית וְהִפְסִיק בָּהּ. אוֹ מְזָגָהּ בְּמַיִם. אוֹ שֶׁשָּׁתָה יַיִן מִגִּתּוֹ בְּתוֹךְ אַרְבָּעִים אֲפִלּוּ יֶתֶר מֵרְבִיעִית. פָּטוּר וְאֵינוֹ מְחַלֵּל עֲבוֹדָה. שָׁתָה יֶתֶר מֵרְבִיעִית מִן הַיַּיִן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהָיָה מָזוּג וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִפְסִיק וְשָׁהָה מְעַט מְעַט חַיָּב מִיתָה וּפוֹסֵל הָעֲבוֹדָה:

2

If a person is intoxicated from beverages other than wine, he is forbidden to enter the Temple.13 If he enters and performs service while intoxicated from other beverages - even if he is intoxicated from milk or figs - he is liable for lashes, but his service is valid, for one is liable for death only when drinking wine at the time of service and one does not invalidate service unless he is intoxicated from wine.

ב

הָיָה שִׁכּוֹר מִשְּׁאָר מַשְׁקִין הַמְשַׁכְּרִין אָסוּר לְהִכָּנֵס לַמִּקְדָּשׁ וְאִם נִכְנַס וְעָבַד וְהוּא שִׁכּוֹר מִשְּׁאָר מַשְׁקִין הַמְשַׁכְּרִין אֲפִלּוּ מִן הֶחָלָב אוֹ מִן הַדְּבֵלָה הֲרֵי זֶה לוֹקֶה וַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה. שֶׁאֵין חַיָּבִין מִיתָה אֶלָּא עַל הַיַּיִן בִּשְׁעַת עֲבוֹדָה. וְאֵין מְחַלֵּל עֲבוֹדָה אֶלָּא שִׁכּוֹר מִן הַיַּיִן:

3

Just as a priest is forbidden to enter the Temple while intoxicated, so too, it is forbidden for any person, whether priest or Israelite, to render a halachic ruling when he is intoxicated.14 Even if he ate dates or drank milk and his mind became somewhat confused, he should not issue a ruling, as [the above passage (ibid.:11)] continues: "And to give instruction to the children of Israel." If he gave a ruling concerning a matter that is explicitly stated in the Torah to the extent that it is known by the Sadducees, he is permitted. For example, he ruled that a sheretz15 is impure and a frog is pure; [he ruled that] blood is forbidden, or the like.

ג

וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁאָסוּר לַכֹּהֵן לְהִכָּנֵס לַמִּקְדָּשׁ מִפְּנֵי הַשִּׁכְרוּת כָּךְ אָסוּר לְכָל אָדָם בֵּין כֹּהֵן בֵּין יִשְׂרָאֵל לְהוֹרוֹת כְּשֶׁהוּא שָׁתוּי. אֲפִלּוּ אָכַל תְּמָרִים אוֹ שָׁתָה חָלָב וְנִשְׁתַּבְּשָׁה דַּעְתּוֹ מְעַט אַל יוֹרֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא י יא) "וּלְהוֹרֹת אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל". וְאִם הוֹרָה בְּדָבָר שֶׁהוּא מְפֹרָשׁ בַּתּוֹרָה עַד שֶׁיְּדָעוּהוּ הַצְּדוֹקִים מֻתָּר כְּגוֹן שֶׁהוֹרָה שֶׁהַשֶּׁרֶץ טָמֵא וְהַצְּפַרְדֵּעַ טָהוֹר וְהַדָּם אָסוּר וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

4

It is permitted for a person who is intoxicated to teach Torah, even Torah law and the interpretation of verses, provided he does not deliver a ruling.16 If he was a sage who delivers rulings on a regular basis, he should not teach, for his teaching constitutes the delivery of a ruling.17

ד

וּמֻתָּר לְשִׁכּוֹר לְלַמֵּד תּוֹרָה וַאֲפִלּוּ הֲלָכוֹת וּמִדְרָשׁוֹת וְהוּא שֶׁלֹּא יוֹרֶה. וְאִם הָיָה חָכָם קָבוּעַ לְהוֹרָאָה לֹא יְלַמֵּד שֶׁלִּמּוּדוֹ הוֹרָאָה הִיא:

5

When a person drank precisely a revi'it and it was diluted with the slightest amount of water, he slept a bit, or he walked a mil,18 the effects of the wine will have worn off and he is permitted to serve [in the Temple]. If, however, he drank more than a revi'it even if it was diluted, sleeping slightly or journeying adds to his drunkenness. Depending on how intoxicated he was, he must wait until there is no trace of his drunkenness whatsoever.

ה

שָׁתָה כְּדֵי רְבִיעִית בִּלְבַד וְהָיָה בָּהּ מַיִם כָּל שֶׁהוּא. אוֹ יָשַׁן מְעַט אוֹ הָלַךְ כְּדֵי מִיל. כְּבָר עָבַר הַיַּיִן וּמֻתָּר לַעֲבֹד. אֲבָל אִם שָׁתָה יוֹתֵר מֵרְבִיעִית אֲפִלּוּ מָזוּג. שֵׁינַת מְעַט אוֹ הַדֶּרֶךְ מוֹסִיפִין בְּשִׁכְרוּתוֹ. אֶלָּא יִשְׁהֵא לְפִי הַשִּׁכְרוּת עַד שֶׁלֹּא יִשָּׁאֵר מִשִּׁכְרוּתוֹ שׁוּם דָּבָר שֶׁבָּעוֹלָם:

6

The men of the priestly watch19 are permitted to drink wine at night, but not during the day during the week [they serve in the Temple]. Even the members of the other clans20 who were not scheduled to work on a particular day [are forbidden], lest the Temple service overburden the members of the clan who serve that day and they require other members of the watch to help them.

The members of the clan of a particular day are forbidden to drink both during the day and night of that day, lest they drink at night and arise to their service in the morning without the effects of the wine having worn off.21

ו

אַנְשֵׁי מִשְׁמָר מֻתָּרִין לִשְׁתּוֹת יַיִן בַּלֵּילוֹת אֲבָל לֹא בִּימֵי שַׁבָּתָן. וַאֲפִלּוּ שְׁאָר בָּתֵּי אָבוֹת שֶׁל מִשְׁמָר שֶׁאֵין עֲבוֹדָתָן הַיּוֹם. שֶׁמָּא תִּכְבַּד הָעֲבוֹדָה עַל אַנְשֵׁי בֵּית אָב שֶׁל יוֹם וְיִצְטָרְכוּ לַאֲחֵרִים מֵאַנְשֵׁי מִשְׁמַרְתָּן לְסַיְּעָן. וְאַנְשֵׁי בֵּית אָב שֶׁל אוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם אֲסוּרִים לִשְׁתּוֹת בֵּין בַּיּוֹם בֵּין בַּלַּיְלָה. שֶׁמָּא יִשְׁתֶּה בַּלַּיְלָה וְיַשְׁכִּים לַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ וַעֲדַיִן לֹא סָר יֵינוֹ מֵעָלָיו:

7

Whenever a priest knows the watch from which he descends and the clan from which he descends, and he knows the day on which the members of his clan were scheduled to serve [in the Temple], he is forbidden to drink wine that entire day.22 If one knows from which watch he is descended, but does not know his clan, he is forbidden to drink wine the entire week during which his clan worked.

If [a priest] does not know [the identity of] his watch or his clan, the law would dictate that he should never be allowed to drink wine.23 Nevertheless, his difficulty24 leads to his solution and he is permitted to drink wine at all times, for he is not allowed to serve [in the Temple] until his clan and watch are established.

ז

כָּל כֹּהֵן שֶׁיּוֹדֵעַ מֵאֵי זֶה מִשְׁמָר הוּא וּמֵאֵי זֶה בֵּית אָב הוּא וְיוֹדֵעַ שֶׁבָּתֵּי אֲבוֹתָיו קְבוּעִים בַּעֲבוֹדָה [הַיּוֹם] אָסוּר לוֹ לִשְׁתּוֹת יַיִן כָּל אוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם. הָיָה יוֹדֵעַ מֵאֵי זֶה מִשְׁמָר הוּא וְאֵינוֹ מַכִּיר בֵּית אָב שֶׁלּוֹ אָסוּר לוֹ לִשְׁתּוֹת כָּל אוֹתָהּ שַׁבָּת שֶׁמִּשְׁמַרְתּוֹ עוֹבְדִין בָּהּ. לֹא הָיָה מַכִּיר מִשְׁמַרְתּוֹ וְלֹא בֵּית אֲבוֹתָיו הַדִּין נוֹתֵן שֶׁאָסוּר לִשְׁתּוֹת יַיִן לְעוֹלָם. אֲבָל תַּקָּנָתוֹ קַלְקָלָתוֹ וַהֲרֵי הוּא מֻתָּר לִשְׁתּוֹת תָּמִיד שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַעֲבֹד עַד שֶׁיִּקָּבַע בְּבֵית אָב שֶׁלּוֹ וּבְמִשְׁמַרְתּוֹ:

8

A priest who lets his hair grow long25 is forbidden to enter the area of the Altar or [proceeds] beyond there.26 If he enters this area and performs service,27 he is liable for death at the hand of Heaven like an intoxicated [priest] who serves,28 as [indicated by Ezekiel 44:20-21]: "None of the priests shall drink wine. They shall not shave their heads, nor allow their hair to grow long."29 Just as [priests who serve] intoxicated from wine are liable to die, so too, those who allow their hair to grow long are liable to die.

ח

כֹּהֵן שֶׁגָּדַל שְׂעָרוֹ אָסוּר לוֹ לְהִכָּנֵס מִן הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וְלִפְנִים וְאִם נִכְנַס וְעָבַד חַיָּב מִיתָה בִּידֵי שָׁמַיִם כְּשִׁכּוֹר שֶׁעָבַד. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יחזקאל מד כא) "וְיַיִן לֹא יִשְׁתּוּ כָּל כֹּהֵן" (יחזקאל מד כ) "וְרֹאשָׁם לֹא יְגַלֵּחוּ וּפֶרַע לֹא יְשַׁלֵּחוּ". מַה שְּׁתוּיֵי יַיִן בְּמִיתָה אַף מְגֻדְּלֵי פֶּרַע בְּמִיתָה:

9

[Priests who] let their hair grow long do not disqualify their service. Even though they are obligated to die, their service is valid.30

ט

וְאֵין פְּרוּעֵי הָרֹאשׁ מְחַלְּלִין עֲבוֹדָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא בְּמִיתָה עֲבוֹדָתוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה:

10

Just as the priests are not warned against drinking wine except at the time they enter the Temple, so too, they are forbidden to grow their hair long only at the time they enter the Temple.31

To whom does the above apply? To an ordinary priest. A High Priest, by contrast, is forbidden to let his hair grow long and rend his garments forever,32 for he should be in the Temple at all times.33 Therefore with regard to him, [Leviticus 21:10] states: "He should not let [the hair of] his head grow long, nor should he rend his garments."

י

כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאֵין הַכֹּהֲנִים מֻזְהָרִין עַל הַיַּיִן אֶלָּא בִּשְׁעַת בִּיאָה לַמִּקְדָּשׁ כָּךְ אֵין אֲסוּרִין לְגַדֵּל פֶּרַע אֶלָּא בִּשְׁעַת בִּיאָה לַמִּקְדָּשׁ. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּכֹהֵן הֶדְיוֹט. אֲבָל כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל אָסוּר לְגַדֵּל פֶּרַע וְלִקְרֹעַ בְּגָדָיו לְעוֹלָם. שֶׁהֲרֵי תָּמִיד הוּא בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ. וּלְכָךְ נֶאֱמַר בּוֹ (ויקרא כא י) "אֶת רֹאשׁוֹ לֹא יִפְרָע וּבְגָדָיו לֹא יִפְרֹם":

11

What is meant by growing one's hair long? [Leaving it uncut for] 30 days like a Nazirite, concerning whom [Numbers 6:5] states: "He shall let the mane of the hair of his head grow long" and a nazirite vow is not less than 30 days.34 Therefore an ordinary priest who serves [in the Temple] must cut his hair every 30 days.35

יא

כַּמָּה הוּא גִּדּוּל פֶּרַע. שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם כְּנָזִיר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בּוֹ (במדבר ו ה) "גַּדֵּל פֶּרַע שְׂעַר רֹאשׁוֹ" וְאֵין נְזִירוּת פְּחוּתָה מִשְּׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם. לְפִיכָךְ כֹּהֵן הֶדְיוֹט הָעוֹבֵד מְגַלֵּחַ מִשְּׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם לִשְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם:

12

The priests of the watch [serving in the Temple that week] are forbidden to cut their hair and launder their garments during that week,36 so that they will not enter the Temple when they are unkept.37 Instead, they should cut their hair, wash, and do their laundry before coming [to the Temple].

יב

וְאַנְשֵׁי מִשְׁמָר אֲסוּרִין לְסַפֵּר וּלְכַבֵּס בְּשַׁבַּתָּן כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יַעֲלוּ לְמִשְׁמַרְתָּן כְּשֶׁהֵן מְנֻוָּלִין אֶלָּא מְגַלְּחִין וְרוֹחֲצִין וּמְכַבְּסִין קֹדֶם שֶׁיַּעֲלוּ:

13

When a priest's watch is concluded in the midst of a festival, he is permitted to cut his hair in the midst of the festival.38 If, however, his watch concludes on the day preceding a festival, he should cut his hair only on that day.39

יג

מִי שֶׁשָּׁלְמָה מִשְׁמַרְתּוֹ בְּתוֹךְ הָרֶגֶל מֻתָּר לְגַלֵּחַ בָּרֶגֶל. אֲבָל אִם שָׁלְמָה בְּעֶרֶב הָרֶגֶל אֵינוֹ מְגַלֵּחַ אֶלָּא בְּעֶרֶב הָרֶגֶל:

14

The laws [applying to a priest who enters the Temple with] torn garments are the same as those [applying to one with] long hair, as [Leviticus 10:6] states: "Do not let [the hair on] your heads grow long or rend your garments lest you die."40 Thus if [a priest] served with torn garments, he is liable for death at the hand of Heaven although his service is valid and was not profaned.41

יד

דִּין קְרוּעֵי בְּגָדִים וְדִין פְּרוּעֵי רֹאשׁ אֶחָד הוּא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא י ו) "רָאשֵׁיכֶם לֹא תִּפְרָעוּ וּבִגְדֵיכֶם לֹא תִפְרֹמוּ וְלֹא תָמֻתוּ" הָא אִם עָבַד וְהוּא קְרוּעַ בְּגָדִים חַיָּב מִיתָה בִּידֵי שָׁמַיִם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעֲבוֹדָתוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה וְלֹא חִלְּלָהּ:

15

It appears to me42 that any priest who is fit to serve who enters the area of the altar or [proceeds] beyond there43 while intoxicated due to wine, drunk due to other alcoholic beverages, with long hair, or with torn garments as one tears because of a person's death, he is liable for lashes, even if he did not perform service. [The rationale is that] he is fit for service and entered [the Temple] at the time of service in such an unkept manner although he was warned not to enter.

טו

יֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁכָּל כֹּהֵן הַכָּשֵׁר לַעֲבוֹדָה אִם נִכְנַס מִן הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וְלִפְנִים וְהוּא שְׁתוּי יַיִן אוֹ שִׁכּוֹר מִשְּׁאָר הַמְשַׁכְּרִין אוֹ פְּרוּעַ רֹאשׁ אוֹ קְרוּעַ בְּגָדִים כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁקּוֹרְעִין עַל הַמֵּתִים אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא עָבַד עֲבוֹדָה הֲרֵי זֶה לוֹקֶה. הוֹאִיל וְהוּא רָאוּי לַעֲבוֹדָה וְנִכְנָס בִּשְׁעַת הָעֲבוֹדָה מְנֻוָּל כָּכָה וַהֲרֵי הוּא מֻזְהָר שֶׁלֹּא יִכָּנֵס:

16

The laws that apply to someone who enters beyond the altar and the laws that apply to ones who depart from there are the same. What is implied? One drank44 a revi'it of wine between the Ulam and the altar or tore his garments there and departed, he is liable for lashes.45 Similarly, if he performed service as he departed, he is liable for death.

טז

וְדִין הַנִּכְנָס כָּכָה מִן הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וְלִפְנִים וְדִין הַיּוֹצֵא מִשָּׁם אֶחָד הוּא. כֵּיצַד. כְּגוֹן שֶׁשָּׁתָה רְבִיעִית יַיִן בֵּין הָאוּלָם וְלַמִּזְבֵּחַ אוֹ קָרַע בְּגָדָיו שָׁם וְיָצָא לוֹקֶה. וְכֵן אִם עָבַד בִּיצִיאָתוֹ חַיָּב מִיתָה:

17

Similarly, it is forbidden for any person, whether a priest or an Israelite, to enter the entire Temple area, from the Courtyard of the Israelites and onward46 when he is intoxicated from wine, drunk [from other beverages], with unkept long hair or with torn garments. Although there is no explicit warning [against this in the Torah], it is not a sign of honor or reverence47 to the great and holy house to enter it unkept. If, however, an Israelite48 lets his hair grow until it is formed into a weave and it was not unkept, he is permitted to enter the Courtyard of the Israelites.49

יז

וְכֵן אָסוּר לְכָל אָדָם בֵּין כֹּהֵן בֵּין יִשְׂרָאֵל לְהִכָּנֵס לַמִּקְדָּשׁ כֻּלּוֹ מִתְּחִלַּת עֶזְרַת יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלִפְנִים כְּשֶׁהוּא שְׁתוּי יַיִן אוֹ שִׁכּוֹר אוֹ פְּרוּעַ רֹאשׁ דֶּרֶךְ נִוּוּל אוֹ קְרוּעַ בְּגָדִים אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ בְּאַזְהָרָה. שֶׁאֵין זֶה כָּבוֹד וּמוֹרָא לַבַּיִת הַגָּדוֹל וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ שֶׁיִּכָּנֵס בּוֹ מְנֻוָּל. אֲבָל יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁגִּדֵּל שְׂעָרוֹ עַד שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה מַחְלֶפֶת וְלֹא הָיָה דֶּרֶךְ נִוּוּל הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לְהִכָּנֵס לְעֶזְרַת יִשְׂרָאֵל:

Footnotes
1.

This excludes a challal, a son born to a priest from a forbidden relationship, and a priest who has a disqualifying physical blemish. They are not liable for this severe punishment.

2.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 73) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 152) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. Note also the parallels in Hilchot Nesiat Kapayim 15:4.

3.

I.e., ascends the steps to the Temple building or enters that structure. See also Halachah 15 and notes.

4.

If he entered this area while intoxicated, but did not perform service, he is only liable for lashes, as stated in Halachah 15. Similar concepts apply if he drank intoxicating beverages while in this area (Halachah 16).

5.

The services for which he is liable are described in Chapter 9, Halachah 2.

6.

He may, however, be punished by a mortal court with lashes and thus freed from the more severe spiritual punishment. See Hilchot Sanhedrin 19:2.

7.

A liquid measure equal to 86 cc. according to Shiurei Torah and 150 cc. according to Chazon Ish. [It is reputed that the wines of the Talmudic era were very strong and drinking even this small amount could cause intoxication.]

8.

And thus has had time to ferment and reach an alcoholic content sufficient enough to cause intoxication.

9.

Since he paused while drinking it, its intoxicating effect will be less.

10.

Even if one drank the entire quantity, since it was diluted, it will have a lesser effect.

11.

Since its alcoholic content will not be that high, one is not liable. There is, nevertheless, a prohibition against serving in the Temple even when having drunk such wine (Kessef Mishneh).

12.

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's ruling, maintaining that although serving in the Temple in such a condition is forbidden, the priest is not liable for such severe punishment, nor is his service disqualified. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh offer interpretations of Keritot 13b that substantiate the Rambam's position.

13.

One of the opinions in Keritot 13b derives this concept from the literal meaning of Leviticus 10:9, translated above as: "Do not drink intoxicating wine," i.e., it interprets the term veseicher according to its simple meaning, i.e., an alcoholic beverage other than wine. There is another opinion in that source that interprets veseicher as an adjective (which we have translated as "intoxicating") describing the manner in which one drinks wine. Apparently, the Rambam does not see the two interpretations as mutually exclusive. See Kessef Mishneh. See also Halachah 15.

14.

See Sefer HaMitzvot, loc. cit., where the Rambam links the two prohibitions in the same negative commandment. One is not, however, liable for death for delivering a ruling while intoxicated. Note the discussion of this matter by the Ramban and Megilat Esther in their glosses to Sefer HaMitzvot.

15.

One of the eight forbidden teeming animals mentioned in Leviticus 11:29-30. A frog is not one of those animals.

16.

I.e., a directive for actual practice.

17.

Note the Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 7:5) which quotes an opinion stating that it is permitted to rule in cases involving financial law when slightly intoxicated.

18.

A Talmudic measure equivalent to a kilometer. If he rode rather than walked, he must ride three mil (Eruvin 64b).

19.

Who serve in the Temple that week. See Hilchot K'lei HaMikdash 4:3, 11.

20.

As stated in that source, on each particular day, there was a clan whose members would perform the Temple service for that day.

21.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam and maintains that the intent of Ta'anit 17a (the Rambam's source) is not the night before the priests serve in the Temple, but the night afterwards. They are forbidden because it is possible that they will have to continue offering the limbs and fat-tails of the animals at night if they were not able to offer them during the day. The Kessef Mishneh supports the Rambam's interpretation, explaining that there is no need to prohibit the priests from drinking wine the entire night for this reason. It is sufficient that they be restrained until these limbs have been offered.

22.

Were it not for the reason mentioned at the conclusion of the halachah, this law would apply even in the present era. This is a decree, enacted lest the Temple be rebuilt and the priests be required to serve at their appointed time.

23.

Lest he be drinking on a day forbidden for him.

24.

I.e., his lack of knowledge of his watch and clan.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam with regard to the reason why there is no decree against the priests drinking wine in the present age. He rejects the Rambam's view, because with Mashiach's coming, the lineage of the priests will be established according to the spirit of prophecy (see Hilchot Melachim 12:3) and the priests will immediately be called upon to begin their service in the Temple. Instead, the rationale is that because of the length of the exile, we do not expect that the Temple will be built instantaneously. [This is also the view of Rashi (Ta'anit 17a)]. The Kessef Mishneh supports the Rambam's view, noting that according to the Rambam, we may offer sacrifices even if the Temple is not rebuilt (Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 6:15) and furthermore, the establishment of the priest's lineage even through the spirit of prophecy will not take only one day.

25.

See Halachah 11 for a definition of this term.

26.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 163) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 149) includes this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. Note the objections of the Ramban to the inclusion of this charge as one of the mitzvot and the resolutions offered by Megilat Esther in their glosses to Sefer HaMitzvot.

27.

The law that applies if he does not perform service is explained in Halachah 15.

28.

As stated in Halachah 1.

29.

The prooftext for this prohibition from the Torah (Leviticus 10:6), "Do not let [the hair of] your heads grow long," is not sufficient, because that could be interpreted as merely granting license for Aaron's sons to conduct themselves in this manner. Other mourners must rend their garments and let their hair grow and they were not required to. The verse from Ezekiel teaches that the charge applies at all times and is not specific to that situation (Kessef Mishneh; Sefer HaMitzvot, loc. cit.).

30.

I.e., the equation of their service to that of intoxicated priests is not complete.

The Rambam's view is not accepted by all authorities. There are some who maintain that such a priest's service is also disqualified. See the Ramban's gloss to Sefer HaMitzvot.

31.

The Ra'avad differs and from the verse in Ezekiel cited above understands that all priests are prohibited against growing their hair long and must take haircuts once in 30 days. The Kessef Mishneh supports the Rambam's position. See the following halachah and notes.

32.

See Hilchot K'lei HaMikdash 5:6 where the Rambam explains the restrictions incumbent on the High Priest in greater detail. As he states there, these prohibitions apply to a High Priest even outside of the Temple and even when he is not in mourning.

33.

See ibid. 5:7.

34.

Hilchot Nizirut 3:2. Thus we can assume that growing one's hair long encompasses a 30 day period.

35.

Implied is that if a priest does not desire to serve, he is not required to cut his hair (Kessef Mishneh).

36.

This does not refer to the priestly garments, for the priestly garments are not washed (Hilchot K'lei HaMikdash 8:5). Instead, the intent is the priest's personal garments. As a mark of respect, he should ascend to the Temple in freshly laundered clothes (Yeri'ot Shlomo).

37.

Note a parallel decree in Hilchot Shivitat Yom Tov 7:19. See also Hilchot K'lei HaMikdash 6:11.

38.

Although doing so is usually forbidden, as stated in Hilchot Shivitat Yom Tov, loc. cit. Here leniency was granted, because he is considered to have been held back from cutting his hair before the festival by forces beyond his

39.

And not during the festival.

40.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 164) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 150) includes this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. In this instance as well, the Ramban objects to the inclusion of this charge as one of the 613 mitzvot.

41.

This ruling appears in direct contradiction to Hilchot K'lei HaMikdash 8:4 where the Rambam writes: "If [the priestly garments] were muddy, torn, longer than his appropriate measure... and a priest performed service while wearing them, his service is invalid." Among the resolutions offered is that in Hilchot K'lei HaMikdash, the Rambam is speaking about clothes that remain torn (therefore, even after the fact, the service is invalid), while here he was speaking about torn garments that were mended. As the Radbaz explains, here the Rambam is speaking about a tear like the tear made when one rends his garments in mourning (which can be mended) as indicated in the following halachah, and there, he is speaking about a garment that was torn in many places.

42.

This expression indicates a conclusion which the Rambam reached through the process of deduction and not derived from any specific source.

43.

The Ra'avad agrees that this law applies to a priest that ascends the altar in these unkept states, but differs with regard to a priest who proceeds further and ascend the steps of the Temple. He maintains that entering that area in these unkept states is forbidden only according to Rabbinic Law. The Kessef Mishneh offers an explanation that justifies the Rambam's ruling.

44.

I.e., as a conscious transgression.

45.

The Ra'avad offers a different interpretation of the Rambam's source, the Sifra to Parshat Shemini. The Kessef Mishneh and others offer support for the Rambam's interpretation.

46.

As explained in Hilchot Beit HaBechirah, ch. 7, the other areas of the Temple Mount have a lesser degree of holiness.

47.

See Hilchot Beit HaBechirah, loc. cit., which speaks of the command to fear the Temple.

48.

Or a Levite as will be explained.

49.

Rambam LeAm gives the example of the prophet Samuel who was a Nazirite and hence, allowed his hair to grow long. Nevertheless, he combed it until it was attractive and hence, he was allowed to remain in the Sanctuary of Shiloh.

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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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