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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 4

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Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 4

1

The priests were set aside from the Levites as a whole [to perform] the sacrificial service, as [I Chronicles 23:13] states: "And Aaron was set apart to sanctify him as holy of holies." It is a positive commandment1 to distinguish the priests, make them holy, and prepare them for the sacrifices, as [Leviticus 21:8] states: "And you shall sanctify him because he offers the food of your God."

א

הַכֹּהֲנִּים הֻבְדְּלוּ מִכְּלַל הַלְוִיִּם לַעֲבוֹדַת הַקָּרְבָּנוֹת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברי הימים א כג יג) "וַיִּבָּדֵל אַהֲרֹן לְהַקְדִּישׁוֹ קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים". וּמִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה הִיא לְהַבְדִּיל הַכֹּהֲנִים וּלְקַדְּשָׁם וְלַהֲכִינָם לְקָרְבָּן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כא ח) "וְקִדַּשְׁתּוֹ כִּי אֶת לֶחֶם אֱלֹהֶיךָ הוּא מַקְרִיב":

2

It is necessary for every Jewish person to show them much honor and to give them priority for every matter of holiness, to begin [reading] the Torah first,2 to recite the blessings first,3 and to take a desirable portion first.4

ב

וְצָרִיךְ כָּל אָדָם מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל לִנְהֹג בָּהֶן כָּבוֹד הַרְבֵּה וּלְהַקְדִּים אוֹתָם לְכָל דָּבָר שֶׁבִּקְדֻשָּׁה. לִפְתֹּחַ בַּתּוֹרָה רִאשׁוֹן. וּלְבָרֵךְ רִאשׁוֹן. וְלִטֹּל מָנָה יָפָה רִאשׁוֹן:

3

Moses divided the priests into eight watches: four from Elazar and four from Itamar. This continued until [the days of] Samuel the prophet. At that time, he and King David divided them into 24 watches.5 For each watch, there was one who served as the leader. A watch would ascend to Jerusalem to serve for the entire week. They would switch on the Sabbath day. The previous watch would depart and the one which follows would enter.6 [This cycle would continue] until its completion and then they would start again.

ג

משֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ חִלֵּק הַכֹּהֲנִים לִשְׁמוֹנֶה מִשְׁמָרוֹת. אַרְבָּעָה מֵאֶלְעָזָר. וְאַרְבָּעָה מֵאִיתָמָר. וְכֵן הָיוּ עַד שְׁמוּאֵל הַנָּבִיא. וּבִימֵי שְׁמוּאֵל חִלְּקָם הוּא וְדָוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ לְאַרְבָּעָה וְעֶשְׂרִים מִשְׁמָר. וְעַל כָּל מִשְׁמָר וּמִשְׁמָר רֹאשׁ אֶחָד מְמֻנֶּה. וְעוֹלִין לִירוּשָׁלַיִם לַעֲבוֹדָה מִשְׁמָר לְכָל שַׁבָּת. וּמִיּוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת לְיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת הֵן מִתְחַלְּפִין מִשְׁמָר יוֹצֵא וְהָאַחֵר שֶׁהוּא אַחֲרָיו נִכְנָס. עַד שֶׁיִּגְמְרוּ וְחוֹזְרִין חֲלִילָה:

4

It is a positive commandment for all the watches to share equal status7 during the pilgrimage festivals. Any one of the priests who comes during the pilgrimage festivals and desires to serve [in the Temple] may serve and receive a portion [of the sacrifices]. We do not tell him: "Go and [wait] until your watch [receives its turn]," as [Deuteronomy 18:6] states: "When the Levite8 will come from one of your cities... [to the place that God will choose, he shall serve..."].

ד

וּמִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לִהְיוֹת כָּל הַמִּשְׁמָרוֹת שָׁוִים בָּרְגָלִים. וְכָל שֶׁיָּבוֹא מִן הַכֹּהֲנִים בָּרֶגֶל וְרָצָה לַעֲבֹד עוֹבֵד וְחוֹלֵק עִמָּהֶם. וְאֵין אוֹמְרִין לוֹ לֵךְ עַד שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ מִשְׁמָרְךָ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ו) "וְכִי יָבֹא הַלֵּוִי מֵאַחַד שְׁעָרֶיךָ" וְגוֹ':

5

In which context does the above apply? With regard to the sacrifices of the festivals,9 the division of the showbread,10 and the two loaves [offered on] Shavuot.11 Vowed offerings,12 freewill offerings,13 and the daily offerings are offered only by the watch that serves at that time.14 [This applies] even during the pilgrimage festivals, as [ibid.:8] states: "Portion for portion shall they eat, except for what was transacted by the ancestors." The implication is that they will partake "portion for portion" of the communal offerings, but not of the other sacrifices. For these were already divided by their ancestors and established for each watch in its week.

ה

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּקָרְבְּנוֹת הָרְגָלִים וּבְחִלּוּק לֶחֶם הַפָּנִים וּבְחִלּוּק שְׁתֵּי הַלֶּחֶם שֶׁל עֲצֶרֶת. אֲבָל נְדָרִים וּנְדָבוֹת וּתְמִידִין אֵין מַקְרִיבִין אוֹתָן אֶלָּא מִשְׁמָר שֶׁזְּמַנּוֹ קָבוּעַ וַאֲפִלּוּ בָּרֶגֶל. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ח) "חֵלֶק כְּחֵלֶק יֹאכֵלוּ לְבַד מִמְכָּרָיו עַל הָאָבוֹת". כְּלוֹמַר חֵלֶק כְּחֵלֶק יֹאכְלוּ בְּקָרְבְּנוֹת הַצִּבּוּר. וְאֵין חֵלֶק כְּחֵלֶק בִּשְׁאָר הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁכְּבָר חָלְקוּ אוֹתָם הָאָבוֹת וּקְבָעוּם כָּל מִשְׁמָר וּמִשְׁמָר בְּשַׁבַּתּוֹ:

6

Similarly, the service involved with the showbread is performed by the watch whose turn is established. The service involved with the two breads [of Shavuos] is performed by all the watches.15

How do we know that [the verse cited above] is speaking only about the festivals? Because it states: "from one of your cities among all Israel." [One can infer] that it is speaking about a time when the entire Jewish people enter through one gate.16

How do we know that it is speaking about priests?17 For it states: "Portion for portion shall they eat" and there are no presents to be eaten allotted in the Temple except to the priests.

ו

וְכֵן עֲבוֹדַת לֶחֶם הַפָּנִים בַּמִּשְׁמָר שֶׁזְּמַנּוֹ קָבוּעַ. אֲבָל עֲבוֹדַת שְׁתֵּי הַלֶּחֶם בְּכָל הַמִּשְׁמָרוֹת. וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְדַבֵּר אֶלָּא בָּרְגָלִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ו) "מֵאַחַד שְׁעָרֶיךָ מִכָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל" בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁכָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל בָּאִין בְּשַׁעַר אֶחָד. וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְדַבֵּר אֶלָּא בַּכֹּהֲנִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ח) "חֵלֶק כְּחֵלֶק יֹאכֵלוּ". וְאֵין שָׁם מַתָּנוֹת בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ לְהֵאָכֵל אֶלָּא לַכֹּהֲנִים בִּלְבַד:

7

Similarly, when a priest has a sacrifice [of his own], he may come to the Temple and offer it on any day that he desires,18 as [that verse] states: "He shall come at any [impulse] of his heart's desires and serve." He may even offer his sin offering and guilt offering and bring about atonement for himself. [In such an instance,] the right to the hide and to partake of the sacrifice belongs to him. If he desires he may give his sacrifice to any priest he desires to sacrifice it. [In such an instance,] the right to the hide and to partake of the sacrifice belongs to the priest to whom he gave it.19

ז

וְכֵן כֹּהֵן שֶׁהָיָה לוֹ קָרְבָּן הֲרֵי זֶה בָּא לַמִּקְדָּשׁ וּמַקְרִיבוֹ בְּכָל יוֹם שֶׁיִּרְצֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ו) "וּבָא בְּכָל אַוַּת נַפְשׁוֹ" (דברים יח ז) "וְשֵׁרֵת". וַאֲפִלּוּ חַטָּאתוֹ וַאֲשָׁמוֹ הוּא מַקְרִיב וּמְכַפֵּר עַל יְדֵי עַצְמוֹ וְהָעוֹר שֶׁל קָרְבָּנוֹ וַאֲכִילָתוֹ שֶׁלּוֹ. וְאִם רָצָה לִתֵּן אֶת קָרְבָּנוֹ לְכָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁיִּרְצֶה לְהַקְרִיבוֹ נוֹתֵן. וְעוֹר הַקָּרְבָּן וַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ לְאוֹתוֹ הַכֹּהֵן בִּלְבַד שֶׁנָּתַן לוֹ:

8

If the priest who brings the sacrifice is physically blemished,20 he should give his sacrifice to the [priests of] the watch serving that week and the hide belongs to them.21 If he was ill or sick to the extent that he could serve only with difficulty, he may give the sacrifice to any priest he desires,22 the hide and the service23 belong to the [priests of] the watch serving that week. If he cannot serve at all, the sacrifice belongs to the [priests of] the watch serving that week in its entirety.24

ח

הָיָה הַכֹּהֵן בַּעַל הַקָּרְבָּן בַּעַל מוּם נוֹתֵן קָרְבָּנוֹ לְאַנְשֵׁי מִשְׁמָר וְהָעוֹר שֶׁלָּהֶם. הָיָה זָקֵן אוֹ חוֹלֶה שֶׁיָּכוֹל לַעֲבֹד עַל יְדֵי הַדְּחָק נוֹתֵן קָרְבָּנוֹ לְכָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁיִּרְצֶה וְהָעוֹר וְהָעֲבוֹדָה לְאַנְשֵׁי מִשְׁמָר. וְאִם אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַעֲבֹד כְּלָל הֲרֵי הַקָּרְבָּן כֻּלּוֹ לְאַנְשֵׁי מִשְׁמָר:

9

If [all the priests of the watch] are impure and a communal sacrifice is involved and all of the priests25 were impure,26 the sacrifice may be given to the priests of that watch who were ritually pure, but have physical blemishes.27 The hide and the service belong to [the priests of] the watch serving that week [even though they are] impure.28

ט

הָיָה טָמֵא בְּקָרְבְּנוֹת הַצִּבּוּר וְכָל הַכֹּהֲנִים טְמֵאִים נוֹתְנוֹ לְבַעֲלֵי מוּמִין טְהוֹרִים שֶׁבְּאוֹתוֹ מִשְׁמָר. וְעוֹרוֹ וַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ לְאַנְשֵׁי מִשְׁמָר הַטְּמֵאִים:

10

If the sacrifice belonged to the High Priest and he was in a state of acute mourning,29 he may give it to any priest he desires. The hide and the service belong to [the priests of] the watch serving that week. [The rationale is that] since a High Priest is fit to perform service in a state of acute mourning,30 as will be explained,31 he may appoint an agent for his sacrifice.

י

הָיָה הַקָּרְבָּן שֶׁל כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל וְהָיָה אוֹנֵן נוֹתְנוֹ לְכָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁיִּרְצֶה וְעוֹרוֹ וַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ לְאַנְשֵׁי מִשְׁמָר. כֵּיוָן שֶׁכֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל הָאוֹנֵן רָאוּי לַעֲבוֹדָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר הֲרֵי זֶה עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלִיחַ לְקָרְבָּנוֹ:

11

The head of every watch divides his watch into clans32 so that [the priests] in each clan will serve on one of the days of the week, one on one day, another on the next, and another on the next. Each of the clans had a head who was appointed over it.

יא

כָּל רֹאשׁ מִשְׁמָר וּמִשְׁמָר מְחַלֵּק מִשְׁמָרוֹ לְבָתֵּי אָבוֹת. עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה כָּל בֵּית אָב וַאֲנָשָׁיו עוֹבֵד בְּיוֹם אֶחָד מִימוֹת הַשַּׁבָּת. וְהָאַחֵר בְּיוֹם שֶׁל אַחֲרָיו. וְהָאַחֵר בְּיוֹם שֶׁל אַחֲרָיו. וּלְכָל בֵּית אָב וְאָב רֹאשׁ אֶחָד מְמֻנֶּה עָלָיו:

12

A High Priest is appointed33 [to serve as] the head of all of the priests. He is anointed with the anointing oil34 and clothed in the garments of the High Priest,35 as [Leviticus 21:10] states: "And the priest who was elevated over his brethren, over whose head was poured [the anointment oil]...." If there is no anointment oil,36 he is initiated into office merely by [wearing] the garments of the High Priest,37 as [the above verse] states: "...over whose head was poured [the anointment oil] and who was initiated to wear the garments." [Implied is that] just as he is initiated with the anointment oil, so too, he is initiated with the garments [of the High Priesthood].

יב

וּמְמַנִּין כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל הוּא רֹאשׁ לְכָל הַכֹּהֲנִים. וּמוֹשְׁחִין אוֹתוֹ בְּשֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה. וּמַלְבִּישִׁין אוֹתוֹ בִּגְדֵי כְּהֻנָּה גְּדוֹלָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כא י) "וְהַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל מֵאֶחָיו אֲשֶׁר יוּצַק" וְגוֹ'. וְאִם אֵין שָׁם שֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה מְרַבִּין אוֹתוֹ בְּבִגְדֵי כְּהֻנָּה גְּדוֹלָה בִּלְבַד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כא י) "אֲשֶׁר יוּצַק עַל רֹאשׁוֹ שֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה וּמִלֵּא אֶת יָדוֹ לִלְבּשׁ אֶת הַבְּגָדִים". כְּשֵׁם שֶׁמִּתְרַבֶּה בְּשֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה כָּךְ מִתְרַבֶּה בִּבְגָדִים:

13

How is he initiated with the garments? He puts on the eight garments [of the High Priest] and [later] removes them and does so again on the morrow for seven days, as [Exodus 29:30] states: "The priest from his sons who serves in his stead shall put them on for seven days." Just as he puts on the clothes for seven consecutive days, so too, he is anointed with the oil for seven consecutive days.38 If he performed service before he was initiated by wearing the clothes for all seven days or before he was anointed for all seven days, his service is acceptable.39 Since he was initiated or anointed once, he is a High Priest with regard to all matters.

יג

כֵּיצַד מְרַבִּין אוֹתוֹ בִּבְגָדִים. לוֹבֵשׁ שְׁמוֹנָה בְּגָדִים וּפוֹשְׁטָן וְחוֹזֵר וְלוֹבְשָׁן לְמָחָר שִׁבְעַת יָמִים יוֹם אַחַר יוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כט ל) "שִׁבְעַת יָמִים יִלְבָּשָׁם הַכֹּהֵן תַּחְתָּיו מִבָּנָיו". וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁרִבּוּי בְּגָדִים שִׁבְעָה כָּךְ מְשִׁיחָה בְּשֶׁמֶן שִׁבְעָה יוֹם אַחַר יוֹם. וְאִם עָבַד קֹדֶם שֶׁיִּתְרַבֶּה בִּבְגָדִים כָּל שִׁבְעָה אוֹ קֹדֶם שֶׁיִּמָּשַׁח כָּל שִׁבְעָה עֲבוֹדָתוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה. הוֹאִיל וְנִתְרַבָּה אוֹ נִמְשַׁח פַּעַם אַחַת נַעֲשָׂה כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל לְכָל דָּבָר:

14

There is no difference in [the laws pertaining to] a High Priest who was anointed with the anointment oil and [those applying to] one who was initiated by wearing the garments of the High Priest except [the obligation] for the High Priest to bring a bull [as a sacrifice] if he inadvertently violated one of the mitzvot for which a sin offering is required, as [Leviticus 4:3] states: "If the anointed priest40 will sin...."41 With regard to other matters, they are identical.

יד

אֵין בֵּין כֹּהֵן מָשׁוּחַ בְּשֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה לִמְרֻבֶּה בְּגָדִים אֶלָּא פַּר שֶׁמֵּבִיא כֹּהֵן הַמָּשִׁיחַ אִם שָׁגַג בְּאֶחָד מִן הַמִּצְוֹת שֶׁחַיָּב עֲלֵיהֶן חַטָּאת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא ד ג) "אִם הַכֹּהֵן הַמָּשִׁיחַ יֶחֱטָא" וְגוֹ'. אֲבָל לִשְׁאָר הַדְּבָרִים שָׁוִים הֵם:

15

A High Priest should be appointed only by the court of 71 judges.42 He should be anointed only during the day, as [ibid. 6:13] states: "On the day of his anointment...." Similarly, if he was initiated merely by wearing the priestly garments, the initiation should only take place during the day. Two High Priests should not be initiated together.

טו

אֵין מַעֲמִידִין כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל אֶלָּא בֵּית דִּין שֶׁל אֶחָד וְשִׁבְעִים. וְאֵין מוֹשְׁחִין אוֹתוֹ אֶלָּא בַּיּוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא ו יג) "בְּיוֹם הִמָּשַׁח אֹתוֹ". וְכֵן אִם נִתְרַבָּה בִּבְגָדִים בִּלְבַד אֵין מְרַבִּין אוֹתוֹ אֶלָּא בַּיּוֹם. וְאֵין מְמַנִּין שְׁנֵי כֹּהֲנִים גְּדוֹלִים כְּאַחַת:

16

We also appoint a priest who will serve the High Priest like a viceroy, he is called the segen and he is also called "the appointed one." He should stand at the right hand of the High Priest at all times.43 This honor is given to him. All of the other priests are under his authority.

טז

מְמַנִּין כֹּהֵן אֶחָד יִהְיֶה לְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל כְּמוֹ הַמִּשְׁנֶה לַמֶּלֶךְ וְהוּא הַנִּקְרָא סְגָן. וְהוּא הַנִּקְרָא מְמֻנֶּה וְיִהְיֶה עוֹמֵד לִימִין כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל תָּמִיד וְזֶה כָּבוֹד הוּא לוֹ. וְכָל הַכֹּהֲנִים מִתַּחַת יַד הַסְּגָן:

17

In addition, katikolin44 are appointed to serve the segen as the segen serves the High Priest. There should be no less than two of them.45 No less than seven amerkalin46 should be appointed, The keys to the Temple Courtyard are in their hands.47 If one desires to open [the courtyard], he cannot until all the amerkalin gather and open it.

יז

וְעוֹד מְמַנִּין קַתִּיקוֹלִין לִהְיוֹת לַסְּגָן כְּמוֹ הַסְּגָן לְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל. וְאֵין פּוֹחֲתִין מִשְּׁנַיִם. וּמְמַנִּים אֲמַרְכָּלִין אֵין פָּחוֹת מִשִּׁבְעָה. וּמַפְתְּחוֹת הָעֲזָרָה בְּיָדָם רָצָה הָאֶחָד לִפְתֹּחַ אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל עַד שֶׁיִּתְכַּנְּסוּ כָּל הָאֲמַרְכּוֹלִין וְיִפְתְּחוּ:

18

Treasurers are appointed under the amerkalin. There should be no less than three. They collect the consecrated articles, redeem those which should be redeemed,48 and use the proceeds for purposes that require these expenses.

יח

וּמְמַנִּין גִּזְבָּרִין מִתַּחַת יְדֵי הָאֲמַרְכּוֹלִין. וְאֵין פּוֹחֲתִין מִשְּׁלֹשָׁה גִּזְבָּרִין. וְהַגִּזְבָּרִין הֵם שֶׁגּוֹבִין כָּל הַהֶקְדֵּשׁוֹת. וּפוֹדִין אֶת הַנִּפְדֶּה מֵהֶן וּמוֹצִיאִין אוֹתָן בִּדְבָרִים הָרְאוּיִין לָהֶן לְהוֹצִיאָן:

19

A High Priest who was anointed receives precedence49 over one who was installed by wearing the garments [of the High Priesthood].50 One installed by wearing the garments who is prepared to serve receives precedence over an anointed [High Priest] disqualified because of a seminal emission.51 One disqualified because of a seminal emission receives precedence over one disqualified because of a physical blemish.52 One disqualified because of a physical blemish receives precedence over the priest anointed to lead the nation in war.53 The priest anointed to lead the nation in war receives precedence over the segen.54 The segen receives precedence over a katikol, a katikol over an amerkal, an amerkal over a treasurer, a treasurer over a head of a watch, a head of a watch over a head of a clan, and a head of a clan over an ordinary priest. Thus there are eight rungs in the priesthood,55 one above the other.

יט

כֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל הַמָּשׁוּחַ קוֹדֵם לִמְרֻבֶּה בְּגָדִים. וּמְרֻבֶּה בְּגָדִים הָעוֹמֵד לְשָׁרֵת קוֹדֵם לְמָשׁוּחַ שֶׁעָבַר מֵחֲמַת קֶרִי. וְהָעוֹבֵר מֵחֲמַת קֶרִי קוֹדֵם לְעוֹבֵר מֵחֲמַת מוּם. וְהָעוֹבֵר מֵחֲמַת מוּם קוֹדֵם לְכֹהֵן מְשׁוּחַ מִלְחָמָה. וּמְשׁוּחַ מִלְחָמָה קוֹדֵם לִסְגָן. וּסְגָן קוֹדֵם לְקַתִּיקוֹל. וְקַתִּיקוֹל קוֹדֵם לַאֲמַרְכָּל. וַאֲמַרְכָּל קוֹדֵם לְגִזְבָּר. וְגִזְבָּר קוֹדֵם לְרֹאשׁ מִשְׁמָר. וְרֹאשׁ הַמִּשְׁמָר קוֹדֵם לְרֹאשׁ בֵּית אָב. וְרֹאשׁ בֵּית אָב קוֹדֵם לְכֹהֵן הֶדְיוֹט מִשְּׁאָר הַכֹּהֲנִים. נִמְצְאוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים תָּמִיד שְׁמוֹנֶה מַעֲלוֹת זוֹ לְמַעְלָה מִזּוֹ:

20

When the king, the High Priest, or any other official dies, his son or anyone fit to inherit him56 is appointed in his stead. Those who are higher in the order of inheritance57 receive precedence with regard to receiving the position of the deceased, provided he is equivalent [to the deceased] in wisdom,58 or in the fear of God, even if he is not comparable in wisdom.59 For [Deuteronomy 17:20] states with regard to a king: "He and his descendants in the midst of Israel." This teaches that the kingship is inherited. This applies with regard to any office amidst the Jewish people.60 If one acquires it, he acquires it for himself and for his descendants.

כ

כְּשֶׁיָּמוּת הַמֶּלֶךְ אוֹ כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל אוֹ אֶחָד מִשְּׁאָר הַמְמֻנִּים מַעֲמִידִין תַּחְתָּיו בְּנוֹ אוֹ הָרָאוּי לְיָרְשׁוֹ. וְכָל הַקּוֹדֵם לְנַחֲלָה קוֹדֵם לִשְׂרָרוֹת הַמֵּת. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה מְמַלֵּא מְקוֹמוֹ בְּחָכְמָה אוֹ בְּיִרְאָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ כְּמוֹתוֹ בְּחָכְמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בְּמֶלֶךְ (דברים יז כ) "הוּא וּבָנָיו בְּקֶרֶב יִשְׂרָאֵל". מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהַמַּלְכוּת יְרֻשָּׁה. וְהוּא הַדִּין לְכָל שְׂרָרָה שֶׁבְּקֶרֶב יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁהַזּוֹכֶה לָהּ זוֹכֶה לְעַצְמוֹ וּלְזַרְעוֹ:

21

The position of being the priest anointed to lead the nation in war is not transferred to one's son.61 Instead, the son is like all other priests. If he is anointed as the leader in war, he is anointed. If he is not anointed, he is not anointed.62 When the priest who was anointed to lead the nation in war serves in the Temple,63 he serves wearing four garments like the other priests.64

A person should be promoted to a higher position than the one he holds and should not be demoted to a lower position, for one must ascend with regard to holy matters and not descend.65 A person should never be removed from a position of authority within the Jewish people unless he acted in an unsuitable manner.66

כא

מְשׁוּחַ מִלְחָמָה אֵין בְּנוֹ מִתְמַנֶּה תַּחְתָּיו לְעוֹלָם אֶלָּא הֲרֵי הוּא כִּשְׁאָר הַכֹּהֲנִים. אִם נִמְשַׁח לַמִּלְחָמָה נִמְשַׁח וְאִם לֹא נִמְשַׁח לֹא נִמְשַׁח. וּכְשֶׁכֹּהֵן מְשׁוּחַ מִלְחָמָה מְשַׁמֵּשׁ בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ מְשַׁמֵּשׁ בְּאַרְבָּעָה כֵּלִים כִּשְׁאָר כֹּהֲנִים. מַעֲלִין מִשְּׂרָרָה לִשְׂרָרָה גְּדוֹלָה מִמֶּנָּה וְאֵין מוֹרִידִין אוֹתוֹ לַשְּׂרָרָה שֶׁהִיא לְמַטָּה מִמֶּנָּה. שֶׁמַּעֲלִין בַּקֹּדֶשׁ וְלֹא מוֹרִידִין. וְאֵין מוֹרִידִין לְעוֹלָם מִשְּׂרָרָה שֶׁבְּקֶרֶב יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶלָּא אִם סָרַח:

22

When a High Priest violates a transgression that is punishable by lashes, he should be given lashes in a court of three judges as is the law regarding others liable for lashes.67 He then returns to his position of eminence.68

כב

וְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁעָבַר עֲבֵרָה שֶׁחַיָּב עָלֶיהָ מַלְקוֹת מַלְקִין אוֹתוֹ בְּבֵית דִּין שֶׁל שְׁלֹשָׁה כִּשְׁאָר מְחֻיְּבֵי מַלְקוֹת וְחוֹזֵר לִגְדֻלָּתוֹ:

Test Yourself on This Chapter

Footnotes
1.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 32) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 269) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

2.

I.e., to receive the first aliyah in the public reading of the Torah. In the Talmudic era (and so is the practice in some communities today), the person receiving the aliyah would himself read from the Torah.

3.

I.e., to recite the blessing HaMotzi and to lead the Grace (Rashi, Gittin 59b).

4.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Gittin 5:8), the Rambam emphasizes that this applies only when there are no sages present whose knowledge surpasses that of the priest. If such sages are present, they are given priority.

5.

More particularly, Samuel divided them into 16 watches and David, into 24 (Ta'anit 27a).

6.

The changing of the watches was marked by the division of the showbread. The entering watch would receive six loaves and the departing watch, six loaves. See Hilchot Temidim UMusafim 4:12.

7.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 36) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 509) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

There is, however, a difference between the definition of the mitzvah here and that of Sefer HaMitzvot. In that source, the Rambam describes the mitzvah as creating the watches, while here he defines it as allowing all of the watches to serve during the festivals.

8.

All the commentaries agree that this verse is referring to a priest, who is a descendant of the tribe of Levi. See the conclusion of Halachah 6.

9.

The Kessef Mishneh explains that this refers both to the communal offerings required to be offered on the festivals and the individual offerings which people would bring as part of their pilgrimage obligations.

10.

See Hilchot Temidim UMusafim 4:12.

11.

See ibid. 8:11.

12.

A pledge to bring a particular type of sacrifice (see Hilchot Nedarim 1:2).

13.

A pledge to bring a designated animal as a sacrifice (ibid.).

14.

I.e., although all the priests had license to come and serve in the Temple during the pilgrimage festivals, there was also one watch which was designated to serve at that time, and that watch was entrusted with offering these sacrifices.

15.

The difference between the two is that the showbread is not offered because of the festival (but is instead, an ongoing obligation for every Sabbath), while the two loaves are (Radbaz).

16.

We have translated the word sha'arecha figuratively as "your cities," even though it literally means "your gates." The implication is that the verse is speaking about a time when all of Israel come to one city, Jerusalem, for the pilgrimage festivals.

17.

For it mentions Levites.

18.

I.e., even if it is not the time when his watch was designated to serve.

19.

The Ra'avad differs and maintains that the priest who brought the sacrifice has the right to partake of it and benefit from its hide, even if he did not offer it. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh debate these two perspectives based on Bava Kama 110a.

20.

In which instance, he is forbidden to bring his own sacrifice.

21.

This follows the version of Bava Kama 109b cited by Rashi. The standard published text follows a different version. Since he is unable to offer the sacrifice, he may not appoint an agent to offer it, but instead, must give it to the members of the watch. Since they offer it, they are entitled to its hide. The owner of the sacrifice may, however, receive a portion of the meat of the sacrifice since he is permitted to partake of sacrificial meat.

22.

Since it is possible for him to serve, he may appoint an agent to act as the owner of the sacrifice.

23.

According to Rashi (ibid. 110a), it appears that the intent is the priests of the watch are given the right to partake of the sacrifice. Since the owner could not partake of it himself, he cannot appoint an agent to do so.

24.

Since he cannot serve himself, he cannot appoint an agent to serve in his place.

25.

I.e., all the priests found in Jerusalem at that time, including those of other watches.

26.

In which instance, the communal sacrifices may be offered by the priests while in a state of impurity, as stated in Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 4:12. Individual sacrifices may not be offered by impure priests even under these circumstances.

27.

In such a situation, the sacrifice should be brought in a state of ritual impurity. Nevertheless, the sacrificial meat itself was ritually pure and it should be eaten by a priest who is ritually pure. Since the priest who is physically blemished is ritually pure and is part of the watch which is serving, he should be given the meat to eat.

28.

A blemished priest cannot perform service in the Temple even in such a situation.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam and states that the sacrifice should be given to any priest to offer even though that priest is impure and the right to partake of the sacrifice and use the hide should be given to the priests of that watch who have physical blemishes. The Radbaz explains that the Rambam's intent is that a priest with physical blemishes should receive the meat. The hide, however, belongs to the priests who offered it.

29.

His mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, or wife died that day.

30.

Hence he can appoint an agent.

31.

Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 2:6. The High Priest may offer sacrifices while in a state of acute mourning, but may not partake of them. Other priests are not allowed to offer sacrifices in this state.

32.

The Radbaz implies that the division was a creative one and that each week, the head of the watch would make a division according to his perception of the needs of the Temple service for that week.

33.

By the High Court of 71 judges as stated in Halachah 15.

34.

Described in Chapter 1, in particular, Halchot 7 and 9.

35.

The eight garments described in Chapter 8, Halachot 1-2. An ordinary priest wears four priestly garments and the High Priest, eight.

36.

As was the case in the latter years of the First Temple and throughout the Second Temple period (see Chapter 1, Halachah 8).

37.

The term marbeh begadim, literally, "increased [his] garments," is used to described this initiation, because he is garbed with the eight garments of the High Priest as opposed to the four of an ordinary priest.

38.

The Radbaz explains that the paradigm for this was set by the initiation of Aaron in the High Priesthood at the time of the dedication of the Sanctuary. Although Aaron was anointed on the first day, Moses served as a High Priest for the first seven days (Radbaz).

39.

Implied is that the initial preference is for him not to perform service. The Ra'avad differs and maintains that the obligation to be initiated for seven days before serving applies only with regard to the Yom Kippur service, but not with regard to other matters.

40.

Thus including only a High Priest who was anointed.

41.

See Hilchot Shegagot, ch. 15, for a description of the details of this sacrifice.

42.

Sanhedrin 16a derives this from the advice Yisro gives to Moses (Exodus 18:22): "Any great matter (hadavar hagadol) will be brought to you." Implied is that matters that involve gadlus (greatness) - including the appointment of the kohen gadol (the High Priest) - should be judged by a court with authority equal to that of Moses, i.e., the Sanhedrin of 71 judges.

43.

See Chapter 5, Halachot 4-5, 13.

44.

A Greek term meaning "general officer."

45.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Shekalim 5:2), the Rambam states that there should never be less than two people appointed to take care of communal matters.

46.

Horiot 13a interprets this as a composite of two Aramaic terms meaning "appointed over all." See also the Targum to Numbers 3:32 which uses this term to translate nasi, "prince." The Radbaz notes that the word emir in Arabic means "officer."

47.

I.e., there were seven keys to the Temple Courtyard and each one had one key (Tosefta, Shekalim). In Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 8:5, the Rambam states that the keys to the Sanctuary were entrusted to the elders of the clan. Perhaps the intent is that the elders of the clan were in fact the amerkalin (Ma'aseh Rokeach). Based on the following halachah, that would seem unlikely (Kin'at Eliyahu). See also Chapter 7, Halachah 3, which speaks about a priest appointed to lock the gates of the Temple. Perhaps the intent is that the keys belonged to the amerkalin and each night, they would entrust them.

48.

I.e., those that could be used for the Temple or its service itself should be used for that purpose and not redeemed.

49.

Horiot 13a states that he is given precedence with regard to providing him with his livelihood (and by extension, redeeming him from captivity and returning his lost article). Seemingly, this order also applies - albeit with certain exceptions - with regard to establishing a hierarchy of honor.

50.

The Ritba (in his gloss to Makkot 11a) questions the source of the Rambam's ruling, Horiot, loc. cit. For seemingly, until the oil of anointment was entombed, there were only anointed High Priests and there were none initiated by wearing the priestly garments. And after it was entombed, there were no longer any anointed High Priests. And yet, the passage in Horiot appears to imply that they were contemporaries.

The Ritba offers a resolution, explaining that, in the era of the First Temple, if a High Priest that was anointed was forced to be absent from the Temple for an extended period, e.g., he became ill or was taken captive, a substitute was appointed to serve as a High Priest in his place. He was not anointed, because there may never be two anointed High Priests at the same time, but instead, was initiated in his office by wearing the garments of the High Priesthood.

51.

A priest who experiences a seminal emission becomes impure and is therefore disqualified from offering sacrifices or performing any other service in the Temple until he regains ritual purity.

52.

For the one disqualified because of a seminal is fit for service after he becomes pure, while a blemished priest will never become fit. Even if the blemished can be healed, until it is healed, he is unfit.

53.

See Chapter 1, Halachah 7.

54.

Nazir 47b states that with regard to providing one with his livelihood, the priest appointed to lead the nation in war receives precedence over the segen, because the nation as a whole is dependent on him.

55.

The priest appointed to lead the nation in war is not counted, because he is not involved in the Temple service. Nor are those disqualified because of blemishes or impurity counted, because they do not exist at all times. Similarly, only one level of High Priest is counted, because generally, there was either an anointed High Priest or one installed through wearing the garments. Usually, both did not exist together. See the gloss of the Kessef Mishneh.

56.

I.e., any male. Although females are fit to inherit in certain circumstances, they should not be given any positions of authority among the Jewish people. See Hilchot Melachim 1:5.

57.

The order of inheritance is listed in Hilchot Nachalot, ch. 1.

58.

Hilchot Melachim 1:7 states that he must be equivalent to his predecessor in both wisdom and the fear of God in order to inherit the position. The commentaries suggest emending the text here to follow that reading, because the fear of God is the very foundation of the spiritual heritage of the Jewish people. Anyone who lacks that quality can never be a competent leader, as the Rambam states there: "[However,] under no circumstance should a person who lacks the fear of God be appointed to any position in Israel, even though he possesses much knowledge."

59.

In the above source, the Rambam states: "He should be granted his father's position and given instruction." In that vein, Ketubot 103b describes how Rabbi Yehudah Hanasi instructed that his son Gamliel be given his position, even though his knowledge was not as great as his father's.

If, however, a son is not comparable to his father in the fear of heaven, he should not be given his position at all. The Kessef Mishneh cites the interpretation of Leviticus 16:32 which describes the High Priest as one "who was anointed to fill the place of his ancestor." Torat Kohanim (Tzav) comments: "Should he be anointed even though he does not 'fill the place' [i.e., does not equal the level of his] ancestors? No, the Torah states 'fill the place.' If he is not equal to his father, the position should be granted to someone else."

60.

See Sifri, Shoftim.

This law has been a matter of controversy throughout the years. In regard to positions of communal authority, almost all authorities accept this concept. However, controversies have frequently arisen over the inheritance of Rabbinical positions. Here, the Rambam's decision has frequently been challenged.

Maharshdam (Yoreh De'ah, Responsa, n. 85) states that a city must seek out the most capable Rav possible without regard to inheritance. Similarly, the Terumat HaDeshen (Pesakim 128) states "Torah cannot be inherited."

However, many prominent authorities (Rivash, Responsa 271, Ramah, Yoreh De'ah 245, Maharit Algazi, Simchat Yom Tov 6) have explained that this law applies even in regard to rabbinical positions.

The difficulties in deciding the question may be seen in the Chatam Sofer's lack of certainty regarding it. In his Responsa (Orach Chayim, Responsum 12), he at first espouses the opinion that rabbinical positions should not be handed down from father to son. However, later (Responsum 13), he reversed himself and granted the son his father's position by inheritance.

In practice, most Rabbis have reached the opinion that if the son is a capable Rabbi, though less qualified than another who seeks the position, his father's position should be awarded to him. However, if the community sees the son as incapable of filling his father's position at all, it may be given to another person.

61.

The Radbaz maintains that this ruling has to do with the unique function this priest serves. Since he leads the nation in war, it is a life or death question and the most capable person is chosen whether he is the heir or not.

In a responsum (Orach Chayim 12), the Chatam Sofer takes the opposite perspective, explaining the distinction between this and other positions which are inherited as follows: The kingship and other similar positions are appointments associated with leadership. Hence if the heir is fundamentally capable, he inherits his father's position. The priest who leads the nation in war, by contrast, is an appointment based on holiness. That is not transferred by inheritance. Indeed, the High Priesthood would not be transferred by inheritance were there not a specific verse commanding us to do so.

62.

There is no obligation either way.

63.

While he leads them in war, he wears the eight garments of the High Priest (see Radbaz, Kessef Mishneh).

64.

Although he was anointed, he is not given the status of a High Priest and wears the garments of an ordinary priest.

65.

This is a principle applied in several contexts of Torah law. See Menachot 11:7; Hilchot Tefilah 3:16; Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 3:16.

66.

Once he is removed from his position, he should not be reinstated. See Hilchot Sanhedrin 17:9.

67.

See Hilchot Sanhedrin 5:4. Although a case involving a question of capital punishment for a High Priest is judged by a court of 71 judges [rather than the usual 23 (ibid.:1)], we do not say that as a measure of respect for his position, he should be judged by a court of 23 judges. For if he is held liable, he will be lashed in their presence and this will be a public dishonor [Jerusalem Talmud (Sanhedrin 2:1)].

68.

The Jerusalem Talmud (loc. cit.) explains that this comes as a result of the holiness with which the High Priest is endowed. It is a microcosm of God's holiness and hence, like His holiness cannot be nullified.

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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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