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ב"ה

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 5

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Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 5

1

The High Priest must surpass all of his priestly brethren in beauty, power, wealth, wisdom, and appearance.1 If he does not have wealth of his own, all of his priestly brethren should give him according to their financial capacity until he is wealthier than all of them.2

א

כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל צָרִיךְ שֶׁיִּהְיֶה גָּדוֹל מִכָּל אֶחָיו הַכֹּהֲנִים בְּנוֹי בְּכֹחַ בְּעשֶׁר בְּחָכְמָה וּבְמַרְאֶה. אֵין לוֹ מָמוֹן כָּל הַכֹּהֲנִים נוֹתְנִין לוֹ מִשֶּׁלָּהֶן כָּל אֶחָד לְפִי עָשְׁרוֹ עַד שֶׁיַּעֲשִׁיר יוֹתֵר מֵעָשִׁיר שֶׁבְּכֻלָּן:

2

None of the above is an absolute requirement;3 instead, all of this is merely [the optimum way of fulfilling] the mitzvah. If he was, nonetheless, initiated, his initiation is valid.

ב

וְאֵין אֶחָד מִכָּל אֵלּוּ מְעַכֵּב אֶלָּא כָּל זֶה לְמִצְוָה אֲבָל אִם נִתְרַבָּה מִכָּל מָקוֹם נִתְרַבָּה:

3

The High Priest must conduct himself with dignity. He should not act frivolously with the people at large. They should not see him naked, nor4 in the bathhouse, nor in the toilet, nor while he is having his hair cut, as [Leviticus 21:6] states: "the priest greater than his brethren." This teaches that he is regarded with great honor. [Nevertheless,] if he desires that others bathe with him, he may [allow them to do so].

ג

וְחַיָּב כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל לִנְהֹג כָּבוֹד בְּעַצְמוֹ. וְלֹא יָקֵל בְּעַצְמוֹ עִם שְׁאָר הָעָם וְלֹא יִרְאוּ אוֹתוֹ עָרוּם לֹא בְּבֵית הַמֶּרְחָץ וְלֹא בְּבֵית הַכִּסֵּא וְלֹא כְּשֶׁמִּסְתַּפֵּר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כא י) "הַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל מֵאֶחָיו" מְלַמֵּד שֶׁנּוֹהֲגִין בּוֹ גְּדֻלָּה יְתֵרָה. רָצָה הוּא שֶׁיִּרְחֲצוּ אֲחֵרִים עִמּוֹ הָרְשׁוּת בְּיָדוֹ:

4

He should not enter a celebration or a public feast even if they are associated with a mitzvah.5 If he desires,6 however, he may go to a house of mourning. If he goes, he does not go walking together with the other priests. Instead, the priests surround him and display honor to him and the segen arranges the contact between him and the people. The segen and an anointed priest who was removed from his position7 stand at his right and the head of the clan [serving in the Temple], the mourners, and all others are to his left. He tells the mourners: "Be comforted" and they honor him according to their capacity.

ד

לֹא יִכָּנֵס לְבֵית הַמִּשְׁתֶּה וְלֹא לִסְעֻדָּה שֶׁל רַבִּים אֲפִלּוּ הֵם שֶׁל מִצְוָה. אֲבָל הוֹלֵךְ הוּא אִם רָצָה לְבֵית הָאָבֵל. וּכְשֶׁהוּא הוֹלֵךְ אֵינוֹ הוֹלֵךְ בְּעִרְבּוּבְיָא עִם שְׁאָר הַכֹּהֲנִים. אֶלָּא מְסַבְּבִין אוֹתוֹ הַכֹּהֲנִים וְחוֹלְקִין לוֹ כָּבוֹד. וְהַסְּגָן מְמַצְּעוֹ בֵּינוֹ לְבֵין הָעָם. וְהַסְּגָן וּמָשׁוּחַ שֶׁעָבַר מִימִינוֹ. וְרֹאשׁ בֵּית אָב וְהָאֲבֵלִים וְכָל הָעָם מִשְּׂמֹאלוֹ. וְאוֹמֵר לַאֲבֵלִים תְּנֻחֲמוּ. וְהֵן מְכַבְּדִין אוֹתוֹ כְּפִי כֹּחָן:

5

If one [of the relatives for whom he must mourn] dies, he does not go out to the funeral procession, nor does he depart from the entrance of his home or the Temple. All of the nation come to his home to comfort him. He stands for the line of comforters8 with the segen at his right and the head of the clan to his left. [The people tell him]: "We are atonement for you" and he tells them: "May you be blessed from heaven."

ה

מֵת לוֹ מֵת אֵינוֹ יוֹצֵא אַחֲרָיו. וְאֵינוֹ יוֹצֵא מִפֶּתַח בֵּיתוֹ אוֹ מִן הַמִּקְדָּשׁ. וְכָל הָעָם בָּאִים לְנַחֲמוֹ לְבֵיתוֹ. וְהוּא עוֹמֵד בְּשׁוּרָה וּסְגָן מִימִינוֹ וְרֹאשׁ בֵּית אָב וְכָל הָעָם מִשְּׂמֹאלוֹ. וְאוֹמְרִים לוֹ אָנוּ כַּפָּרָתְךָ וְהוּא אוֹמֵר לָהֶם תִּתְבָּרְכוּ מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם:

6

When the meal of comfort is served to him,9 all of the people sit on the ground and he sits on a low bench.10 He does not rend his garments over his dead, as do the other priests,11 as [Leviticus 21:10] states: "He shall not rend his garments."12 If he rends them, he is liable for lashes.13 He may, however, tear them from below towards his feet.14

He may never let his hair grow long,15 as [ibid.] states: "He shall not allow [the hair of] his head to grow long." [This applies] even at times when he does not enter the Sanctuary. Instead, he should have his hair cut every Friday. He should not have his hair cut with a razor, rather with scissors. [He should have] the top of one hair [cut] when it reaches the base of the hair above it so that it appears that they grew as one,16 as [indicated by Ezekiel 44:20]: "They shall not shave their heads, nor should they let their hair grow long. [Instead,] they shall keep their heads trimmed."

ו

וּכְשֶׁמַּבְרִין אוֹתוֹ כָּל הָעָם מְסֻבִּין עַל הָאָרֶץ וְהוּא מֵסֵב עַל הַסַּפְסָל. וְאֵינוֹ קוֹרֵעַ עַל מֵתוֹ כִּשְׁאָר הַכֹּהֲנִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כא י) "וּבְגָדָיו לֹא יִפְרֹם". וְאִם קָרַע לוֹקֶה. אֲבָל קוֹרֵעַ הוּא מִלְּמַטָּה כְּנֶגֶד רַגְלָיו. וְאֵינוֹ מַרְבֶּה פֶּרַע לְעוֹלָם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כא י) "אֶת רֹאשׁוֹ לֹא יִפְרָע" וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּעֵת שֶׁלֹּא יִכָּנֵס לַמִּקְדָּשׁ. אֶלָּא מְסַפֵּר מֵעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת לְעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת. וְאֵינוֹ מְסַפֵּר בְּתַעַר אֶלָּא בְּזוּג רֹאשׁ שַׂעֲרָה זוֹ בְּעִקָּר זוֹ עַד שֶׁיֵּרָאֶה כְּאִלּוּ הוּא צָמַח כְּאַחַת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יחזקאל מד כ) "רֹאשָׁם לֹא יְגַלֵּחוּ וּפֶרַע לֹא יְשַׁלֵּחוּ כָּסוֹם יִכְסְמוּ אֶת רָאשֵׁיהֶן":

7

There was a chamber prepared for him in the Sanctuary which was called: "The Chamber of the High Priest."17 The glory and the honor of [the High Priest] would be to remain in the Sanctuary the entire day18 and to go to his private home only at night or for an hour or two during the day. His home should be in Jerusalem and he should never depart from there.19

ז

וּבַיִת יִהְיֶה לוֹ מוּכָן בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ וְהוּא הַנִּקְרָא לִשְׁכַּת כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל. וְתִפְאַרְתּוֹ וּכְבוֹדוֹ שֶׁיִּהְיֶה יוֹשֵׁב בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ כָּל הַיּוֹם. וְלֹא יֵצֵא אֶלָּא לְבֵיתוֹ בִּלְבַד בַּלַּיְלָה אוֹ שָׁעָה אוֹ שְׁתַּיִם בַּיּוֹם. וְיִהְיֶה בֵּיתוֹ בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם וְאֵינוֹ זָז מִשָּׁם:

8

A High Priest may act as a judge and he is judged.20 Testimony may be delivered against him. Capital cases against him are judged in the High Court alone, as [implied by Exodus 18:22]: "Any great matter (hadavar hagadol) will be brought to you."21

ח

כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל דָּן וְדָנִין אוֹתוֹ וּמְעִידִין עָלָיו. וְאֵין דָּנִין אוֹתוֹ דִּינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת אֶלָּא בְּבֵית דִּין הַגָּדוֹל בִּלְבַד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות יח כב) "כָּל הַדָּבָר הַגָּדל יָבִיאוּ אֵלֶיךָ":

9

If he knows testimony, he is not obligated to deliver it, even in the High Court.22 For going to testify does not enhance his honor. If it was testimony involving a King of the Jewish people,23 he should go to the High Court and testify concerning him.24

ט

הָיָה יוֹדֵעַ עֵדוּת אֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְהָעִיד וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּבֵית דִּין הַגָּדוֹל שֶׁזֶּה אֵינוֹ כָּבוֹד לוֹ שֶׁיֵּלֵךְ וְיָעִיד. וְאִם הָיְתָה עֵדוּת לְמֶלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל הֲרֵי זֶה הוֹלֵךְ בְּבֵית דִּין הַגָּדוֹל וּמֵעִיד לוֹ:

10

We already explained in the fifth book25 that [the High Priest] is forbidden [to marry] a widow and commanded to marry a virgin. He may not have two wives. If he marries two, he may not carry out the service on the fast [of Yom Kippur] until he divorces one.26

He may perform chalitzah27 and [either] chalitzah or yibbum are performed with his wife. If he divorces a women, she is permitted to marry another person.28

י

וּכְבָר בֵּאַרְנוּ בְּסֵפֶר קְדֻשָּׁה שֶׁהוּא אָסוּר בְּאַלְמָנָה וּמְצֻוֶּה עַל הַבְּתוּלָה. וְאֵינוֹ נוֹשֵׂא שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים וְאִם נָשָׂא שְׁתַּיִם אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַעֲבֹד בְּיוֹם הַצּוֹם עַד שֶׁיְּגָרֵשׁ לְאַחַת. וְחוֹלֵץ וְחוֹלְצִים לְאִשְׁתּוֹ. וּמְיַבְּמִין אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ. וְאִם גֵּרֵשׁ אִשָּׁה מֻתֶּרֶת לְהִנָּשֵׂא לִשְׁאָר הָעָם:

11

When the High Priest enters the Sanctuary29 to prostrate himself,30 three support him: one on his right side, one on his left side, and one [holding] the jewels on the hind side31 of the ephod. He enters the Sanctuary and prostrates himself. When the segen hears the sound of the feet of the High Priest as he departs,32 he lifts up the curtain.33 After he departs, his priestly brethren enter, prostrate themselves, and depart.

יא

בִּזְמַן שֶׁכֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל נִכְנַס לַהֵיכָל לְהִשְׁתַּחֲווֹת שְׁלֹשָׁה אוֹחֲזִין בּוֹ. אֶחָד בִּימִינוֹ וְאֶחָד בִּשְׂמֹאלוֹ וְאֶחָד בַּאֲבָנִים טוֹבוֹת שֶׁבָּאֵפוֹד מֵאֲחוֹרָיו. וְיִכָּנֵס לַהֵיכָל וְיִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה. וְכֵיוָן שֶׁיִּשְׁמַע הַסְּגָן קוֹל רַגְלָיו שֶׁל כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁהוּא יוֹצֵא מַגְבִּיהַּ לוֹ אֶת הַפָּרֹכֶת. וְאַחַר שֶׁיֵּצֵא יִכָּנְסוּ אֶחָיו הַכֹּהֲנִים וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ וְיֵצְאוּ:

12

On any day he desires, he may offer the incense offering.34 He receives the first portion of any sacrifice offered in the Temple.35 What is implied? If he desires, he may say: "This sin offering is mine" or "This guilt offering is mine."36 He does not seek to be chosen for service by lot.37 Instead, whenever he desires to offer a sacrifice, he may offer [any sacrifice] he desires. With regard to consecrated [produce] from Eretz Yisrael,38 he is like all other priests.

יב

בְּכָל יוֹם שֶׁיִּרְצֶה לְהַקְטִיר הַקְּטֹרֶת מַקְטִיר וְנוֹטֵל חֵלֶק בָּרֹאשׁ בְּקָדְשֵׁי הַמִּקְדָּשׁ כֻּלָּן. כֵּיצַד. כְּשֶׁיִּרְצֶה אוֹמֵר זוֹ הַחַטָּאת שֶׁלִּי וְזֶה הָאָשָׁם שֶׁלִּי. וְאֵינוֹ עוֹבֵד בְּפַיִס. אֶלָּא כָּל עֵת שֶׁיִּרְצֶה לְהַקְרִיב מַקְרִיב כָּל מַה שֶּׁיִּרְצֶה. וַהֲרֵי הוּא בְּקָדְשֵׁי הַגְּבוּל כִּשְׁאָר הַכֹּהֲנִים:

13

When the High Priest desired to offer a sacrifice, he would ascend the ramp with the segen on his right. When he reached the midpoint of the ramp, the segen would hold him by the right hand and help him up. The priest who would carry the head of the burnt offering would extend the limbs [he is carrying]39 to [the High Priest] and [the High Priest] would lean upon them40 and then toss them to the fire.41

יג

בִּזְמַן שֶׁרוֹצֶה כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל לְהַקְרִיב הָיָה עוֹלֶה בַּכֶּבֶשׁ וְהַסְּגָן מִימִינוֹ. הִגִּיעַ לְמַחֲצִית הַכֶּבֶשׁ אָחַז הַסְּגָן בִּימִינוֹ וְהֶעֱלָהוּ. וְהוֹשִׁיט לוֹ הַכֹּהֵן שֶׁהוּא מוֹלִיךְ אֶת רֹאשׁ הָעוֹלָה הָאֵיבָרִים שֶׁבְּיָדוֹ וְסוֹמֵךְ עֲלֵיהֶן וְזוֹרְקָן לָאֵשׁ:

14

Similarly, all of the other limbs would be extended to him. All of those carrying the limbs would give the limbs they were carrying to the first priest and he would give them to the High Priest. He would lean upon them and toss them to the fire. If he desired to merely lean upon them and have another priest toss them to the fire, he may.

There is no concept of leaning on individual limbs except when the High Priest [offers a sacrifice]. [This is an expression of] honor to him. All of the [other] leanings, by contrast, are performed on living animals.

יד

וְכָךְ הָיוּ מוֹשִׁיטִין לוֹ שְׁאָר הָאֵיבָרִים. כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד נוֹתֵן הָאֵיבָרִים שֶׁבְּיָדוֹ לָרִאשׁוֹן. וְהָרִאשׁוֹן נוֹתֵן לְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל וְהוּא סוֹמֵךְ וְזוֹרֵק לָאֵשׁ. וְאִם רָצָה לִסְמֹךְ בִּלְבַד וְיִהְיֶה [כֹּהֵן] אַחֵר זוֹרֵק לָאֵשׁ עוֹשֶׂה. וְאֵין שָׁם סְמִיכָה עַל הָאֵיבָרִים אֶלָּא לְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל בִּלְבַד מִפְּנֵי כְּבוֹדוֹ. אֲבָל כָּל הַסְּמִיכוֹת עַל בַּעֲלֵי חַיִּים הֵם:

15

As soon as a priest matures and attains majority,42 he is fit to serve in the Temple.43 Nevertheless, his priestly brethren would not allow him to serve in the Temple until he reached the age of 20.44 He should not enter the Temple Courtyard to perform service for the first time except during a time when the Levites are chanting songs.45

טו

כְּשֶׁיִּגְדַּל הַכֹּהֵן וְיֵעָשֶׂה אִישׁ הֲרֵי הוּא כָּשֵׁר לַעֲבוֹדָה. אֲבָל אֶחָיו הַכֹּהֲנִים לֹא הָיוּ מְנִיחִין אוֹתוֹ לַעֲבֹד בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה. וְאֵינוֹ נִכְנָס לָעֲזָרָה לַעֲבוֹדָה תְּחִלָּה אֶלָּא בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהַלְוִיִּם אוֹמְרִים שִׁירָה:

16

A priest does not perform Temple service - nor does a High Priest perform Temple service - until he brings [a meal offering of] a tenth of an ephah from his own possessions and offer it himself, as [Leviticus 6:13] states: "This is the sacrifice of Aaron and his descendants46 which they will offer to God on the day that he will be anointed."

If one performs any of the Temple service before he brings [this meal offering] or if a High Priest serves as a High Priest before he brings [this meal offering], his service is acceptable.

טז

אֵין הַכֹּהֵן עוֹבֵד תְּחִלָּה וְכֵן כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל אֵינוֹ עוֹבֵד תְּחִלָּה עַד שֶׁיָּבִיא עֲשִׂירִית הָאֵיפָה מִשֶּׁלּוֹ וְעוֹבֵד בְּיָדוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא ו יג) "זֶה קָרְבַּן אַהֲרֹן וּבָנָיו אֲשֶׁר יַקְרִיבוּ לַה' בְּיוֹם הִמָּשַׁח אֹתוֹ". וְאִם עָבַד קֹדֶם שֶׁיָּבִיא עֲשִׂירִית הָאֵיפָה וְכֵן כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁעָבַד בִּכְהֻנָּה גְּדוֹלָה קֹדֶם שֶׁיָּבִיא עֲשִׂירִית הָאֵיפָה עֲבוֹדָתוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה:

17

If a priest who had never performed Temple service before is appointed as the High Priest, he should bring [a meal offering of] a tenth of an ephah and offer it himself as is the training for every ordinary priest at the outset. Afterwards, he offers a second [such meal offering] as the training of a High Priest. And then he offers a third [such meal offering] which is the chavitin offering of the High Priest which he offers every day, as will be explained.47 The manner in which all three are offered is identical.

יז

כֹּהֵן שֶׁלֹּא עָבַד עֲדַיִן מִיָּמָיו שֶׁמִּנּוּהוּ כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל הֲרֵי זֶה מֵבִיא עֲשִׂירִית הָאֵיפָה וְעוֹבְדָהּ בְּיָדוֹ בַּתְּחִלָּה כִּשְׁאָר חִנּוּךְ כָּל כֹּהֵן הֶדְיוֹט וְאַחַר כָּךְ מַקְרִיב עֲשִׂירִית הָאֵיפָה שְׁנִיָּה שֶׁהִיא חִנּוּךְ כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל. וְאַחַר כָּךְ מַקְרִיב עֲשִׂירִית הָאֵיפָה שְׁלִישִׁית שֶׁהִיא חֲבִיתֵי כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁמַּקְרִיב בְּכָל יוֹם כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר וּמַעֲשֵׂה שְׁלָשְׁתָּן שָׁוֶה הוּא:

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Footnotes
1.

Rav Yosef Corcus explains that "beauty" refers to the attractiveness of his facial features, "appearance," to the comeliness of his physical form. In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Yoma 1:3), the Rambam adds that the High Priest must surpass his brethren in the fear of God.

2.

Leviticus 21:10 describes the High Priest as "the priest greater than his brethren." Yoma 18a offers two interpretations of that phrase: a) The High Priest must be greater than his brethren in all qualities that are significant to human interaction; b) his greatness must come "from (the prefix mei translated as "than" can also mean "from") his brethren"; they must grant him his wealth. The Rambam does not see the two interpretations as contradictory and combines them both in this halachah.

3.

Har HaMoriah derives this from the fact that, by and large, the High Priests of the Second Temple period lacked the quality of wisdom which is the most important of all attributes. Nevertheless, they were given all the privileges of High Priests.

4.

Our text follows the manuscript copies of the Mishneh Torah and early printings. The standard published text reads slightly differently.

5.

For participation in a public celebration may compromise his dignity.

6.

I.e., the matter is left to his choice.

7.

Rashi (Sanhedrin 19a) explains that this refers to an instance where the High Priest was disqualified from performing the Yom Kippur service and another priest had to be appointed to replace him. Although that priest is removed from the office after the first returns, he is still treated with an extra dimension of honor.

8.

See the description of this practice in Hilchot Evel 13:1-2.

9.

See Hilchot Evel 4:9 which states that on the first day of mourning, a mourner is not allowed to partake of his own food.

10.

During mourning, one is not permitted to sit on an ordinary chair (see ibid. 5:17-18). Indeed, in the Talmudic era, it was common for the mourners to sit on the ground itself. Nevertheless, out of respect for the High Priest, he is allowed to sit on a low stool and the visitors sit on the ground. He may not, however, sit on an ordinary stool, for he is also obligated to observe the laws of mourning (ibid. 7:6).

11.

Rending one's garments is one of the mourning obligations. People at large, not only the priests, are obligated to rend their upper garments (ibid. 8:1).

12.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment164) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 150) include the commandment for the priests not to enter the Temple with torn garments among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. The Rambam discusses this mitzvah in Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash, ch. 1. There and in his Sefer HaMitzvot, he explains that there are additional dimensions of this prohibition that apply to a High Priest alone, even when he is not in the midst of Temple service. Since he should be in the Temple at all times, he should never rend his garments. Moreover, he is not allowed to rend his garments during mourning even outside the Temple.

13.

Even though it is a mitzvah for one to rend his garments over his dead, that does not absolve the High Priest for violating this transgression (Radbaz).

14.

This refers to his own personal garments, not the priestly garments.

15.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 163) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 149) include the commandment for the priests not to enter the Temple with overgrown hair among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. The Rambam also discusses this mitzvah in Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash, loc. cit. In his Sefer HaMitzvot, he explains that there is an additional dimension of this mitzvah that applies to a High Priest.

As the Rambam continues to explain, this mitzvah applies not just when the High Priest is in mourning - although others should let their hair grow as a sign of mourning (Hilchot Evel 5:1-2, 6:2), he should not - but at all times.

16.

This is part of the High Priest's obligation to present himself in a beautiful and attractive manner. This was a very difficult task. Sanhedrin 22b relates that one of the contemporaries of Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi (who lived approximately 100 years after the destruction of the Temple) squandered a large amount of money to have his hair cut in this manner. Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi praised him for this, for otherwise, the students would have had difficulty picturing it.

17.

In Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 5:17, the Rambam notes that this chamber was also called the Chamber of Wood and the Chamber of the Parhedrin. See the notes to that halachah for the explanation of these names.

18.

As is the simple meaning of the charge (Leviticus 21:12): "From the Sanctuary, he shall not depart." This, however, is not the halachic meaning of the commandment. Instead, as explained in Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 2, the halachic meaning is that he should not depart in the middle of his service.

19.

This could also be understood from the above command, for according to the Rambam, there are times when the entire city of Jerusalem is referred to as "the Sanctuary."

20.

I.e., this is not considered as an affront to his honor.

21.

This was part of Jethro's advice to Moses with regard to the appointment of judges. Implied is that matters that involve gadlus (great importance) - for example, a case involving the very life 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. As mentioned in Chapter 4, Halachah 23, cases involving a transgression punishable by lashes are judged by a court of three.

22.

In contrast, an ordinary person is obligated to delivery any testimony that he knows (Hilchot Edut 1:1).

23.

I.e., the kings of the House of David. The kings of the Kingdom of Israel and the like, by contrast, should not be brought to court (Hilchot Sanhedrin 2:5). Alternatively, it could refer also to the King of Israel and be referring to a case involving the king's son (Radbaz). Since a king is involved delivering testimony will not be deprecatory to the High Priest's honor.

24.

Note the gloss of Rav Moshe HaCohen to Hilchot Edut who asks why the Rambam does not mention an instance where the High Priest's testimony is necessary to prevent a transgression, for in such an instance, seemingly, even the High Priest should be required to testify.

25.

Sefer Kedushah, Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah, Chapter 1. Halachah 1 of that chapter mentions the prohibition against marrying a widow and Halachah 13, the mitzvah to marry a virgin. These concepts are also mentioned in Hilchot Ishut 1:7-8.

26.

Yoma 13a derives this concept from the exegesis of Leviticus 16:5 states: "And he will atone... for his household." "His household" is interpreted as referring to his wife and the term is written in the singular, implying one wife and not two.

In his gloss to Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 1:13, the Ra'avad notes that II Chronicles 24:3 speaks of Yehoyeda the High Priest and the marriage of two women, seemingly contradicting the Rambam's ruling. The Ra'avad interprets the verse as stating that Yehoyeda married the women himself. (Similarly, Rav Moshe HaCohen and others question the Rambam's ruling.) Rambam LeAm, however, advances the interpretation that the verse is stating that Yehoyeda had Yoash marry the women.

27.

If a man's brother dies childless, there is a mitzvah for him to marry his brother's widow. This is referred to as yibbum. If he does not desire to marry the widow, he must perform a ritual act called chalitzah that gives her the right to remarry. The Rambam is emphasizing the contrast between a High Priest and a king. A king does not perform chalitzah because such an act would be a compromise to his honor. And since he does not perform chalitzah, he is also not entitled to perform yibbum. Nor does his wife undergo yibbum for she is not allowed to marry anyone else (Hilchot Melachim 2:3). None of these restrictions apply with regard to a High Priest.

28.

The divorcee of a king, by contrast, is not permitted to marry anyone else (ibid.).

29.

I.e., the outer chamber of the Temple building, not the Holy of Holies. This is evident from the fact that he is wearing the ephod and on Yom Kippur, he enters the Holy of Holies wearing only the four garments of an ordinary priest.

30.

Prostrating oneself in the Temple was considered one of the elements of the Temple service. See Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 2:4.

31.

This refers to the jewels on the High Priest's breastplate. It is necessary to hold these jewels because the Torah commanded that the breastplate never move away from the ephod.

32.

The movement of the High Priest created noise, because there were bells on the bottom of his cloak.

33.

This refers to the curtain over the opening to the Entrance Hall. On his way in, the High Priest would open the curtain by himself. This was not, however, easy on his way out, because he would be backing out, keeping his faced turned to the Temple.

34.

Generally, the task of bringing the incense offering was rotated among the priests and one who offered it once would not offer it again (Yoma 26a). Nevertheless, the High Priest had the option of offering it whenever he desired.

35.

This applies even if he did not offer the sacrifice himself.

36.

Generally, the sacrifices are divided equally into portions for all the priests. The High Priest, however, could claim any sacrifice or portion of a sacrifice (see Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 10:18).

37.

As the other priests are (see Hilchot Temidim UMusafim, ch. 4).

38.

E.g., terumah and challah..

39.

In addition to the head, he would carry the right leg of the animal (Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 6:11).

40.

A person bringing a sacrifice would lean on the sacrifice as the Rambam mentions in the following halachah and describes in ibid. 3:6-16. This ritual is called semichah.

41.

For the limbs would have to be tossed to the fire (ibid. 6:4).

42.

I.e., when he reaches the age of thirteen and manifests signs of physical maturity.

43.

For he is obligated - and thus entitled to - perform all the mitzvot including the service in the Temple.

44.

At which time, he can be expected to be more mature and less likely to commit an error that would disqualify a sacrifice.

45.

The Ra'avad differs and maintains that the passage from Arachin 13b which is the Rambam's source is speaking about a Levite and not a priest. The Radbaz agrees that the Ra'avad's view appears more likely from the context, but since the passage speaks about avodah - a term which usually refers to the service of offering the sacrifices - there is room for the Rambam's understanding.

46.

By mentioning Aaron, the verse indicates that this offering is brought by a High Priest. By mentioning his descendants, it indicates that it is also brought by an ordinary priest.

47.

See Hilchot Temidim UMusafim 3:18 and onward.

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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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