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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 6

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Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 6

1

It is impossible for the sacrifice of a person to be offered without him standing in attendance. [Now,] the communal offerings are the sacrifices of the entire Jewish people, but it is impossible for the entire Jewish people to stand in the Temple Courtyard at the time they are being offered. Therefore, the prophets of the first era1 ordained that there be selective upright and sin-fearing Jews who should serve as the agents of the entire Jewish people2 to stand [and observe the offering of] the sacrifices. They were called "the men of the maamad."3

They divided them into 24 ma'amadot, equaling the number of watches of the priests and Levites. Over each of the watches was one who was appointed as [the supervisor] of them all. He was called the head of the ma'amad.

א

אִי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיִּהְיֶה קָרְבָּנוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם קָרֵב וְהוּא אֵינוֹ עוֹמֵד עַל גַּבָּיו. וְקָרְבְּנוֹת הַצִּבּוּר הֵן קָרְבָּן שֶׁל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאִי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיִּהְיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל כֻּלָּן עוֹמְדִין בָּעֲזָרָה בִּשְׁעַת קָרְבָּן. לְפִיכָךְ תִּקְּנוּ נְבִיאִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים שֶׁיִּבְרְרוּ מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל כְּשֵׁרִים וִירֵאֵי חֵטְא וְיִהְיוּ שְׁלוּחֵי כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל לַעֲמֹד עַל הַקָּרְבָּנוֹת וְהֵם הַנִּקְרָאִים אַנְשֵׁי מַעֲמָד. וְחִלְּקוּ אוֹתָם כ''ד מַעֲמָדוֹת כְּמִנְיַן מִשְׁמְרוֹת כְּהֻנָּה וּלְוִיָּה. וְעַל כָּל מַעֲמָד וּמַעֲמָד אֶחָד מֵהֶן מְמֻנֶּה עַל כֻּלָּם וְהוּא נִקְרָא רֹאשׁ הַמַּעֲמָד:

2

Each week, the members of the ma'amad of that week would gather together. Those [living] in Jerusalem or close to it would enter the Temple with the priestly and Levitical watch of that week. When [the week of] their ma'amad arrived, those members of the ma'amad who [lived] in distant places would gather in the synagogues of their locale.

ב

בְּכָל שַׁבָּת וְשַׁבָּת מִתְקַבְּצִין אַנְשֵׁי מַעֲמָד שֶׁל אוֹתָהּ שַׁבָּת. מִי שֶׁהָיָה מֵהֶן בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם אוֹ קָרוֹב לָהּ נִכְנָסִין לַמִּקְדָּשׁ עִם מִשְׁמַר כְּהֻנָּה וּלְוִיָּה שֶׁל אוֹתָהּ שַׁבָּת. וְהָרְחוֹקִים שֶׁבְּאוֹתוֹ מַעֲמָד כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִגִּיעַ מַעֲמָד שֶׁלָּהֶן הֵן מִתְקַבְּצִין לְבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת שֶׁבִּמְקוֹמָן:

3

What would those who gather together - both in Jerusalem and in the synagogues - do? They would fast on the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of their week. They would not fast on Friday out of respect for the Sabbath4 and not on Sunday, so they would not make a transition from the pleasure of the Sabbath to a fast.5

ג

וּמַה הֵן עוֹשִׂין אֵלּוּ הַמִּתְקַבְּצִין בֵּין בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם בֵּין בְּבָתֵּי כְּנֵסִיּוֹת. מִתְעַנִּין בְּשֵׁנִי בַּשַּׁבָּת שֶׁלָּהֶן. וּבִשְׁלִישִׁי וּבִרְבִיעִי וּבַחֲמִישִׁי. אֲבָל בְּעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת לֹא הָיוּ מִתְעַנִּין מִפְּנֵי כְּבוֹד שַׁבָּת וּבְאֶחָד בְּשַׁבָּת אֵינָם מִתְעַנִּים כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יֵצְאוּ מֵעֹנֶג שַׁבָּת לְצוֹם:

4

On every day of the week that was their ma'amad, they would recite four prayer services: the morning service, the afternoon service, the neilah service,6 and another prayer service between the morning service and the afternoon service which was additional [and unique] for them.7 In the ma'amad, the priests bless the people three times, in the morning service, in this additional service, and in the neilah service.8

They would have three men read from the Torah twice a day: in the morning service and in the second service that they would add.9 In the afternoon service, they would not read the Torah. Instead, they would recite [the passages] by heart as one recites the Shema. They would not gather for the afternoon service on Friday, for they were busy [with their preparations] for the Sabbath.

ד

וּבְכָל יוֹם וְיוֹם מִשַּׁבָּת שֶׁהָיָה מַעֲמָדָן מִתְפַּלְּלִין אַרְבַּע תְּפִלּוֹת שַׁחֲרִית וּמִנְחָה וּנְעִילָה וְעוֹד מוֹסִיפִין תְּפִלָּה אַחֶרֶת בֵּין שַׁחֲרִית וּמִנְחָה וְהִיא יְתֵרָה לָהֶן. וְנוֹשְׂאִין כַּפֵּיהֶן הַכֹּהֲנִים בַּמַעֲמָד שָׁלֹשׁ פְּעָמִים בְּכָל יוֹם בְּשַׁחֲרִית וּבַתְּפִלָּה זוֹ הַיְתֵרָה וּבִנְעִילָה. וְקוֹרִין בְּסֵפֶר תּוֹרָה שְׁלֹשָׁה אֲנָשִׁים שְׁתֵּי פְּעָמִים בְּכָל יוֹם בְּשַׁחֲרִית וּבַתְּפִלָּה הַשְּׁנִיָּה שֶׁמּוֹסִיפִין אֲבָל בְּמִנְחָה לֹא הָיוּ קוֹרִין בְּסֵפֶר תּוֹרָה אֶלָּא עַל פֶּה כְּקוֹרְאִין אֶת שְׁמַע. וְלֹא הָיוּ מִתְקַבְּצִין לִתְפִלַּת מִנְחָה בְּעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן טְרוּדִין לְשַׁבָּת:

5

Their gathering together for each of these prayers of these four services and their standing in prayer, supplication, and petition and reading the Torah is called a ma'amad.

ה

וְקִבּוּצָן לְכָל תְּפִלָּה מֵאַרְבַּע תְּפִלּוֹת אֵלּוּ וַעֲמִידָתָן שָׁם לִתְפִלָּה וְלִתְחִנָּה וּלְבַקָּשָׁה וְלִקְרוֹת בַּתּוֹרָה נִקְרָא מַעֲמָד:

6

What would they read [from the Torah]? The narrative of creation.10 On the first day, they would read: "In the beginning," "Let there be a firmament;"11 On the second day, "Let there be a firmament" and "Let [the waters] be gathered;" on the third day, "Let [the waters] be gathered" and "Let there be luminaries;" on the fourth day, "Let there be luminaries" and "Let the waters teem;" on the fifth day, "Let the waters teem" and "Let the earth produce;" on the sixth day, "Let the earth produce" and "[The heavens and the earth] were completed."

ו

וּבַמֶּה הָיוּ קוֹרְאִין בְּמַעֲשֵׂה בְּרֵאשִׁית. בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן קוֹרְאִין בְּרֵאשִׁית וִיהִי רָקִיעַ. בַּשֵּׁנִי יְהִי רָקִיעַ וְיִקָּווּ. בִּשְׁלִישִׁי יִקָּווּ וִיהִי מְאֹרֹת. בִּרְבִיעִי (בראשית א יד) "יְהִי מְאֹרֹת" (בראשית א כ) "וְיִשְׁרְצוּ". בַּחֲמִישִׁי יִשְׁרְצוּ (בראשית א כד) "וְתוֹצֵא הָאָרֶץ". בְּשִׁשִּׁי תּוֹצֵא הָאָרֶץ (בראשית ב א) "וַיְכֻלּוּ":

7

A large passage12 would be read by two men, a small passage, by one. The two passages that were read in the morning would be read during this second service from a scroll. They would then be read again during the afternoon service by heart.

ז

פָּרָשָׁה גְּדוֹלָה קוֹרְאִין אוֹתָהּ בִּשְׁנַיִם וּקְטַנָּה קוֹרֵא אוֹתָהּ אֶחָד. וּשְׁתֵּי פָּרָשִׁיּוֹת שֶׁקּוֹרְאִין שַׁחֲרִית הֵם שֶׁחוֹזְרִין וְקוֹרִין אוֹתָן בִּתְפִלָּה הַשְּׁנִיָּה בַּסֵּפֶר. וְחוֹזְרִין וְקוֹרְאִין אוֹתָן בַּמִּנְחָה עַל פֶּה:

8

During the eight days of Chanukah, the men of the ma'amad would not carry out a ma'amad13 in the morning service.14 On any day when there was a Musaf sacrifice,15 there was not a ma'amad during their second service, nor in the afternoon service,16 only during the morning and neilah services. On any day when there was a sacrifice of wood,17 there was not a ma'amad during the neilah service, only during the morning, second, and afternoon services.

ח

שְׁמוֹנַת יְמֵי חֲנֻכָּה לֹא הָיוּ אַנְשֵׁי מַעֲמָד עוֹשִׂין מַעֲמָד בְּשַׁחֲרִית. וְכָל יוֹם שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ קָרְבַּן מוּסָף לֹא הָיָה בּוֹ מַעֲמָד לֹא בִּתְפִלָּה שְׁנִיָּה שֶׁלָּהֶם וְלֹא בַּמִּנְחָה. אֶלָּא בְּשַׁחֲרִית וּבִנְעִילָה בִּלְבַד. וְכָל יוֹם שֶׁהָיָה בּוֹ קָרְבַּן הָעֵצִים לֹא הָיָה בּוֹ מַעֲמָד בִּנְעִילָה אֶלָּא בְּשַׁחֲרִית וּבִתְפִלָּה שְׁנִיָּה וּבְמִנְחָה:

9

What was a sacrifice of wood? Certain families had a fixed time on which they would go out to the forests and bring wood for the arrangement [on the altar].18 On the day designated for this family to bring their sacrifices, they would bring voluntary burnt offerings. This was called the sacrifice of the wood. It was like a festival for these families and they were forbidden to have eulogies delivered, fast, and perform work on that day. This was a custom.

ט

וּמַהוּ קָרְבַּן הָעֵצִים. זְמַן קָבוּעַ הָיָה לְמִשְׁפָּחוֹת מִשְׁפָּחוֹת לָצֵאת לַיְעָרִים לְהָבִיא עֵצִים לַמַּעֲרָכָה. וְיוֹם שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ לִבְנֵי מִשְׁפָּחָה זוֹ לְהָבִיא הָעֵצִים הָיוּ מַקְרִיבִין עוֹלוֹת נְדָבָה וְזֶהוּ קָרְבַּן הָעֵצִים וְהָיָה לָהֶם כְּמוֹ יוֹם טוֹב. וַאֲסוּרִין בּוֹ בְּהֶסְפֵּד וּבְתַעֲנִית וּבַעֲשִׂיַּת מְלָאכָה וְדָבָר זֶה מִנְהָג:

10

Even a private individual who gave wood or logs for the arrangement [of the altar]19 is forbidden to have eulogies delivered, fast, and perform work on that day. This was a custom.

י

אֲפִלּוּ יָחִיד שֶׁהִתְנַדֵּב עֵצִים אוֹ גְּזָרִים בַּמַּעֲרָכָה אָסוּר בְּאוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם בְּהֶסְפֵּד וּבְתַעֲנִית וּבַעֲשִׂיַּת מְלָאכָה וְדָבָר זֶה מִנְהָג:

11

The men of the ma'amad are forbidden to have their hair cut and to launder [their clothes] throughout the week [they serve in the Temple]. On Thursday,20 they were permitted in honor of the Sabbath. Why were they forbidden to have their hair cut and to launder [their clothes]? So that they would not enter their ma'amad while they were unkept. Instead, they would have their hair cut and launder [their clothes] beforehand.21

יא

אַנְשֵׁי מַעֲמָד אֲסוּרִין מִלְּסַפֵּר וּמִלְּכַבֵּס כָּל שַׁבָּת שֶׁלָּהֶן. וּבַחֲמִישִׁי מֻתָּרִין מִפְּנֵי כְּבוֹד הַשַּׁבָּת. וּמִפְּנֵי מָה אָסְרוּ עֲלֵיהֶם לְסַפֵּר וּלְכַבֵּס כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִכָּנְסוּ לְמַעֲמָדָם כְּשֶׁהֵם מְנֻוָּלִין. אֶלָּא יְסַפְּרוּ וִיכַבְּסוּ מִקֹּדֶם:

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Footnotes
1.

Samuel and David (Ta'anit 27a).

2.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Ta'anit 4:2), the Rambam writes: " Their intent and their goal was involvement in Divine service and prayer. They were not occupied with their own concerns. Their minds and their thought were on the sacrifices."

3.

Ma'amad literally means "standing," because they would stand over the sacrifice or stand in prayer, as stated in Halachah 5. The term also has the connotation of "status" and "dignified position."

4.

So that they would have the energy to make their Sabbath preparations.

5.

This would weaken them exceedingly (ibid.).

6.

Neilah means "closing." Hilchot Tefilah 1:7 states that the Men of the Great Assembly ordained "a prayer after the afternoon service [to be recited] close to sunset on fast days only to increase supplication and pleading due to the fast. This is called the neilah service, as if to say the gates of heaven are being closed." Since the men of the ma'amad were observing an ordained fast, they would recite this service as well.

7.

The Ra'avad differs and maintains that there was not an extra service ordained especially for the men of the ma'amad. If the Mishnah spoke of Musaf, the additional service, in this context, the intent was a day like Rosh Chodesh when Musaf would be recited by the entire Jewish people.

The Radbaz supports the Rambam's opinion, explaining that during this prayer service they would pray that the sacrifices be accepted and that Jews in situations of danger be saved.

8.

They would not bless the people in the afternoon service, because generally, it was suspected that a priest might be intoxicated in the afternoon and it is improper to bless the people in such a state. Hence, our Sages forbade the recitation of the priestly blessing in the afternoon service at all times. They allowed it to be recited in the Neilah service, because the neilah service is only recited on a fast day. In later generations, it became customary to recite the priestly blessing (or in the Ashkenazic community, the passage Eloheinu V'Elohei Avoseinu) in the afternoon service, because at present, it is customary to recite the afternoon service late on a fast day. Hence, it resembles the neilah service and will not be confused with an ordinary afternoon service. See the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Taanit 4:1), Hilchot Nesiat Kapayim 14:1-2.

9.

The Ra'avad differs here as well and states that there is no extra service and, hence, no extra Torah reading, except on a day when Musaf is recited.

10.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (loc. cit.:2), the Rambam explains that this subject was chosen, because the ultimate fulfillment of existence is the service of sacrificial worship, as implied by Ta'anit 27b: "Were it not for the sacrifices, the heavens and the earth would not be maintained."

11.

On each day, they would read the passage associated with that and the following day of creation.

12.

I.e., three aliyot were given out for each reading. If the passage was large - i.e., it contained eight verses - two aliyot were given in it and the third aliyah was given for the second passage that accompanied it.

13.

I.e., read from the Torah or recite the readings by heart [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (loc. cit.:4)].

14.

Since they would recite the Hallel prayers that day. As Taanit 4:4 states: Whenever Hallel was recited [and the Musaf service was not recited (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah)], there was no ma'amad. The rationale is that since the recitation of Hallel took time, no further obligations were imposed on the men of the ma'amad.

15.

I.e., on the intermediate days of the festivals and on Rosh Chodesh.

16.

For they were occupied with the sacrifice of the Musaf service.

17.

See the following halachah.

18.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (loc. cit.:5), the Rambam refers to Nechemiah 10:35 which speaks of casting lots for the wood offering. Implied is that different families were allotted the responsibility for bringing wood for the altar and were given different days to bring that wood. On that day, in addition to the wood, they would bring other sacrifices, as the Rambam continues to explain.

19.

For bringing wood is considered equivalent to bringing a sacrifice and the day on which a person brings a sacrifice is considered as his private festival.

20.

And certainly on Friday (Rambam LeAm).

21.

See Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 1:17,12.

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