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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Temidin uMusafim - Chapter 5

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Temidin uMusafim - Chapter 5

1

It is a positive commandment to arrange the showbread on the [golden] table before God in the Sanctuary,1 as [Leviticus 24:5] states: "On the Sabbath day, on the Sabbath day, the priest shall arrange it."

א

מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לְסַדֵּר לֶחֶם הַפָּנִים בְּכָל יוֹם שַׁבָּת עַל הַשֻּׁלְחָן לִפְנֵי ה' בַּהֵיכָל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כד ח) "בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת יַעֲרִיכֶנּוּ" הַכֹּהֵן וְגוֹ':

2

It is clearly evident from the Torah that there were twelve loaves. Each loaf required two esronim [of flour]. [The loaves] were arranged in two sets, six loaves in each set, one loaf on the other. There were three rods2 of gold placed between the loaves so that the wind could blow through them.3 Each set was supported by two side-frames. At the side of each set,4 there is placed a vessel containing a handful of frankincense, as [ibid.:7] states: "And you shall place pure frankincense next to5 the arrangement." This vessel is called a bezech (dish).6 Thus there were two handfuls of frankincense in two dishes. These dishes had flat bases so that they could be placed on the table.

ב

וְדָבָר בָּרוּר בַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁהוּא שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה חַלּוֹת כָּל חַלָּה שְׁנֵי עֶשְׂרוֹנִים. וְעוֹרְכִין אוֹתוֹ שְׁנֵי סְדָרִים. שֵׁשׁ חַלּוֹת בְּכָל סֵדֶר. חַלָּה עַל גַּבֵּי חַלָּה וּבֵין כָּל שְׁתֵּי חַלּוֹת שְׁלֹשָׁה קָנִים שֶׁל זָהָב כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּהְיֶה הָרוּחַ מְנַשֶּׁבֶת בּוֹ. וְסוֹמֵךְ כָּל מַעֲרָכָה בִּשְׁתֵּי קְשָׂווֹת. וְנוֹתְנִין בְּצַד כָּל מַעֲרָכָה כְּלִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ קֹמֶץ לְבוֹנָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כד ז) "וְנָתַתָּה עַל הַמַּעֲרֶכֶת לְבֹנָה זַכָּה". וּכְלִי זֶה הוּא הַנִּקְרָא בָּזָךְ. נִמְצְאוּ שְׁנֵי קֻמְצֵי לְבוֹנָה בִּשְׁנֵי הַבְּזִיכִין. וְשׁוּלַיִם הָיוּ לַבְּזִיכִין כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּנִּיחוּם עַל הַשֻּׁלְחָן:

3

The two sets of showbread are fundamental necessities for each other.7 [Similarly,] the two dishes [of frankincense] are fundamental necessities for each other and the sets and the dishes are necessities for each other.8 The [golden] table should not be dedicated except by placing the showbread on it on the Sabbath.9

From one Sabbath to another, the bread that was placed on the table on the previous Sabbath is removed and new bread is arranged there. The bread that is removed is the bread that is divided between the two watches - that which enters and that which departs10 - and the High Priest11 and they partake of it.12

ג

שְׁנֵי הַסְּדָרִים מְעַכְּבִין זֶה אֶת זֶה. וּשְׁנֵי הַבְּזִיכִין מְעַכְּבִין זֶה אֶת זֶה. וְהַסְּדָרִין וְהַבְּזִיכִין מְעַכְּבִין זֶה אֶת זֶה. וְאֵין מְחַנְּכִין אֶת הַשֻּׁלְחָן אֶלָּא בְּלֶחֶם הַפָּנִים בְּשַׁבָּת. מִיּוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת לְיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת מוֹצִיאִין אֶת הַלֶּחֶם שֶׁהוּא שָׁם עַל הַשֻּׁלְחָן מִשַּׁבָּת שֶׁעָבְרָה וּמְסַדְּרִין לֶחֶם אַחֵר. וְזֶה שֶׁמּוֹצִיאִין הוּא שֶׁחוֹלְקִין שְׁתֵּי הַמִּשְׁמָרוֹת הַנִּכְנֶסֶת וְהַיּוֹצֵאת עִם כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל וְאוֹכְלִין אוֹתוֹ:

4

How are the sets of the showbread arranged? Four priests enter [the Sanctuary], two are holding the two sets13 [of bread]14 and two, the two dishes [of frankincense]. Four priests enter before them to remove the two sets of bread and the two dishes [of frankincense] that were on the table. The priests that enter15 stand in the north,16 facing the south and those that depart17 stand in the south, facing the north. These remove [the showbread from the previous week] and these place down [the new breads]. One should be within a handbreadth of another,18 for [Exodus 25:30] states: "[You shall place showbread] before Me continually."19

ד

וְכֵיצַד מְסַדְּרִין אֶת הַלֶּחֶם. אַרְבָּעָה כֹּהֲנִים נִכְנָסִים. שְׁנַיִם בְּיָדָן שְׁנֵי סְדָרִין. וּשְׁנַיִם בְּיָדָם שְׁנֵי בְּזִיכִין. וְאַרְבָּעָה מַקְדִּימִין לִפְנֵיהֶם שְׁנַיִם לִטֹּל שְׁנֵי סְדָרִים וּשְׁנַיִם לִטֹּל שְׁנֵי בְּזִיכִין שֶׁהָיוּ שָׁם עַל הַשֻּׁלְחָן. הַנִּכְנָסִין עוֹמְדִין בַּצָּפוֹן וּפְנֵיהֶם לַדָּרוֹם. וְהַיּוֹצְאִין עוֹמְדִים בַּדָּרוֹם וּפְנֵיהֶם לַצָּפוֹן. אֵלּוּ מוֹשְׁכִין וְאֵלּוּ מַנִּיחִין וְטִפְחוֹ שֶׁל זֶה בְּתוֹךְ טִפְחוֹ שֶׁל זֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כה ל) "לְפָנַי תָּמִיד":

5

When they departed, they would place the bread on a second golden table that would be placed in the Entrance Hall.20 They would offer [the incense in] the dishes on the pyre21 and afterwards, the breads were divided. If Yom Kippur fell on the Sabbath, [the breads] are divided in the evening.22

ה

יָצְאוּ וְנָתְנוּ אֶת הַלֶּחֶם שֶׁהוֹצִיאוּ עַל שֻׁלְחַן זָהָב אַחַר שֶׁהָיָה בָּאוּלָם וְהִקְטִירוּ הַבְּזִיכִין. וְאַחַר כָּךְ מְחַלְּקִין הַחַלּוֹת. וְאִם חָל יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים לִהְיוֹת בְּשַׁבָּת הַחַלּוֹת מִתְחַלְּקוֹת לָעֶרֶב:

6

How is the showbread prepared? 24 se'ah23 of wheat that is fit [to be made into flour] for meal-offerings are brought.24 [The kernels] are struck25 and tread upon26 like the other kernels of wheat for the meal offerings.27 They are then ground and sifted with eleven sifters to produce 24 esronim of fine flour.28 Twelve loaves of unleavened bread are made from it.

If one did not sift [the flour] with eleven sifters or did not use 24 se'ah of grain to produce the flour, [the loaves] are acceptable, since fine flour was produced regardless. These measures were mentioned only as [the optimum manner] for the mitzvah.

ו

כֵּיצַד מַעֲשֵׂה לֶחֶם הַפָּנִים. מֵבִיא אַרְבַּע וְעֶשְׂרִים סְאִים חִטִּים הָרְאוּיִין לִמְנָחוֹת. וְשָׁפִין אוֹתָם וּבוֹעֲטִין בָּהֶן כִּשְׁאָר חִטֵּי מְנָחוֹת. וְטוֹחֲנִין אוֹתָן וּמְנַפִּין מֵהֶן בְּאַחַת עֶשְׂרֵה נָפָה אַרְבָּעָה וְעֶשְׂרִים עִשָּׂרוֹן סלֶת. וְעוֹשִׂין מֵהֶם שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה חַלּוֹת מַצּוֹת. לֹא נִפָּה אוֹתָם בְּאַחַת עֶשְׂרֵה נָפָה אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא הוֹצִיאָן מֵעֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבַּע סְאִים הוֹאִיל וְנַעֲשׂוּ סלֶת מִכָּל מָקוֹם כְּשֵׁרוֹת. לֹא נֶאֶמְרוּ הַשִּׁעוּרִין הָאֵלּוּ אֶלָּא לְמִצְוָה:

7

The kneading and the fashioning [of the loaves] was performed outside [the Temple Courtyard, but] they are baked in the Courtyard29 like the other meal-offerings.30 They should be kneaded one by one31 and baked two by two.

ז

לִישָׁתָן וַעֲרִיכָתָן בַּחוּץ וַאֲפִיָּתָן בִּפְנִים בָּעֲזָרָה כִּשְׁאָר הַמְּנָחוֹת. וְלָשִׁין אוֹתָן אַחַת אַחַת. וְאוֹפִין אוֹתָן שְׁתַּיִם שְׁתַּיִם:

8

They had three molds of gold for them:32 one in which the loaf was placed while it was dough, the second in which it was baked,33 and the third in which it was placed when it was removed from the oven so that its [form] would not be impaired.34

ח

וּשְׁלֹשָׁה דְּפוּסִין שֶׁל זָהָב הָיוּ לָהֶם. אֶחָד שֶׁנּוֹתְנִין בּוֹ הַחַלָּה וְהִיא בָּצֵק. וְהַשֵּׁנִי שֶׁאוֹפִין אוֹתָהּ בּוֹ. וְהַשְּׁלִישִׁי שֶׁנּוֹתְנִין אוֹתָהּ בּוֹ כְּשֶׁרוֹדֶה אוֹתָהּ מִן הַתַּנּוּר כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא תִּתְקַלְקֵל:

9

All of these loaves were rectangular, as [Exodus 35:13] states: Lechem Hapanim, [literally,] "the bread of faces," i.e., it had many surfaces.35 The length of each loaf was ten handbreadths,36 its width, five handbreadths, and its height, seven fingerbreadths.37 The length of the table was twelve handbreadths and its width, six handbreadths. [The priest] should place the length of the loaf across the width of the table. Thus the loaf would extend an extra two handbreadths at either side. He should fold up the portions that extend [beyond the table] on either side,38 leaving space in the middle [of the loaf] between the two ends.39 Similarly, he should place one loaf on another loaf until he arranged six loaves. Similarly, on the other side, he should make a second arrangement of six loaves.

ט

כָּל חַלָּה מֵהֶן מְרֻבָּעַת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כה ל) "לֶחֶם הַפָּנִים" שֶׁיִּהְיוּ לוֹ פָּנִים רַבִּים. אֹרֶךְ כָּל חַלָּה מֵהֶן עֲשָׂרָה טְפָחִים. וְרָחְבָּהּ חֲמִשָּׁה טְפָחִים. וְרוּמָהּ שֶׁבַע אֶצְבָּעוֹת. וְהַשֻּׁלְחָן אָרְכּוֹ שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר טֶפַח וְרָחְבּוֹ שִׁשָּׁה טְפָחִים. נוֹתֵן אֹרֶךְ הַחַלָּה עַל רֹחַב הַשֻּׁלְחָן נִמְצֵאת הַחַלָּה יוֹצֵאת שְׁנֵי טְפָחִים מִכָּאן וּשְׁנֵי טְפָחִים מִכָּאן. וְכוֹפֵל אֶת הַיּוֹצֵא מִכָּאן וּמִכָּאן וְיִשָּׁאֵר בֵּין שְׁנֵי הַקְּצָווֹת רֶוַח בָּאֶמְצַע. וְכֵן מַנִּיחַ חַלָּה עַל גַּבֵּי חַלָּה עַד שֶׁעוֹרֵךְ שֵׁשׁ חַלּוֹת. וְכֵן עוֹשֶׂה בְּצַד הַמַּעֲרָכָה שְׁנִיָּה שֵׁשׁ חַלּוֹת:

10

The baking of the showbread does not supersede [the prohibitions of forbidden labor]40 on the Sabbath and festivals.41 Instead, on Friday, it was baked42 and it was arranged on the following day. If the two days of Rosh HaShanah fell on Thursday and Friday,43 it would be baked on Wednesday.

י

אֵין אֲפִיַּת לֶחֶם הַפָּנִים דּוֹחָה אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת וְלֹא אֶת יוֹם טוֹב. אֶלָּא בְּעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת אוֹפִין אוֹתָן וְעוֹרְכִין אוֹתָן לְמָחָר. וְאִם חָלוּ שְׁנֵי יָמִים טוֹבִים שֶׁל רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה לִהְיוֹת בַּחֲמִישִׁי וּבְעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת אוֹפִין אוֹתָן מִיּוֹם רְבִיעִי:

11

Neither the arrangement of the rods [between the breads], nor their removal supersedes the Sabbath prohibitions.44 Instead, on Friday, [a priest] would enter, remove them, and place them along the table's length. And on Sunday, [another priest] would enter and insert them between the loaves.

יא

לֹא סִדּוּר הַקָּנִים וְלֹא נְטִילָתָן דּוֹחֶה אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת. אֶלָּא מֵעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת נִכְנָס וְשׁוֹמְטָן וְנוֹתְנָן לְאֹרֶךְ הַשֻּׁלְחָן. וּבְאֶחָד בְּשַׁבָּת נִכְנָס וּמַכְנִיס אֶת הַקָּנִים בֵּין הַחַלּוֹת:

12

If one arranged the bread as commanded, but did not place with it the bowls of frankincense until the next day45 and on the following Sabbath he offered [the contents of] the bowls [of frankincense] on the pyres,46 the bread is disqualified47 and is not sanctified.48 Similarly, if he arranged the bread and the bowls on Sunday and offered [the contents of] the bowls on the pyre after the following Sabbath, the bread is not sanctified and is disqualified.49 If he offered [the contents of] the bowls on the pyre on the Sabbath, the bread is not disqualified.50

יב

סִדֵּר הַלֶּחֶם בְּשַׁבָּת כְּמִצְוָתוֹ וְלֹא הִנִּיחַ עִמּוֹ בְּזִיכֵי לְבוֹנָה עַד לְמָחָר וּלְשַׁבָּת הַבָּאָה הִקְטִיר הַבְּזִיכִין נִפְסַל הַלֶּחֶם וְאֵינוֹ קָדוֹשׁ. וְכֵן אִם סִדֵּר הַלֶּחֶם וְהַבְּזִיכִין בְּאֶחָד בְּשַׁבָּת וְהִקְטִיר הַבְּזִיכִין לְאַחַר שַׁבָּת הַבָּאָה הַלֶּחֶם אֵינוֹ קָדוֹשׁ וְנִפְסָל. אֲבָל אִם הִקְטִיר הַבְּזִיכִין בְּשַׁבָּת [לֹא] נִפְסַל הַלֶּחֶם:

13

What should be done with the bread and the bowls [of frankincense] that were arranged after the Sabbath? They should be left on the table until the Sabbath day passes while they are arranged.51 Afterwards, he should offer [the contents of] the bowls [of frankincense] on the Sabbath that followed the Sabbath that passed after they were arranged. [This does not present a difficulty,] because even if the showbread and the bowls [of frankincense] were on the table for several weeks, this does not present a problem.

יג

כֵּיצַד יַעֲשֶׂה בְּלֶחֶם וּבְזִיכִין שֶׁסִּדְּרָן לְאַחַר הַשַּׁבָּת. יַנִּיחֵם שָׁם עַל הַשֻּׁלְחָן עַד שֶׁיַּעֲבֹר עֲלֵיהֶן יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת וְהֵן מְסֻדָּרִין. וְאַחַר כָּךְ יַקְטִיר הַבְּזִיכִין לְשַׁבָּת הַבָּאָה אַחַר הַשַּׁבָּת שֶׁעָבְרָה עֲלֵיהֶן וְהֵן מְסֻדָּרִין. שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ נִשְׁאַר הַלֶּחֶם עִם הַבְּזִיכִין עַל הַשֻּׁלְחָן כַּמָּה שַׁבָּתוֹת אֵין בְּכָךְ כְּלוּם:

14

If one arranged the bread and the bowls [of frankincense] on the Sabbath as required52 and offered [the contents of] the bowls [of frankincense] after the Sabbath53- whether after this Sabbath or the following Sabbath - the bread is disqualified.54 Its status is that of sacred articles that have been disqualified in which instance the prohibitions of notar, piggul and consuming the bread in a state of ritual impurity55 apply, as will be explained.56

יד

סִדֵּר אֶת הַלֶּחֶם וְאֶת הַבְּזִיכִין בְּשַׁבָּת כְּמִצְוָתָן וְהִקְטִיר אֶת הַבְּזִיכִין לְאַחַר הַשַּׁבָּת בֵּין לְאַחַר שַׁבָּת זוֹ בֵּין לְאַחַר שַׁבָּת אַחֶרֶת הַבָּאָה נִפְסַל הַלֶּחֶם. וַהֲרֵי הוּא כְּקָדָשִׁים שֶׁנִּפְסְלוּ שֶׁחַיָּבִין עֲלֵיהֶן מִשּׁוּם פִּגּוּל וְנוֹתַר וְטָמֵא כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר:

15

[The following rules apply if] one of the loaves became broken. If it was broken before the bread was removed from the table, the bread is disqualified,57 and the [the contents of] the bowls [of frankincense] should not be offered on the pyre because of it.58 If it was broken after the bread was removed, the bread is disqualified,59 but the [the contents of] the bowls should be offered.60

טו

נִפְרְסָה חַלָּה אַחַת מִן הַלֶּחֶם. אִם עַד שֶׁלֹּא הֵסִיר הַלֶּחֶם מֵעַל הַשֻּׁלְחָן נִפְרְסָה הַלֶּחֶם פָּסוּל וְאֵינוֹ מַקְטִיר עָלָיו אֶת הַבְּזִיכִין. וְאִם אַחַר שֶׁהֵסִיר הַלֶּחֶם נִפְרְסָה הַלֶּחֶם פָּסוּל וּמַקְטִיר עָלָיו אֶת הַבְּזִיכִין:

16

If the time to remove the bread61 arrived, it is as if the breads were removed. [Even] if a bread became broken, the [the contents of] the bowls should be offered although the arrangement [of the breads] has not been taken apart.

If one of the arrangements became impure - whether before [the frankincense] was offered or afterwards - or one of the bowls [of frankincense] became impure, the entities that are impure are impure and those that are pure are pure.62

טז

הִגִּיעַ זְמַן הַלֶּחֶם לַהֲסִירוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִי שֶׁהֱסִירוֹ. וְאִם נִפְרַס הַלֶּחֶם מַקְטִיר הַבְּזִיכִין וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא פֵּרֵק הַמַּעֲרָכָה. נִטְמָא אֶחָד מִן הַסְּדָרִין בֵּין לִפְנֵי הַקְטָרָה בֵּין לְאַחַר הַקְטָרָה אוֹ שֶׁנִּטְמָא אֶחָד מִן הַבְּזִיכִין. הַטָּמֵא בְּטֻמְאָתוֹ וְהַטָּהוֹר בְּטָהֳרָתוֹ:

Test Yourself on This Chapter

Footnotes
1.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 27) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 97) count this as one of the Torah's 613 mitzvot. Significantly, in his listing of the mitzvot at the beginning of the section, the Rambam defines the mitzvah as making the showbread. See also the notes of the Ra'avad to the Rambam's listing of the mitzvot at the beginning of the Mishneh Torah where he questions why placing the incense on the breads and partaking of the breads are not considered as separate mitzvot.

2.

See the description of the table and its utensils in Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 3:13-15.

3.

I.e., in this way, the loaves were lifted up so that air could pass through them. The rods were hollow for this purpose (Menachot 97a).

The commentaries note that there was an ongoing miracle with regard to the showbread and it remained fresh from week to week (Yoma 21b). Nevertheless, the Torah advises us to take this precaution, because one should not rely on a miracle.

4.

I.e., a space of two handbreadths was left in the center of the table for this purpose.

5.

The Kessef Mishneh states that although, generally, the word al is translated as "on," it can also mean "next to," as in the term elev, "Next to it" (Numbers 2:20).

6.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Menachot 2:2), the Rambam notes that bezech is Onkelos' translation of the Hebrew kaposav.

7.

I.e., if one had only one set, it should not be offered.

8.

Thus if there is anything lacking in either the breads or the frankincense, nothing should be offered.

9.

One should wait until the Sabbath, because the prooftext cited above states: "On the Sabbath day, on the Sabbath day, the priest shall arrange it."

10.

See Chapter 4, Halachot 12-13.

11.

See ibid. 14.

12.

In the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Menachot 2:2), he writes that the showbread may be eaten only on the Sabbath on which it was removed from the table. Nevertheless, when Yom Kippur falls on the Sabbath, they are eaten on Saturday night.

13.

From the Rambam's wording here, it appears that the breads were already folded over (as stated in Halachah 9) and placed one on top of the other. See also Halachah 11.

14.

Each holding one.

15.

I.e., who bring in the new showbread.

16.

The table itself was on the north side of the Sanctuary, extending lengthwise from east to west.

17.

I.e., who remove the showbread from the previous week.

18.

I.e., immediately after removing one, the other should be placed down.

19.

I.e., there should be no time when there is not bread on the table.

20.

See Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 3:16.

21.

On the outer altar. See Hilchot K'lei HaMikdash 2:11.

22.

For the obligation to partake of them does not supersede the mitzvah of fasting on Yom Kippur.

23.

The minimum size the contemporary authorities give for a se'ah is approximately 8.5 liter.

24.

See Hilchot Issurei Mizbeiach 7:4 with regard to the special stringencies taken with regard to the preparation of the grain for such offerings.

25.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Menachot 6:5) the Ramban interprets this as striking the wheat powerfully with one's hand so that the dust will be removed from them.

26.

Crushing them with his feet to crack the shells (ibid.).

27.

Which are struck 300 times and tread upon 500 times (Hilchot Issurei Mizbeiach, loc. cit.).

28.

This was of course a far smaller measure than the 24 se'ah. The remainder of the flour had to be redeemed and then it could be used for ordinary purposes. See Hilchot Bikkurim 6:3.

29.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Menachot 11:2), the Rambam writes that it is permitted to knead the loaves outside the Temple Courtyard, but that it is not permitted to bake them outside. He states that the rationale for this distinction was not mentioned in the Talmud.

30.

See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 12:21-23. The intent is that the other meal-offerings are baked in the Temple Courtyard. They are, however, also kneaded in the Temple Courtyard. See Kessef Mishneh.

31.

Menachot 94a derives this from the exegesis of Leviticus 24:5: "Each loaf will be two esronim." Implied is that each loaf is treated individually.

32.

This refers to the ka'arot mentioned in Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 3:14.

33.

Significantly, Rashi in his gloss to Exodus 25:29 states that the loaves were baked in iron molds.

34.

Since the loaves were thin, it is possible that their shape would be impaired.

35.

In his Commetary to the Mishnah (Menachot 11:4), the Rambam writes that each loaf had six surfaces: two on either side, one from the front and one from the bottom. This follows the opinion (Menachot 94b) that the showbread was like an open drawer. See the diagram accompanying Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 3:14.

36.

A handbreadth is 8 centimeters in contemporary measure according to Shiurei Torah.

37.

A fingerbreadth is 2 centimeters in contemporary measure according to Shiurei Torah.

38.

Rashi (Menachot 94a) states that the loaves were baked while folded over. When the breads folded over some of the dough would jut out. That dough was left there as support for the sides. Menachot 96a refers to these as karanot, "corners."

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Menachot 11:4), the Rambam writes that the height of the bread was four fingerbreadths. In order that there be no contradiction between those statements and the statements here, Minchat Yehudah suggests that the bread itself was four fingerbreadths high. Together with these karanot, the height was seven fingerbreadths. The Kessef Mishneh, however, suggests that the bread was much thinner.

39.

Hence producing the form "like an open drawer."

All of the above follows the popular conception of the form of the showbread as it is usually depicted and as is explained by the Ralbag quoted by the Kessef Mishneh. The Radbaz, however, maintains that this is not the Rambam's intent. Instead, the simple meaning of his words is that the breads were baked as elongated rectangles and folded over only when they were put on the table itself. The folds lay on top of the bread rather than standing perpendicular to it. This form could still be considered "as an open drawer," because of the space between the two folds.

40.

Baking is one of the labors forbidden on the Sabbath. Although the performance of the Temple service generally supersedes the Sabbath prohibitions, an exception is made in this instance, because the bread could be baked before the Sabbath and it would not spoil due to the passage of one day (Menachot 97a).

41.

Although it is permitted to bake on the festivals, that leniency is granted only with regard to bread to be eaten that day and the showbread would not be eaten until more than a week afterwards [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Menachot 11:9)].

42.

The commentaries question why the showbread was not disqualified even though it remained overnight on Friday, for any article that had been placed in a sacred utensil is disqualified if it remains overnight. Minchat Yehudah explains that just as the bread is not disqualified while it is left on the golden table on the altar, it is similarly not disqualified when it is left on the marble table in the Entrance Hall (see Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 3:16).

43.

We are speaking about the era when the Temple existed and then Rosh HaShanah was observed for only one day. Nevertheless, there was a possibility that there would be no witnesses who saw the new moon. In such a situation, the people would regard the 30th of Elul as holy regardless and not perform any work on it. If witnesses came, it was declared as Rosh HaShanah. If they would not come, the following day was declared as Rosh HaShanah, as explained in Hilchot Kiddush HaChodesh 5:8. Taking that possibility into mind, the priests would bake the showbread on Wednesday.

44.

Rashi (Menachot 97a) explains that by placing the rods between the breads, one looks like he is building. Tosafot explains that the problem is that the rods are muktzeh, articles forbidden to be moved on the Sabbath.

45.

Instead of placing them on the table together with the bread, as stated in Halachah 4.

46.

The key to the understanding of this and the following halachah is that for the breads to be acceptable, they and the frankincense must have been placed on the table before the conclusion of the Sabbath, remain there for an entire week, and thus be on the table from the beginning of the next Sabbath.

47.

Because the bread is not acceptable until the frankincense was offered properly and in this instance, it was not, because it was never on the table at the conclusion of the Sabbath.

The Radbaz (see also Rashi, Menachot 100a) explains that in this instance, it is not acceptable to leave the bread and the frankincense on the altar for another week, for the bread was arranged in the proper manner and hence, becomes disqualified if left on the table beyond the following Sabbath. In this instance, it is not possible to leave the bread on the table, because it was not arranged together with the frankincense (Radbaz to Halachah 14).

48.

Therefore the prohibitions of notar, piggul and consuming the bread in a state of ritual impurity are not relevant to it [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Menachot 11:8)].

49.

For the frankincense should be offered on the Sabbath. Since it was offered improperly, the bread is not consecrated.

50.

Our translation is based on authentic manuscripts and early printings of the Mishneh Torah. The standard published text has a different - and somewhat difficult to understand - version. See the glosses of the Kessef Mishneh and Lechem Mishneh which discuss this point. According to our version, the intent is that since the frankincense should not have been offered on this Sabbath (but on the next, as stated in the following halachah), the bread is disqualified.

51.

I.e., if they were placed on the table on Sunday, new showbread should not be prepared that week. Instead, the bread and the frankincense should be left on the table over the next Sabbath and should not be removed until the next Sabbath.

The Radbaz questions: Seemingly, since they were not arranged in the proper manner, the arrangement should be not be acceptable. He explains that since they were placed down properly, when the time comes, retroactively, their having been arranged is considered effective.

52.

They became sanctified, because they were arranged in the proper manner (Radbaz).

53.

I.e., during the week; thus doing so in an improper manner.

54.

Because the frankincense which enables it to be permitted to be eaten was offered in an improper manner.

55.

See Hilchot Pesulei HaMukdashim 17:1; 18:9-10, 13, for an explanation of these prohibitions.

56.

The Chazon Ish states that the text should be amended to read "is not liable for" and cites as support Hilchot Pesulei HaMukdashim 18:16 which states: "Whenever sacrificial food is permitted because [of the performance of] a particular act, one is not liable for the violation any of the prohibitions against partaking of piggul, notar, or impure sacrificial food unless the act which permits partaking of the food was performed according to law." This approach is not, however, accepted by all authorities.

57.

Menachot 12b derives this concept from the fact that, with regard to all twelve loaves, Leviticus 24:9 states: "It is of the most sacred order of holiness." By referring to all twelve loaves as a single collective, the Torah implies that they are granted this status only when they are all whole.

58.

Because that offering is made only when the breads are fit. The Radbaz explains that the situation is comparable to that of a meal offering whose substance was reduced before a handful of flour was offered on the altar. In such a situation, the entire offering is disqualified.

59.

And should not be eaten. See also Hilchot Pesulei HaMukdashim 12:4.

60.

Being on the table for the required time is sufficient to warrant that the breads be offered.

If the bread breaks after the frankincense is offered, it may be eaten, for all the mitzvot associated with it have been fulfilled (ibid.).

61.

The beginning of the seventh hour on the Sabbath afternoon.

62.

I.e., the frankincense should be offered and the priests should partake of the loaves.

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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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