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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Biat Hamikdash - Chapter 5, Biat Hamikdash - Chapter 6, Biat Hamikdash - Chapter 7

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Biat Hamikdash - Chapter 5

1

It is a positive commandment for a priest1 who serves [in the Temple] to sanctify his hands and feet2 and afterwards perform service,3 as [Exodus 30:19] states: "And Aaron and his sons will wash their hands and their feet from it." A priest who serves4 without having sanctified his hands and feet in the morning5is liable for death at the hand of heaven,6 as [ibid.:20] states: "They shall wash with water and not die." Their service - whether that of a High Priest or an ordinary priest - is invalid.

א

מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לְקַדֵּשׁ כֹּהֵן הָעוֹבֵד יָדָיו וְרַגְלָיו וְאַחַר כָּךְ יַעֲבֹד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות ל יט) "וְרָחֲצוּ אַהֲרֹן וּבָנָיו מִמֶּנּוּ אֶת יְדֵיהֶם וְאֶת רַגְלֵיהֶם". וְכֹהֵן שֶׁעָבַד וְלֹא קִדֵּשׁ יָדָיו וְרַגְלָיו שַׁחֲרִית חַיָּב מִיתָה בִּידֵי שָׁמַיִם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות ל כ) "יִרְחֲצוּ מַיִם וְלֹא יָמֻתוּ". וַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ פְּסוּלָה בֵּין כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל בֵּין כֹּהֵן הֶדְיוֹט:

2

Which source teaches that his service is invalid? [Ibid.:21] states: "It will be an eternal statute for him and his generations," and with regard to the Priestly garments [ibid. 25:43] also uses the expression: "An eternal statute."7 Just as [a priest] who is lacking the priestly garments invalidates his service, as we explained,8so, too, one who did not wash his hands invalidates his service.

ב

וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁעֲבוֹדָתוֹ פְּסוּלָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כח מג) "חֻקַּת עוֹלָם לוֹ וּלְזַרְעוֹ". וּבְבִגְדֵי כְּהֻנָּה הוּא אוֹמֵר חֻקַּת עוֹלָם. מָה מְחֻסַּר בְּגָדִים מְחַלֵּל עֲבוֹדָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. אַף מִי שֶׁלֹּא רָחַץ יָדָיו וְרַגְלָיו מְחַלֵּל עֲבוֹדָה:

3

A priest does not have to sanctify [himself] between every service [that he performs]. Instead, he consecrates [his hands and feet] once in the morning and may continue serving throughout the day and [the subsequent] night,9 provided he does not: a) depart from the Temple;10 b) sleep;11 c) urinate;12 or divert his attention [from his hands and feet]. If he does any of the above, he must sanctify his hands and feet again.

ג

אֵין הַכֹּהֵן צָרִיךְ לְקַדֵּשׁ בֵּין כָּל עֲבוֹדָה וַעֲבוֹדָה. אֶלָּא פַּעַם אַחַת מְקַדֵּשׁ בַּבֹּקֶר וְעוֹבֵד וְהוֹלֵךְ כָּל הַיּוֹם כֻּלּוֹ וְכָל הַלַּיְלָה. וְהוּא שֶׁלֹּא יֵצֵא מִן הַמִּקְדָּשׁ וְלֹא יִישַׁן וְלֹא יָטִיל מַיִם וְלֹא יַסִּיחַ דַּעְתּוֹ. וְאִם עָשָׂה אֶחָד מֵאַרְבַּעְתָּן צָרִיךְ לַחְזֹר וּלְקַדֵּשׁ:

4

If a priest departed from the Temple, returned and then performed service without sanctifying [his hands and feet], his service is acceptable13 if he did not divert his attention.14 This general principle was followed in the Temple: No person would enter the Temple Courtyard to perform service15 unless he immersed [in the mikveh] even though he was ritually pure.

ד

יָצָא מִן הַמִּקְדָּשׁ וְחָזַר וְעָבַד וְלֹא קִדֵּשׁ אִם לֹא הִסִּיחַ דַּעְתּוֹ עֲבוֹדָתוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה. וְזֶה הַכְּלָל הָיָה בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ אֵין אָדָם נִכְנָס לָעֲזָרָה לַעֲבוֹדָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא טָהוֹר עַד שֶׁהוּא טוֹבֵל:

5

Anyone who defecates must immerse himself [in a mikveh].16 Anyone who urinates must sanctify his hands and feet.

[The following rules apply when] one goes outside the walls of the Temple Courtyard. If he departed [with the intent of] staying outside for an extended time, he must immerse [in a mikveh].17 If [his intent] was to return immediately, when he returns, all that is necessary is that he sanctify his hands and feet. If he did not immerse, nor sanctified his hands and feet and carried out [sacrificial] service, his service is acceptable18 since he did not divert his attention, not did he defecate or urinate. If he merely placed his hands outside the Temple Courtyard, he is not required to sanctify them again.

ה

וְכָל הַמֵּסִיךְ אֶת רַגְלָיו טָעוּן טְבִילָה. וְכָל הַמֵּטִיל מַיִם טָעוּן קִדּוּשׁ יָדַיִם וְרַגְלַיִם. יָצָא חוּץ לְחוֹמַת הָעֲזָרָה אִם לִשְׁהוֹת בַּחוּץ יָצָא כְּשֶׁחוֹזֵר טָעוּן טְבִילָה וְאִם לַחְזֹר מִיָּד יָצָא] כְּשֶׁחוֹזֵר טָעוּן קִדּוּשׁ יָדַיִם וְרַגְלַיִם בִּלְבַד. וְאִם לֹא טָבַל וְלֹא קִדֵּשׁ וְעָבַד הוֹאִיל וְלֹא הִסִּיחַ דַּעְתּוֹ וְלֹא הִסִּיךְ רַגְלָיו וְלֹא הֵטִיל מַיִם עֲבוֹדָתוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה. הוֹצִיא יָדָיו חוּץ לְחוֹמַת הָעֲזָרָה אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לַחְזֹר וּלְקַדֵּשׁ:

6

If [only] a person's hands become ritually impure,19 he may immerse them and they are ritually pure. He need not sanctify them again.

If his body became impure because he partook of impure foods or drank impure beverages and immersed himself, even though he does not have to wait until nightfall [to become ritually pure],20 he must sanctify [his hands and feet] after immersing himself, for everyone who immerses himself must sanctify his hands and feet [before] serving. If he did not sanctify [his hands and feet], his service is not desecrated since he did not divert his attention.

ו

נִטְמְאוּ יָדָיו מַטְבִּילָן וְהֵן טְהוֹרוֹת. וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לַחְזֹר וּלְקַדֵּשׁ. נִטְמָא גּוּפוֹ בַּאֲכִילַת אֳכָלִין טְמֵאִין אוֹ שְׁתִיַּת מַשְׁקִין טְמֵאִין וְטָבַל אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ הַעֲרֵב שֶׁמֶשׁ חוֹזֵר וּמְקַדֵּשׁ אַחַר טְבִילָה. שֶׁכָּל טוֹבֵל מְקַדֵּשׁ יָדָיו וְרַגְלָיו וְאַחַר כָּךְ עוֹבֵד. וְאִם לֹא קִדֵּשׁ הוֹאִיל וְלֹא הִסִּיחַ דַּעְתּוֹ לֹא חִלֵּל:

7

When a High Priest does not immerse himself nor sanctify his hands and feet between his changes of clothes and between his different services on Yom Kippur21and [continues] serving, his service is acceptable.22 [The rationale is that] since those immersions and sanctifications are not applicable equally to Aaron and his sons,23 as [Exodus 30:19] states: "And Aaron and his sons will wash from it." Only an obligation that is equally applicable to all the priests is an indispensable obligation, i.e., the first sanctification of one's hands.

ז

כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁלֹּא טָבַל וְלֹא קִדֵּשׁ יָדָיו וְרַגְלָיו בֵּין בְּגָדִים לִבְגָדִים וּבֵין עֲבוֹדָה לַעֲבוֹדָה בְּיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים וְעָבַד עֲבוֹדָתוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה. הוֹאִיל וְאוֹתָן הַטְּבִילוֹת וְהַקִּדּוּשִׁין אֵינָן שָׁוִים בְּאַהֲרֹן וּבָנָיו וְנֶאֱמַר (שמות ל יט) "וְרָחֲצוּ אַהֲרֹן וּבָנָיו מִמֶּנּוּ" דָּבָר הַשָּׁוֶה בְּכָל הַכֹּהֲנִים מְעַכֵּב שֶׁהוּא קִדּוּשׁ רִאשׁוֹן:

8

If a person sanctified his hands on one day, he must sanctify them again on the following day even though he did not sleep at all that night, for the hands are disqualified because of the passage of the night. [Even] if he sanctified his hands at night and offered fats on [the altar's pyre] the entire night,24 he must go back and sanctify [his hands] on the next day25 for that day's service.

ח

קִדֵּשׁ יָדָיו הַיּוֹם צָרִיךְ לַחְזֹר וּלְקַדֵּשׁ לְמָחָר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא יָשַׁן כָּל הַלַּיְלָה. שֶׁהַיָּדַיִם נִפְסָלוֹת בְּלִינָה. קִדֵּשׁ בַּלַּיְלָה וְהִקְטִיר הַחֲלָבִים כָּל הַלַּיְלָה צָרִיךְ לַחְזֹר וּלְקַדֵּשׁ בַּיּוֹם לַעֲבוֹדַת הַיּוֹם:

9

If a priest sanctified his hands and his feet for the removal of the altar's ashes,26 even though he sanctifies them before sunrise,27 he does not have to sanctify them again after daybreak, because he sanctified them at the beginning of the day's service.

ט

קִדֵּשׁ יָדָיו וְרַגְלָיו לִתְרוּמַת הַדֶּשֶׁן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא מְקַדֵּשׁ קֹדֶם שֶׁתַּעֲלֶה הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לַחְזֹר וּלְקַדֵּשׁ אַחַר שֶׁהֵאִיר הַיּוֹם שֶׁהֲרֵי בִּתְחִלַּת עֲבוֹדָה קִדֵּשׁ:

10

It is a mitzvah to sanctify [one's hands and feet] from the basin.28 If, however, one sanctifies them from a sacred utensil, the sanctification is effective. Sanctification may not, however, be performed with an ordinary utensil.29 If one sanctified [his hands and feet] with a sacred utensil outside the Temple30 or did so with an ordinary utensil within the Temple and then performed service, his service is disqualified. One does not sanctify his hands and feet inside the basin or a sacred utensil, but from them, as [implied by the verse]: "Aaron and his son's will wash from it;" ["from it"] and not "inside of it." If one sanctified [his hands and feet] in such a utensil and performed service, he did not desecrate it.

י

מִצְוָה לְקַדֵּשׁ מִמֵּי הַכִּיּוֹר וְאִם קִדֵּשׁ מֵאֶחָד מִכְּלֵי הַשָּׁרֵת הֲרֵי זֶה כָּשֵׁר. אֲבָל כְּלֵי הַחל אֵינָם מְקַדְּשִׁין. קִדֵּשׁ בִּכְלִי שָׁרֵת בַּחוּץ אוֹ בִּכְלִי חֹל בִּפְנִים וְעָבַד עֲבוֹדָתוֹ פְּסוּלָה. וְאֵין מְקַדְּשִׁין בְּתוֹךְ הַכִּיּוֹר אוֹ בְּתוֹךְ כְּלֵי הַשָּׁרֵת אֶלָּא מֵהֶן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות ל יט) "וְרָחֲצוּ אַהֲרֹן וּבָנָיו מִמֶּנּוּ" וְלֹא בְּתוֹכוֹ. וְאִם קִדֵּשׁ בְּתוֹכוֹ וְעָבַד לֹא חִלֵּל:

11

If one immerses his hands and feet in the waters of a mikveh31 or even a spring, this is not considered as sanctification. One must wash them from a utensil. One may sanctify them using any sacred utensil whether or not it contains a revi'it.32

יא

הִטְבִּיל יָדָיו וְרַגְלָיו בְּמֵי מִקְוֶה אֲפִלּוּ בְּמַעְיָן אֵין זֶה קִדּוּשׁ כְּלָל עַד שֶׁיִּרְחַץ בִּכְלִי. וּבְכָל כְּלֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ מְקַדְּשִׁין בֵּין שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶן רְבִיעִית בֵּין שֶׁאֵין בָּהֶן רְבִיעִית:

12

All water is acceptable for the sanctification, whether water from a spring or water from a mikveh, provided its appearance has not changed and it is [thus] acceptable for immersion.33 Mud that can be poured, from which a cow would drink,34 can be used to fill the measure of the basin. This is the general rule: Any water that can be used to make up the measure of a mikveh can be used to make up the measure of the basin.35

יב

כָּל הַמֵּימוֹת כְּשֵׁרִים לְקִדּוּשׁ בֵּין מַיִם חַיִּים בֵּין מֵי מִקְוֶה. וּבִלְבַד שֶׁלֹּא יִשְׁתַּנֶּה מַרְאֵיהֶן. אֶלָּא יִהְיוּ כַּמַּיִם הַכְּשֵׁרִים לִטְבִילָה. טִיט הַנָּרוֹק שֶׁהַפָּרָה שׁוֹחָה וְשׁוֹתָה מִמֶּנּוּ מַשְׁלִים לְמֵי כִּיּוֹר. זֶה הַכְּלָל כָּל הַמַּשְׁלִים לְמֵי מִקְוֶה מַשְׁלִים לְמֵי כִּיּוֹר:

13

How much water must there be in the basin? At least enough for four priests to sanctify [their hands and feet] from it, as [indicated by Exodus 30:19 which] mentions "Aaron and his sons." Together with him, there were Elazar, Itamar, and Pinchas, a total of four.36

יג

כַּמָּה מַיִם צְרִיכִין לִהְיוֹת בַּכִּיּוֹר אֵין פָּחוֹת מִכְּדֵי לְקַדֵּשׁ מִמֶּנּוּ אַרְבָּעָה כֹּהֲנִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות ל יט) "אַהֲרֹן וּבָנָיו" וְהָיוּ אֶלְעָזָר וְאִיתָמָר וּפִינְחָס עִמָּהֶם הֲרֵי אַרְבָּעָה:

14

The water in the basin is disqualified if left [in it] overnight, as we explained.37What would be done [to prevent the water from being disqualified]? The basin would be submerged in a mikveh38 or a spring and on the following day, it would be raised or it would be filled each day in the morning.

יד

מֵי כִּיּוֹר נִפְסָלִין בְּלִינָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. וְכֵיצַד הָיוּ עוֹשִׂין. מְשַׁקְּעִים אוֹתוֹ בְּמֵי מִקְוֶה אוֹ בְּמַעְיָן וּלְמָחָר מַעֲלִין אוֹתוֹ אוֹ מְמַלְּאִין אוֹתוֹ בְּכָל יוֹם בַּבֹּקֶר:

15

The "sea" fashioned by Solomon39 had the status of a mikveh,40 because a channel of water from the Spring of Aitem41 would pass through it.42 Therefore,43 its waters were not disqualified with the passage of night like the water of the basin and [indeed,] the basin was filled from it.

טו

הַיָּם שֶׁעָשָׂה שְׁלֹמֹה כְּמִקְוֶה הָיָה. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאַמָּה שֶׁל מַיִם הָיְתָה עוֹבֶרֶת בְּתוֹכוֹ מֵעֵין עֵיטָם. לְפִיכָךְ לֹא הָיוּ מֵימָיו נִפְסָלִין בְּלִינָה כְּמֵי הַכִּיּוֹר וּמִמֶּנּוּ הָיוּ מְמַלְּאִין הַכִּיּוֹר:

16

How is the mitzvah of sanctification performed? [A priest would] put his right hand on his right foot and his left hand on his left foot and bend over and sanctify them.44 All the substances that are considered as intervening with regard to immersion,45 are intervening with regard to the sanctification of hands.

One may not sanctify his hands while sitting, because [the sanctification] is comparable to the Temple service and the Temple service may be performed only when standing, as [Deuteronomy 18:5] states: "To stand and to serve."46

טז

כֵּיצַד מִצְוַת קִדּוּשׁ. מַנִּיחַ יָדוֹ הַיְמָנִית עַל גַּבֵּי רַגְלוֹ הַיְמָנִית וְיָדוֹ הַשְּׂמָאלִית עַל גַּבֵּי רַגְלוֹ הַשְּׂמָאלִית וְשׁוֹחֶה וּמְקַדֵּשׁ. וְכָל הַחוֹצֵץ בִּטְבִילָה חוֹצֵץ בְּקִדּוּשׁ יָדַיִם. וְאֵינוֹ מְקַדֵּשׁ כְּשֶׁהוּא יוֹשֵׁב מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא כַּעֲבוֹדָה. וְאֵין עֲבוֹדָה אֶלָּא מְעֻמָּד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ה) "לַעֲמֹד לְשָׁרֵת":

17

Anyone who performs service while he is seated, desecrates his service and disqualifies it. He does not receive lashes, because the warning against doing so stems from a positive commandment.47

Similarly, anyone involved with one of the Temple services must be standing on the floor.48 If there was anything intervening between himself and the ground,49 e.g., he was standing on a utensil, an animal, or a colleague's foot, [his service] is invalid. Similarly, if there was anything intervening between his hand and the utensil with which he was performing the service, it is invalid.50

יז

וְכָל הָעוֹבֵד וְהוּא יוֹשֵׁב חִלֵּל וַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ פְּסוּלָה וְאֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאַזְהָרָה שֶׁלּוֹ מִכְּלָל עֲשֵׂה הִיא. וְכֵן כָּל הָעוֹסֵק בַּעֲבוֹדָה מֵעֲבוֹדַת הַמִּקְדָּשׁ צָרִיךְ שֶׁיִּהְיֶה עוֹמֵד עַל הָרִצְפָּה. וְאִם הָיָה דָּבָר חוֹצֵץ בֵּינוֹ וּבֵין הַקַּרְקַע כְּגוֹן שֶׁעָמַד עַל גַּבֵּי כֵּלִים אוֹ בְּהֵמָה אוֹ עַל רַגְלֵי חֲבֵרוֹ פָּסַל. וְכֵן אִם הָיָה דָּבָר חוֹצֵץ בֵּין יָדוֹ וּבֵין הַכְּלִי שֶׁעוֹבֵד בּוֹ פָּסַל:

18

The Temple service may be performed only with one's right hand.51 If one performed service with his left hand, it is invalid. He is not liable for lashes.52

[The following laws apply when] one of [a priest's] feet are on a utensil and one is on the floor, one is on a stone [that was not embedded in the floor] and one was on the floor. We evaluate [the situation]. Whenever he would be able to stand on his one foot if the utensil or the stone were taken away, his service is acceptable.53 If not, his service is invalid.54

If he received [blood from a sacrifice] with his right hand and his left hand is supporting it, his service is acceptable, because we do not pay attention to [something that is] a [mere] support.55

יח

וְאֵין עֲבוֹדָה אֶלָּא בְּיָמִין. וְאִם עָבַד בִּשְׂמֹאל פְּסוּלָה וְאֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה. רַגְלוֹ אַחַת עַל הַכֶּלִי וְרַגְלוֹ אַחַת עַל הָרִצְפָּה [רַגְלוֹ אַחַת עַל הָאֶבֶן וְרַגְלוֹ אַחַת עַל הָרִצְפָּה] רוֹאִין כּל שֶׁאִלּוּ יִנָּטֵל הַכְּלִי אוֹ הָאֶבֶן יָכוֹל לַעֲמֹד עַל רַגְלוֹ אַחַת עֲבוֹדָתוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה. וְאִם לָאו עֲבוֹדָתוֹ פְּסוּלָה. קִבֵּל בְּיָמִין וּשְׂמֹאל מְסַיַּעְתּוֹ עֲבוֹדָתוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה. שֶׁהַמְסַיֵּעַ אֵין מַשְׁגִּיחִין עָלָיו:

19

When one of the stones of the Temple Courtyard has become loosened, one should not stand upon it during one's Temple service until it is affixed in the ground.56 If he performed service, his service is acceptable,57 since it is located in its place.

יט

נִתְנַדְּדָה אֶבֶן מֵאַבְנֵי הָעֲזָרָה לֹא יַעֲמֹד עָלֶיהָ בִּשְׁעַת עֲבוֹדָה עַד שֶׁתְּחֻבַּר בָּאָרֶץ. וְאִם עָבַד עֲבוֹדָתוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה הוֹאִיל וּבִמְקוֹמָהּ עוֹמֶדֶת:

Footnotes
1.

The Rambam emphasizes that this mitzvah applies to a priest, because an animal offered as a sacrifice may be slaughtered by a non-priest. Such a person need not sanctify his hands and feet. This explanation is reinforced by some of the versions of Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 24) which state "A priest alone is obligated...," i.e., a priest and not a non-priest.

2.

Through washing them from the basin in the Temple Courtyard, as the Rambam proceeds to explain.

3.

Sefer HaMitzvot (ibid.) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 106) consider this as one of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

4.

If he does not perform service in the Temple Courtyard, he is not liable even if he enters without sanctifying his hands and feet (Rav Yosef Corcus).

5.

With the latter addition, the Rambam excludes the extra sanctifications performed by the High Priest on Yom Kippur before and after the changes of his garments. If he does not sanctify his hands and feet at this time, he does not invalidate his service, as stated in Halachah 7.

6.

Nevertheless, as explained in Hilchot Sanhedrin 19:3, he is not liable for lashes, because he has only violated a positive commandment, not a negative commandment.

7.

The text of the Mishneh Torah does not quote the verse exactly.

8.

Hilchot K'lei HaMikdash 10:4.

9.

On the following day, he must sanctify his hands and feet again, even if he did not sleep at night, as stated in Halachah 8.

10.

See Halachah 5.

11.

The Kessef Mishneh explains that this requirement is derived from the obligation to sanctify one's hands and feet if one diverts attention, for it is likely that while sleeping, one did divert his attention.

12.

See Halachah 5 with regard to defecation.

13.

There is an unresolved question concerning this point in Zevachim 20b. Hence, the Rambam rules leniently (Kessef Mishneh).

14.

In the other three instances mentioned above, if he serves without sanctifying his hands and feet, his service is invalid (Kessef Mishneh).

15.

There is a difference of opinion among the commentaries if a ritually pure person who enters the Temple Courtyard without intending to perform service is obligated to immerse himself or not.

16.

See the conclusion of Halachah 6.

17.

Even if he actually remained outside for a short time.

18.

There is an unresolved question concerning this point in Zevachim 20b. Hence, the Rambam rules leniently (Kessef Mishneh).

19.

This refers, not to ritual impurity prescribed by Scriptural Law, but instead, to certain states of ritual impurity ordained by our Sages that affect the hands alone. See Hilchot Sha'ar Avot HaTumah, ch. 8.

20.

See Hilchot Sha'ar Avot HaTumah 9:9.

21.

See Hilchot Avodat Yom HaKippurim 2:2 for a description of these changes of clothing, immersions, and sanctifications.

22.

He does, however, violate a positive commandment, because he does not perform the Yom Kippur service as prescribed (Yoma 30b).

23.

They are obligations of the High Priest (Aaron), but not an ordinary priest (his sons).

24.

I.e., he was continually involved in the Temple service.

25.

At daybreak.

26.

Which is carried out at dawn (Hilchot Temidim UMusafim 2:11-12).

27.

Halachically, depending on the different opinions, dawn is between 72 minutes and two hours before sunrise. Sunrise is the time when the priest should sanctify his hands. Nevertheless, in this instance, he has no alternative, since he is sanctifying them for that day's service and that service is performed before dawn.

28.

See the description of this utensil in the conclusion of ch. 4 of Hilchot Beit HaBechirah.

29.

I.e., one that is not consecrated.

30.

The sanctification must be performed within the Temple Courtyard, for that is where the basin is located. Even though the sanctification need not be performed with water from the basin, it must be performed in the area where it is located (Zevachim 22a).

31.

There were several mikvaot on the Temple Mount.

32.

86 cc. according to Shiurei Torah; 150 cc. according to Chazon Ish. The Ra'avad states - and the Kessef Mishneh explains that this is also the Rambam's intent - that if one uses a small utensil, he must take the water originally from the basin.

33.

As stated in Hilchot Mikvaot 7:1, if the appearance of water has changed, e.g., one poured wine or juice into it and changed its color, it is not acceptable for immersion.

34.

Since a cow will drink it, it is considered as water and not as earth. Compare to ibid. 7:3, 8:9. 11:2.

35.

A mikveh must be 40 se'ah in volume.

36.

Zevachim 21b cites Exodus 40:32 which states "And Moses, Aaron, and his sons will wash from it." "His sons" is plural indicating at least two, thus reaching a total of four. The Rambam, here and in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Zevachim 2) substitutes Pinchas for Moses. The Kessef Mishneh questions that explanation on two counts: Firstly, at the time, the basin was first used, Aaron's older sons, Nadav and Avihu, were still alive. Moreover, the priesthood had not been granted to Pinchas as of yet. Rav Yosef Corcus tries to support the Rambam's understanding, explaining that according to certain views, Moses did not serve as a priest when Aaron did, only in the seven days of preparation.

37.

Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 3:18.

38.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Tamid 1:4), the Rambam explains that each night the basin would be submerged in a muchani, a large container which held a reservoir of water. This container was not a sacred utensil and hence the water it contained was not disqualified overnight. See Hilchot Beit HaBechirah, loc. cit., for a description of this container.

39.

See I Kings 7:23-26. This was a circular copper tank, ten cubits in diameter and five cubits deep.

40.

As II Chronicles 4:6 states, the priests would use it as a mikveh.

41.

A mountain spring slightly south of Jerusalem. It was 32 cubits higher than the Temple Mount. Hence the water would naturally flow through a conduit built from it to the Temple.

42.

Usually, water contained in a utensil is not acceptable for immersion. Nevertheless, since water from a flowing spring passed through this tank, its water was acceptable [the Jerusalem Talmud (Yoma 3:8)].

43.

I.e., because it was connected to a flowing spring.

44.

I.e., a colleague would pour water over them; alternatively, he would stand under a tap.

See Hilchot Nesiat Kapayim 15:5 which states that one would wash until the wrist.

45.

As explained in Hilchot Mikvaot, ch. 2, no significant substance may intervene between the flesh of the person immersing and the waters of the mikveh. That chapter details those substances that are considered as significant and hence, as intervening, and those which are not.

46.

In the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Zevachim, loc. cit.), he offers another rationale: that one is not allowed to sit in the Temple.

47.

And lashes are given only when a negative commandment is violated.

48.

Zevachim 24a relates that since both the Temple utensils and the ground of the Temple Courtyard have been sanctified, an equation is established between them. Just as there can be no intervening substance between a priest's hand and a sacred utensil, so too, there may be no intervening substance between his feet and the Temple Courtyard.

49.

I.e., the stones of the Temple or the Temple Courtyard.

50.

This is derived from Leviticus 4:5: "And the priest shall take." Implied is that the taking must be performed by the priest's body without any intermediary (Zevachim, loc. cit.).

51.

Indeed, in his Commentary to the Mishnah (loc. cit.), the Rambam writes that "Whenever the word "hand" is mentioned [with regard to the Temple service], the intent is the right hand."

The above is referring to a right-handed person. A left-handed priest is disqualified from serving in the Temple, as stated in Chapter 8, Halachah 11.

52.

For there is no explicit prohibition that he violates. Instead, it is an extension of a positive commandment (Kessef Mishneh).

53.

For then, the support provided by the second foot is not of consequence.

54.

For then it is significant.

55.

This is a general principle, applying in other situations as well (see Shabbat 93b).

56.

As long as it is not fixed in the ground, the stone can be considered as a separate entity and therefore, it could be considered as an intervening substance between the priest and the earth.

57.

There is an unresolved question concerning this issue in Zevachim 24a. Hence, the Rambam does not rule stringently. See also the commentaries to Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 1:10.

Biat Hamikdash - Chapter 6

1

Any priest who has a physical blemish - whether a permanent blemish or a temporary blemish1 - should not enter the area of the altar and beyond in the Temple, as [Leviticus 21:21-23] states: "[Any man from among the descendants of Aaron the priest who has a blemish...] shall not come near the curtain,2 nor may he approach the altar. If he transgresses and enters [this area],3 he is liable for lashes even if he did not perform any service.

If he performs service in the Temple, he invalidates and desecrates his service. He is worthy of lashes for the service as well,4 as [ibid.:17] states: "One who has a blemish shall not draw near [to offer...]."5 According to the Oral Tradition, we learned that this warning means that he shall not draw near to the Temple service.

א

כָּל כֹּהֵן שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ מוּם בֵּין מוּם קָבוּעַ בֵּין מוּם עוֹבֵר לֹא יִכָּנֵס לַמִּקְדָּשׁ מִן הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וּלְפָנִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כא כג) "אֶל הַפָּרֹכֶת לֹא יָבֹא וְאֶל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ לֹא יִגַּשׁ". וְאִם עָבַר וְנִכְנַס לוֹקֶה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא עָבַד. וְאִם עָבַד בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ פָּסַל וְחִלֵּל עֲבוֹדָה וְלוֹקֶה אַף עַל הָעֲבוֹדָה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כא יז) "אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה בוֹ מוּם לֹא יִקְרַב". מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁאַזְהָרָה זוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יִקְרַב לַעֲבוֹדָה:

2

Similarly, a person with a temporary blemish who performs service in the Temple invalidates [his service] and is liable for lashes,6 as [ibid.:18] states: "Any man who has a blemish shall not draw close...." According to the Oral Tradition, we have learned that this is a warning against [a priest] with a temporary blemish [serving]. [A priest] with a blemish who serves is not liable for death, only for lashes.

ב

וְכֵן בַּעַל מוּם עוֹבֵר שֶׁעָבַד פָּסַל וְלוֹקֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כא יח) "כָל אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר בּוֹ מוּם לֹא יִקְרָב". מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁזּוֹ אַזְהָרָה לְבַעַל מוּם עוֹבֵר. וְאֵין בַּעֲלֵי מוּמִין שֶׁעָבְדוּ בְּמִיתָה אֶלָּא בְּמַלְקוֹת בִּלְבַד:

3

All physical blemishes - whether the priest had them from birth or acquired them afterwards, whether they will heal or they will not heal - disqualify [him] until they heal.

ג

כָּל הַמּוּמִין כֻּלָּן אֶחָד שֶׁהָיוּ בּוֹ מִתְּחִלַּת בְּרִיָּתוֹ וְאֶחָד שֶׁנּוֹלְדוּ בּוֹ אַחַר כֵּן בֵּין עוֹבְרִין בֵּין שֶׁאֵינָן עוֹבְרִין הֲרֵי זֶה פָּסוּל עַד שֶׁיַּעֲבוֹרוּ:

4

A permanent blemish is a broken leg or a broken arm.7 A temporary blemish is a dry skin eruption or a moist skin eruption also known as a chazizit.8 Not only the blemishes mentioned in the Torah,9 but any apparent bodily blemish disqualifies the priests, as [ibid.:21] states: "Any man who has a blemish," i.e., any type. Those mentioned by the Torah are merely examples.10

ד

מוּם קָבוּעַ כְּגוֹן שֶׁבֶר רֶגֶל אוֹ שֶׁבֶר יָד. וּמוּם עוֹבֵר כְּגוֹן גָּרָב אוֹ יַלֶּפֶת וְהִיא הַחֲזָזִית. וְלֹא הַמּוּמִין הַכְּתוּבִין בַּתּוֹרָה בִּלְבַד הֵן שֶׁפְּסוּלִין בְּכֹהֲנִים אֶלָּא כָּל הַמּוּמִין הַנִּרְאִין בַּגּוּף שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כא יח) (ויקרא כא כא) "כֹּל אֲשֶׁר בּוֹ מוּם" מִכָּל מָקוֹם. וְאֵלּוּ הַכְּתוּבִים בַּתּוֹרָה דֻּגְמָא הֵן:

5

There are three types of blemishes [involving humans]:11

a) blemishes that disqualify a priest from serving and an animal from being offered [as a sacrifice];12

b) blemishes that only prevent a man from serving;13

c) blemishes that do not disqualify a priest, but because of the impression that would be created,14 [our Sages] stated that every priest who has such a blemish should not serve.

ה

שְׁלֹשָׁה מִינֵי מוּמִין הֵם. יֵשׁ מוּמִין שֶׁהֵן פּוֹסְלִין הַכֹּהֵן מִלַּעֲבֹד וְהַבְּהֵמָה מִלִּקָּרֵב. [וְיֵשׁ מוּמִין שֶׁפּוֹסְלִין בָּאָדָם בִּלְבַד מִלַּעֲבֹד]. וְיֵשׁ מוּמִין שֶׁאֵין פּוֹסְלִין אֲבָל מִפְּנֵי מַרְאִית הָעַיִן אָמְרוּ שֶׁכָּל כֹּהֵן שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ אֶחָד מֵהֶן אֵינוֹ עוֹבֵד:

6

Whenever [a priest] who has a blemish that disqualifies both a person and animal serves, whether inadvertently or intentionally, his service is invalid. If he served intentionally, he is liable for lashes. Whenever [a priest] who has a blemish that disqualifies only a person serves, even though he is liable for lashes,15 his service is valid.16 If he has one of the blemishes that disqualify him because of the impression that could be created, he is not liable for lashes and his service is valid.

ו

כָּל מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ מוּם שֶׁפּוֹסֵל בָּאָדָם וּבַבְּהֵמָה וְעָבַד בֵּין בְּשׁוֹגֵג בֵּין בְּמֵזִיד עֲבוֹדָתוֹ פְּסוּלָה. וְאִם הָיָה מֵזִיד לוֹקֶה. וְכָל מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ מוּם מִן הַמּוּמִין הַמְיֻחָדִין לָאָדָם וְעָבַד אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא לוֹקֶה לֹא חִלֵּל עֲבוֹדָתוֹ. וְאִם הָיָה בּוֹ דָּבָר מִדְּבָרִים שֶׁהֵם מִפְּנֵי מַרְאִית הָעַיִן אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה וַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה:

7

Only blemishes that are apparent17 disqualify a person. Blemishes that are within the cavity of the body, e.g., a person's kidney or his spleen was removed or his intestines were perforated, even though he becomes a treifah,18 his service is acceptable. [This is derived from the mention, Leviticus 21:19, of] "a broken leg or a broken arm." Just as these are apparent, all [disqualifying blemishes] must be apparent.

ז

אֵין פּוֹסֵל בָּאָדָם אֶלָּא מוּמִין שֶׁבְּגָלוּי. אֲבָל מוּמִין שֶׁבַּחֲלַל הַגּוּף כְּגוֹן שֶׁנִּטַּל כֻּלְיָתוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם אוֹ טְחוֹל שֶׁלּוֹ אוֹ שֶׁנִּקְּבוּ מֵעָיו אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה טְרֵפָה עֲבוֹדָתוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כא יט) "שֶׁבֶר רָגֶל אוֹ שֶׁבֶר יָד" מָה אֵלּוּ בְּגָלוּי אַף כּל בְּגָלוּי:

8

An uncircumcised person19 is like a foreigner [as Ezekiel 44:9] states: "Any foreigner20 with an uncircumcised heart and uncircumcised flesh." Therefore if an uncircumcised [priest] serves, he disqualifies his service and is liable for lashes21 like a non-priest22 who serves. He is not, however, liable for death.23

ח

הֶעָרֵל הֲרֵי הוּא כְּבֶן נֵכָר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יחזקאל מד ט) "כָּל בֶּן נֵכָר עֶרֶל לֵב וְעֶרֶל בָּשָׂר". לְפִיכָךְ עָרֵל שֶׁעָבַד חִלֵּל עֲבוֹדָתוֹ וְלוֹקֶה כְּזָר שֶׁעָבַד. אֲבָל אֵינוֹ חַיָּב מִיתָה:

9

A priest who married women sinfully24 may not serve25 until he is compelled by the court to take a vow dependent on the discretion of other people so that it cannot be nullified26 that he will not continue to sin. He may then perform the service, descend [from the altar], and divorce her. Similarly, if he would become impure due to contact with a human corpse,27 he is disqualified until he makes a resolution in court not to contract such impurity. If he transgressed and performed service before taking such a vow or making such a resolution, he does not disqualify his service even though he remains married in sin.28

ט

כֹּהֵן שֶׁהָיָה נוֹשֵׂא נָשִׁים בַּעֲבֵרָה אֵינוֹ עוֹבֵד עַד שֶׁיַּדִּירוּהוּ בֵּית דִּין עַל דַּעַת רַבִּים כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה לוֹ הֲפָרָה שֶׁלֹּא יוֹסִיף לַחֲטֹא וְעוֹבֵד וְיוֹרֵד וּמְגָרֵשׁ. וְכֵן אִם הָיָה מִטַּמֵּא לְמֵתִים פָּסוּל עַד שֶׁיְּקַבֵּל עָלָיו בְּבֵית דִּין שֶׁלֹּא יִטַּמֵּא. וְאִם עָבַר וְעָבַד קֹדֶם שֶׁיַּדִּיר אוֹ שֶׁיְּקַבֵּל אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא נָשׂוּי בַּעֲבֵרָה לֹא חִלֵּל עֲבוֹדָה:

10

When a priest performed service and afterwards, his [genealogy] was checked and it was discovered that he was a challal,29 his previous service is acceptable, but he may not serve in the future. If, however, he does [continue] to serve, he does not desecrate the service. [This is derived from Deuteronomy 33:11]: "May God bless His legion and find acceptable the work of his hand." [implied is that] He will find acceptable even the desecrated among them.30

י

כֹּהֵן שֶׁעָבַד וְנִבְדַּק וְנִמְצָא חָלָל עֲבוֹדָתוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה לְשֶׁעָבַר וְאֵינוֹ עוֹבֵד לְהַבָּא. וְאִם עָבַד לֹא חִלֵּל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים לג יא) "בָּרֵךְ ה' חֵילוֹ וּפֹעַל יָדָיו תִּרְצֶה" אַף חֻלִּין שֶׁבּוֹ תִּרְצֶה:

11

The High Court would sit in the Chamber of Hewn Stone.31 Their primary ongoing activity was sitting and judging the priests, e.g., examining the lineage of the priests32 and inspecting their blemishes. Whenever a disqualifying factor was found in the lineage of a priest, he would put on black clothes and wrap himself in black and leave the Temple Courtyard. Whoever is found to be bodily sound and of acceptable lineage puts on white garments and enters and serves with his priestly brethren.

יא

בֵּית דִּין הַגָּדוֹל הָיוּ יוֹשְׁבִין בְּלִשְׁכַּת הַגָּזִית. וְעִקַּר מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם הַתָּדִיר שֶׁהָיוּ יוֹשְׁבִין וְּדָנִין אֶת הַכְּהֻנָּה וּבוֹדְקִין הַכֹּהֲנִים בְּיוּחֲסִין וּבְמוּמִין. כָּל כֹּהֵן שֶׁנִּמְצָא פָּסוּל בְּיִחוּסוֹ לוֹבֵשׁ שְׁחוֹרִים וּמִתְעַטֵּף שְׁחוֹרִים וְיוֹצֵא מִן הָעֲזָרָה. וְכָל מִי שֶׁנִּמְצָא שָׁלֵם וְכָשֵׁר לוֹבֵשׁ לְבָנִים וְנִכְנָס וּמְשַׁמֵּשׁ עִם אֶחָיו הַכֹּהֲנִים:

12

[A priest] who is discovered to be of acceptable lineage, but was discovered to have a physical blemish should sit in the Chamber of Wood33 and [removes] worm-eaten wood for the [Altar's] pyre.34 He should be included in the division of the sacrifices with the members of his clan and may partake [of the sacrifices],35as [Leviticus 21:22] states: "He may partake of the food of his God from [the sacrifices of] the most holy order and of the sacred foods."

יב

מִי שֶׁנִּמְצָא כָּשֵׁר בְּיִחוּסוֹ וְנִמְצָא בּוֹ מוּם. יוֹשֵׁב בְּלִשְׁכַּת הָעֵצִים וּמְתַלֵּעַ עֵצִים לַמַּעֲרָכָה וְחוֹלֵק בְּקָדָשִׁים עִם אַנְשֵׁי בֵּית אָב שֶׁלּוֹ וְאוֹכֵל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כא כב) "לֶחֶם אֱלֹהָיו מִקָּדְשֵׁי הַקָּדָשִׁים וּמִן הַקָּדָשִׁים יֹאכֵל":

Footnotes
1.

From the repetition of verses in Leviticus concerning this issue, the Sifra derives that the prohibition encompasses both types of blemishes.

2.

The curtain separating between the Sanctuary and the Holy of Holies.

3.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 69) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 277) consider this as one of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. In his gloss to Sefer HaMitzvot, the Ramban differs. He maintains that although there is a prohibition against a blemished priest serving in the Temple as the Rambam continues to explain, there is no Scriptural prohibition against merely entering this portion of the Temple area. The Megilat Esther supports the Rambam's view.

The Kessef Mishneh notes that from Hilchot Sanhedrin 19:4, it appears that lashes are given only if the priest enters the building of the Temple, not this portion of the courtyard.

4.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 70) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 275) consider also this as one of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. As indicated by the following halachah, according to the Rambam, this prohibition refers to a priest with a permanent blemish.

5.

Although the prooftext refers specifically to the daily offering, the Sifra explains that the repetition of verses indicates that the prohibition encompasses all sacrifices.

6.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative commandment 71) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 276) consider also this as one of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah. The Ramban differs and maintains that there is only one negative commandment against a priest with a blemish serving in the Temple and it includes both instances, a permanent blemish and a temporary blemish.

8.

Ibid.:20.

9.

Ibid.:18-21.

10.

In his commentary to the Torah, the Ramban takes a slightly different approach, maintaining that those blemishes mentioned in the Torah outline the general categories of blemishes.

11.

There are also blemishes that disqualify an animal, but do not disqualify a human, as stated in Hilchot Issurei Mizbeiach, ch. 2. See the gloss of the Radbaz there which explains that it appears that the Rambam's intent is not that if these conditions are found in men, they do not disqualify a priest. Instead, the intent is that it is extremely uncommon to find such a condition in a human. Hence they are "not appropriate to be found in a human." Nevertheless, if a priest does have such a condition, it is considered as a blemish and he is disqualified.

12.

These are described in Chapter 7.

13.

These are described in Chapter 8.

14.

See the conclusion of ch. 8.

15.

If he serves intentionally.

16.

The commentaries note that there appears to be a contradiction between this statement and the Torah's explicit statements. The Torah mentions exceptionally long eye-brows and crushed testicles as blemishes. These blemishes apply to a human and not to an animal. Nevertheless, it appears that they are also included by the statement (ibid.:23): "He shall not desecrate My sacred offerings."

17.

Even blemishes that are ordinarily covered by a person's clothes are considered as apparent.

18.

A person who will not live more than 12 months.

19.

This applies even when there was no transgression in the priest remaining uncircumcised, e.g., an instance when two of his brothers died because of circumcision (Rashi, Sanhedrin 83a).

20.

This term also has the connotation of an idolater.

21.

Rashi (ibid. 84a) states that since the warning is dependent on a verse from the Prophets and not from the Torah itself, the person is not liable for lashes. The Rambam's view is based on Zevachim 18b which maintains that the prohibition was taught by the Oral Tradition. Ezekiel merely provided a support. The Rambam, however, mentions the verse from Ezekiel because of the connection to the non-priest so that there will be a link to an explicit prohibition from the Torah.

22.

See Chapter 9, Halachah 1.

23.

As a non-priest is (ibid.).

24.

E.g., he married a divorcee or another woman forbidden to the priesthood. See Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah, chs. 17-19 where these prohibitions are detailed.

25.

These laws have parallels in the present era as well. Such a priest may not recite the Priestly Blessing [Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 128:40)].

26.

Since the vow is not being taken dependent on his own discretion, but on that of other people, it cannot be nullified. See Hilchot Sh'vuot 6:8.

27.

Which is forbidden to a priest, as stated in Hilchot Evel, ch. 1.

28.

For this prohibition is merely a Rabbinic safeguard.

29.

A challal is a priest conceived in relations forbidden to a priest or the son of a challal. None of the mitzvot of the priesthood apply to him.

30.

Challal, "desecrated," and chayl, "legion," share two of the same root letters. Hence the above concept can be derived (Kiddushin 66b).

31.

The presence of the Sanhedrin in this chamber is discussed in Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 5:17 and Hilchot Sanhedrin 14:11-12.

32.

See Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 20:2.

33.

Located in the Women's Courtyard; see Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 5:8.

34.

For worm-eaten wood is undesirable. See Hilchot Issurei Mizbeiach 6:2.

35.

See Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 10:17.

Biat Hamikdash - Chapter 7

1

There are a sum total of 50 physical blemishes that disqualify both humans and animals. In particular, they are:

א

כָּל הַמּוּמִין הַפּוֹסְלִים בָּאָדָם וּבַבְּהֵמָה חֲמִשִּׁים וְזֶהוּ פְּרָטָן:

2

Five involving the ear: a) one whose ear lobe has been blemished1 to the extent that one's nail would become held back by the blemish.2 There is, however, no concept of a blemish with regard to the skin which surrounds the lobe of the ear, whether it is perforated, marred, or cracked.

ב

חֲמִשָּׁה בָּאֹזֶן. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. מִי שֶׁנִּפְגַּם סְחוּס אָזְנוֹ כְּדֵי שֶׁתַּחְגֹּר הַצִּפֹּרֶן בַּפְּגָם. אֲבָל הָעוֹר הַמֻּקָּף לִסְחוּס הָאֹזֶן אֵין בּוֹ מוּם בֵּין נִקַּב בֵּין נִסְדַּק:

3

b) one whose ear has cracked to the slightest extent even though its substance has not diminished;

c) one whose [ear] lobe has been perforated, [leaving a hole] the size of a carshinah bean.3 Whether the whole is round or long, if its area is the size of a carshinah bean, it is considered a blemish.

d) one whose ear has dried to the extent that if it was perforated, it would not bleed;

e) one whose ear was double.4 [This applies] even to a goat kid whose ears are often extended and appear double, provided it has two lobes. If, however, it has only one lobe and it appears like one entity that is double-sized, it is acceptable.5

ג

מִי שֶׁנִּסְדַּק סְחוּס אָזְנוֹ בְּכָל שֶׁהוּא אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא חָסֵר. מִי שֶׁנִּקַּב סְחוּס אָזְנוֹ כְּכַרְשִׁינָה בֵּין נֶקֶב עָגל בֵּין נֶקֶב אָרֹךְ אִם מִצְטָרֵף לְכַרְשִׁינָה הֲרֵי זֶה מוּם. מִי שֶׁיָּבְשָׁה אָזְנוֹ כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּנָּקֵב וְלֹא תּוֹצִיא דָּם. מִי שֶׁהָיְתָה אָזְנוֹ כְּפוּלָה לִשְׁתַּיִם. אֲפִלּוּ הַגְּדִי שֶׁדֶּרֶךְ אָזְנָיו לִהְיוֹתָן נוֹטוֹת וּכְפוּלוֹת וּבִלְבַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ לוֹ שְׁנֵי סְחוּסִין. אֲבָל אִם אֵין לָהּ אֶלָּא סְחוּס אֶחָד וַהֲרֵי הוּא כְּגוּף אֶחָד שֶׁנִּכְפַּל כָּשֵׁר:

4

There are three involving the eye-lashes:

a) one whose eye-lashes are perforated even to the slightest extent;

b) one whose eye-lashes are cracked even to the slightest extent;

c) one whose eye-lashes are blemished6 even to the slightest extent.

These three blemishes are included in the term cherutz mentioned in the Torah.7

ד

שְׁלֹשָׁה בְּרִיס שֶׁל עַיִן וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. מִי שֶׁנִּקַּב רִיס מֵרִיסֵי עֵינָיו בְּכָל שֶׁהוּא. מִי שֶׁנִּסְדַּק רִיס מֵרִיסֵי עֵינָיו בְּכָל שֶׁהוּא. [מִי שֶׁנִּפְגַּם רִיס מֵרִיסֵי עֵינָיו בְּכָל שֶׁהוּא]. וּשְׁלֹשָׁה מוּמִין אֵלּוּ בִּכְלַל (ויקרא כב כב) "חָרוּץ" הָאָמוּר בַּתּוֹרָה:

5

There are eight involving the eye:

a) one who is blind,8 whether in one eye or in both eyes;

b) one who cannot see from both of his eyes or one of them, even though there is no apparent change in them, because he has water continuously descending into his eyes;

c) one who cannot see with both or one of his eyes clearly, because he has continuous nerve deterioration;9

d) one who has a mound like a grape in his eye,10 even though he can still see;

e) one who has cataracts11 in his eyes which cover some of the pupil of the eye;

f) one who has the white of his eyes extended slightly into the pupil until the pupil is interrupted by the white of the eye. This is the meaning of the term tivlul mentioned in the Torah.12 If, however, the pupil is extended and enters the white of the eye, it is not considered a blemish, for there are no blemishes in the white of the eye;

g) one who has a white point in the midst of his pupil. This is the meaning of the term dak mentioned in the Torah.13 [The above applies] provided it appears floating on the pupil. If, however, it is not floating, or if it is submerged in the pupil, it is not a blemish. Similarly, if there was a black mark in the midst of the white, even if it appeared to be floating, it is not considered a blemish, for there are no blemishes in the white. If there was a black mark sunk in the pupil, it is also included in the blemish called dak. If, however, it appears to be floating, since it is black within black, it is not considered as a blemish.

ה

שְׁמוֹנָה בָּעַיִן וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. הָעִוֵּר בֵּין בְּאֶחָד מֵעֵינָיו בֵּין מִשְּׁתֵּיהֶן. מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ רוֹאֶה בִּשְׁתֵּי עֵינָיו אוֹ בְּאַחַת מֵהֶן. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין נִרְאָה בָּהֶן שִׁנּוּי כְּלָל מֵחֲמַת שֶׁיָּרְדוּ מַיִם קְבוּעִים כְּנֶגֶד רֵאוֹתָיו. מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ רוֹאֶה בְּעֵינָיו אוֹ בְּאַחַת מֵהֶן רְאִיָּה בְּרוּרָה מֵחֲמַת שֶׁהָיָה בָּהּ סַנְוֵרִים קְבוּעִים. מִי שֶׁבְּעֵינוֹ כְּמוֹ עֵנָב אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא רוֹאֶה. מִי שֶׁיָּצָא בָּשָׂר יָתֵר בְּעֵינוֹ עַד שֶׁחִפָּה מְעַט מִן הַשָּׁחֹר שֶׁל עַיִן. מִי שֶׁנִּמְשַׁךְ הַלֹּבֶן שֶׁל עַיִן וְנִכְנַס מִמֶּנּוּ מְעַט בַּשָּׁחֹר עַד שֶׁנִּמְצָא הַשָּׁחֹר מְעֹרָב בַּלֹּבֶן וְהוּא (ויקרא כא כ) "תְּבַלֻּל" הָאָמוּר בַּתּוֹרָה. אֲבָל אִם יָצָא מִן הַשָּׁחֹר לְתוֹךְ הַלָּבָן אֵינוֹ מוּם שֶׁאֵין מוּמִין בְּלָבָן. מִי שֶׁהָיְתָה נְקֻדָּה לְבָנָה בְּתוֹךְ הַשָּׁחֹר וְזֶהוּ (ויקרא כא כ) "דַּק" הָאָמוּר בַּתּוֹרָה וְהוּא שֶׁתִּהְיֶה צָפָה עַל גַּבֵּי הַשָּׁחֹר. אֲבָל אִם לֹא הָיְתָה צָפָה אוֹ שֶׁהָיְתָה מְשֻׁקַּעַת בְּשָׁחֹר אֵינוֹ מוּם. וְכֵן אִם הָיְתָה נְקֻדָּה שְׁחֹרָה בְּתוֹךְ הַלֹּבֶן אֲפִלּוּ צָפָה אֵינוֹ מוּם שֶׁאֵין מוּמִים בְּלָבָן. הָיְתָה נְקֻדָּה שְׁחוֹרָה שׁוֹקַעַת בְּתוֹךְ הַשָּׁחֹר אַף זֶה נִקְרָא דַּק. אֲבָל אִם הָיְתָה צָפָה הוֹאִיל וְהִיא שְׁחֹרָה בְּשָׁחֹר אֵינוֹ מוּם:

6

There are three involving the nose:

a) One whose nose is perforated, even from only one side;14

b) one whose nose is split;

c) one whose nose is blemished.

ו

שְׁלֹשָׁה בַּחֹטֶם. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. מִי שֶׁנִּקַּב חָטְמוֹ אֲפִלּוּ מִצַּד אֶחָד. מִי שֶׁנִּסְדַּק חָטְמוֹ. מִי שֶׁנִּפְגַּם חָטְמוֹ:

7

There are six involving the mouth:

a) One whose lip is perforated; this applies even if only one is perforated;

b) one whose lip is blemished;

c) one whose lip is cracked, provided the surface of the lip is split into two sides;

d) one whose lower jawbone extends even the slightest measure further than his upper jawbone;

e) one whose mouth is swollen congenitally, as part of the structure of his body. If, however, it is swollen because of the wind,15 it is not considered a blemish;

f) one from whom the majority of the free portion of the tongue16 was removed.

ז

שִׁשָּׁה בַּפֶּה. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. מִי שֶׁנִּקַּב שְׂפָתוֹ אֲפִלּוּ אַחַת מֵהֶן. מִי שֶׁנִּפְגְּמָה שְׂפָתוֹ. מִי שֶׁנִּסְדְּקָה שְׂפָתוֹ וְהוּא שֶׁנִּסְדַּק מַזַּר שֶׁלָּהּ עַד שֶׁתֵּחָלֵק לִשְׁנֵי רָאשִׁים. מִי שֶׁעֶצֶם לֶחְיוֹ הַתַּחְתּוֹן עוֹדֵף עַל הָעֶלְיוֹן כָּל שֶׁהוּא. מִי שֶׁפִּיו נִבְלַם מֵחֲמַת גּוּפוֹ וּבְרִיָּתוֹ. אֲבָל אִם נִבְלַם מֵחֲמַת הָרוּחַ אֵינוֹ מוּם. מִי שֶׁנִּטַּל רֹב הַמְדַבֵּר שֶׁל לְשׁוֹנוֹ:

8

There are twelve involving the reproductive organs:

a-d) one whose member is crushed,17 mashed, severed, or cut off;

e-h) one whose testicles - or testicle - is crushed, mashed, severed, or cut off;

i) one who has only one testicle even though he has two sacs;18

j) one whose two testicles are in one sac;

k) a person whose sexual organ is covered by flesh and his gender cannot be determined;

j) a hermaphrodite.19

ח

שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר בְּאֵיבְרֵי הַזֶּרַע וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. מִי שֶׁנִּמְעַךְ הַגִּיד שֶׁלּוֹ. אוֹ נִכְתַּת. אוֹ נִתַּק. אוֹ נִכְרַת. מִי שֶׁנִּמְעֲכוּ הַבֵּיצִים שֶׁלּוֹ אוֹ אַחַת מֵהֶן. אוֹ נִכְתְּתוּ אוֹ אַחַת מֵהֶן. אוֹ נִתְּקוּ אוֹ אַחַת מֵהֶן. אוֹ נִכְרְתוּ אוֹ אַחַת מֵהֶן. מִי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ אֶלָּא בֵּיצָה אַחַת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ שְׁנֵי כִּיסִין. מִי שֶׁשְּׁתֵּי בֵּיצָיו בְּכִיס אֶחָד. הַטֻּמְטוּם. הָאַנְדְּרוֹגִינוּס:

9

There are six involving the hands and the feet:

a) one who limps;20 b) one whose hip has been displaced. This is the meaning of the term serua used by the Torah;21

c) one who has one hip attached at a higher place than the other;

d) one whose arm-bone is broken,22 provided it is apparent;

e) one whose leg-bone is broken,23 provided it is apparent. Even if it is not apparent when he stands, if it is apparent when he walks, it is a blemish;

f) one whose legs are swollen congenitally, as part of the structure of his body. If, however, they are swollen because of the wind, it is not considered a blemish.

ט

שִׁשָּׁה בַּיָּדַיִם וּבָרַגְלַיִם וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. הַפִּסֵּחַ. וּמִי שֶׁנִּשְׁמְטָה יְרֵכוֹ הוּא (ויקרא כא יח) (ויקרא כב כג) "שָׂרוּעַ" הָאָמוּר בַּתּוֹרָה. מִי שֶׁאַחַת מִיַּרְכוֹתָיו גְּבוֹהָה מֵחֲבֶרְתָּהּ. מִי שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּר עֶצֶם יָדוֹ וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה נִכָּר. מִי שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּר עֶצֶם רַגְלוֹ וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה נִכָּר. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ נִכָּר כְּשֶׁעוֹמֵד אִם נִכָּר כְּשֶׁיְּהַלֵּךְ הֲרֵי זֶה מוּם. מִי שֶׁרַגְלָיו מְבֻלָּמוֹת מֵחֲמַת עַצְמָן וּבְרִיָּתָן. אֲבָל אִם הָיוּ מְבֻלָּמוֹת מֵחֲמַת הָרוּחַ אֵינוֹ מוּם:

10

There are four [types of blemishes] that may occur in any place in the body. They are:

a) one who has a dry skin eruption of even the slightest size. This is the meaning of the term gerev mentioned in the Torah;24
b) a growth that has a bone. This is the meaning of the term yabelet mentioned in the Torah;25

c) one who has an Egyptian boil26 of the slightest size. It is a type of boil which is firm and of distasteful appearance. This is the meaning of the term yafelet mentioned in the Torah.27

י

אַרְבָּעָה רְאוּיִין לִהְיוֹת בְּכָל הַגּוּף וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ גָּרָב יָבֵשׁ כָּל שֶׁהוּא וְזֶהוּ הַ (ויקרא כא כ) (ויקרא כב כב) "גָּרָב" הָאָמוּר בַּתּוֹרָה. מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ יַבֶּלֶת שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ עֶצֶם וְזֶה הוּא (ויקרא כב כב) "יַבֶּלֶת" הָאֲמוּרָה בַּתּוֹרָה. מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ חֲזָזִית מִצְרִית כָּל שֶׁהִיא וְהִיא חֲזָזִית קָשָׁה וּכְעוּרָה וְזוֹ הוּא (ויקרא כא כ) (ויקרא כב כב) "יַלֶּפֶת" הָאֲמוּרָה בַּתּוֹרָה:

11

d) Whenever there is a groove made in any bone that is apparent,28 it is considered a blemish. It is included in the category charutz mentioned in the Torah.29 The ribs are not considered as bones that are apparent.

יא

כָּל עֶצֶם שֶׁבְּגָלוּי שֶׁנֶּחְרַץ בּוֹ חָרִיץ הֲרֵי זֶה מוּם וְהוּא בִּכְלַל (ויקרא כב כב) "חָרוּץ" הָאֲמוּרָה בַּתּוֹרָה. וְאֵין הַצְּלָעוֹת בִּכְלַל עֲצָמוֹת שֶׁבְּגָלוּי:

12

There are also three other types of blemishes:30

a) an elderly man who has reached the stage that he quivers and trembles when he stands;

b) a person who is sick and trembles because of his illness and the weakening of his strength.

A treifah31 is acceptable among humans, but is disqualified among animals.32 Similarly, one born through Caesarian section is acceptable among humans, but is disqualified among animals.33

יב

וְעוֹד יֵשׁ שָׁם שְׁלֹשָׁה מוּמִין אֲחֵרִים וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. הַזָּקֵן שֶׁהִגִּיעַ לִהְיוֹת רוֹתֵת וְרוֹעֵד כְּשֶׁהוּא עוֹמֵד. הַחוֹלֶה כְּשֶׁהוּא רוֹעֵד מִפְּנֵי חָלְיוֹ וְכִשְׁלוֹן כֹּחוֹ. אֲבָל הַטְּרֵפָה כָּשֵׁר בָּאָדָם וּפָסוּל בִּבְהֵמָה. וְכֵן יוֹצֵא דֹּפֶן כָּשֵׁר בָּאָדָם וּפָסוּל בִּבְהֵמָה:

13

c) One who is foul-smelling. A priest who has a foul-smelling odor because of sweat may wash and rub perfume on his flesh and serve. If he has a foul odor emanating from his mouth, he may put pepper, ginger, or the like in his mouth and serve. If, however, he serves while his body is foul-smelling due to sweat or he had bad breath, he desecrates his service like one who has any of the other blemishes.

יג

הַמְזֹהָם וְכֹהֵן שֶׁהוּא מְזֹהָם בְּזֵעָתוֹ רוֹחֵץ וְשָׁף כָּל גּוּפוֹ בְּבשֶֹׁם וְעוֹבֵד. הָיָה רֵיחַ פִּיו רַע נוֹתֵן בְּפִיו פִּלְפֵּל אוֹ זַנְגְּבִיל וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן וְעוֹבֵד. וְאִם עָבַד בְּזִהוּם זֵעָתוֹ אוֹ בְּזִהוּם פִּיו הֲרֵי חִלֵּל עֲבוֹדָתוֹ כִּשְׁאָר אֵלּוּ הַבַּעֲלֵי מוּמִין כֻּלָּם:

Footnotes
1.

I.e., its substance has been diminished.

2.

I.e., if one would run his nail over the lobe of this person's ear, like one runs his nail over a ritual slaughterer's knife, the progress of his nail would be held back by the blemish. See Rashi, Bechorot 37b.

3.

A small bean about the size of a lentil (ibid.).

4.

I.e., it appears as if he has two ears, one inside the other.

5.

Although the Rambam's version of the source for this ruling, Bechorot 6:9 differs from the standard printed text of the Mishnah, the interpretation of both versions is the same.

6.

I.e., its substance has been diminished.

8.

As explicitly mentioned in Leviticus 21:18.

9.

Our translation is based on Rav Kapach's version of the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Bechorot 6:3).

10.

Due to a retinal infection (ibid.:2).

11.

This refers to the term chilazon nachash mentioned in the Mishnah (ibid.).

13.

Due to a retinal infection (ibid.:2).

14.

If, however, the cartilage between the nostrils is perforated and it is not visible externally, it is not considered as a blemish [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Bechorot 6:4)].

15.

Because the swelling comes from an external factor.

16.

Our translation is taken from Rashi's commentary (Bechorot 40a).

17.

This is the meaning of the term miruach eshef in Leviticus 21:20.

18.

This refers to the inner sacs within the larger scrotum.

19.

More details regarding the individuals in the latter two categories are found in Hilchot Ishut 2:25-26; Hilchot Nizirut 2:11; et al. See also Hilchot Issurei Mizbeiach 3:3.

20.

As explicitly mentioned in Leviticus 21:18.

21.

Leviticus 21:18; 22:23. The Rambam's interpretation is based on the Sifra. Rashi in his commentary to the Torah explains the term differently.

22.

As explicitly mentioned in Leviticus 21:19.

23.

As explicitly mentioned in Leviticus 21:19.

26.

A moist skin eruption reminiscent of the boils visited upon the Egyptians in the Ten Plagues. Its external layer is moist, but its internal layer is dry and it is also very distasteful in appearance.

28.

E.g., an arm or a leg (Bechorot 40b).

30.

The laws pertaining to animals with these three blemishes are slightly different than those pertaining to animals with other blemishes. See Hilchot Issurei Mizbeiach 2:6.

31.

A man or an animal that has a physical infirmity that will cause him to die within twelve months. See Chapter 6, Halachah 7.

32.

See Hilchot Issurei Mizbeiach 3:1.

33.

See ibid.:4.

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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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