1

There were fifteen officers in the Temple and similarly, an officer would always be appointed over these fifteen matters.1 They are [responsible for]:

a) the time [for the offering of the sacrifices],2

b) the locking of the gates,3

c) the guards,4

d) the singers,5

e) the cymbals and the other musical instruments,6

f) the lotteries,7

g) the pairs [of doves],8

h) the seals,9

i) the wine libations,10

j) the sick,11

k) the water,12

l) the preparation of the showbread,13

m) the preparation of the incense offering,14

n) the preparation of the curtains,15

o) the preparation of the priestly garments.16

2

Each one of these officers has many men under his command in order to arrange the task over which he is appointed.

The one [appointed] to supervise the times: He and his men watch the times. When the time comes for a sacrifice to be offered,17 he or one of the men under his charge announce: "Priests arise to the [Temple] service. Levites [go] to the platform,18 Israelites, to the ma'amad." When his voice was heard, everyone would proceed to his task.

3

The one [appointed] to supervise the locking of the gates: At his command, the gates would be locked19 and opened.20 Those who sound [the trumpets] every day for the opening of the gates sound them only by his instruction. Every day, [the trumpets] were sound three times at the opening of the gates [in the following manner]: a tekiah,21 a teruah,22 and a tekiah.

4

The one [appointed] to supervise the guards: He is "the officer of the Temple Mount" who would walk around [checking] the Levites23 [who would guard the Temple] every night. Whenever anyone would sleep at his post, he would strike him with his staff and burn his garment.24

5

The one [appointed] to supervise the singers: Each day, he would chose singers to stand on the duchan to sing melodies. At his command, [the trumpets] would be sounded for the sacrifices. There were never less than 21 trumpet blasts sounded each day in the Temple: three at the opening of the gates [of the Temple Courtyard],25 nine for the daily offering of the morning,26 and nine for the daily offering of the afternoon. On a day when a Musaf offering is brought, nine trumpet blasts are added for the Musaf offering. If Rosh Chodesh or a festival falls on the Sabbath27 or Rosh HaShanah falls on the Sabbath - in which instance three Musaf offerings are brought28- we do not sound the trumpets for each Musaf offering individually. Instead, nine trumpet blasts are sounded for all the Musaf offerings.

6

On Friday, six trumpet blasts are added: three29 to [notify] the people [when] to cease work30 and three to make a distinction between the holy and the mundane. On the pilgrimage festivals, three are added [to announce] the opening of the lower gate, i.e., the gate to the Women's Courtyard,31 and three [to announce] the opening of the upper gate, i.e., the Gate of Nicanor.32

Why is it called the upper gate? Because it is higher than the Women's Courtyard.33 On Sukkot, three trumpet blasts are added [to announce] the filling of [a vessel with] water which is used for a libation on that holiday.34 The trumpets are not sounded for the filling of the water on the Sabbath. Three trumpet blasts are added upon the altar while the water libation is being offered.

All of these trumpet blasts were sounded under the direction of the officer in charge of the singers and at his command. All of these blasts were sounded with trumpets.35

7

The one [appointed] to supervise the cymbal: He would arrange all the musicians who would help the Levites together with their instruments, as we explained.36

8

The one [appointed] to supervise the lotteries, he would conduct the lotteries between the priests every day until each one would perform the work that he acquired through the lotteries. There were four lotteries conducted every day. In Hilchot Temidim,37 I will explain how these lotteries were conducted.

9

The one [appointed] to supervise [the sale of] the pairs of doves:38 He is the one with whom a price is determined to sell pairs [of doves] for the sacrifices, so-and-so many doves for a sela. Everyone who was obligated to [bring] turtle doves39 or doves40 [as a sacrifice]41 would bring the money for them to the Temple. This officer would give the pairs [of doves] to the people bringing the sacrifices. He would make a reckoning with the treasurers and they would provide him with [the doves].42

Every thirty days, a price was established with him. If the price decreases [during that month], [the Temple treasurers] supply him with them according to the lower price. If it increases, they provide them at the price established [originally], for the Temple is always given the upper hand [in business transactions]. Similarly, if a pair of doves is discovered to be unacceptable or was disqualified before it was offered, [this officer] must provide another in its place.43

10

The one [appointed] to supervise [the sale of] the seals: He would receive the money for the wine libations from those obligation to bring libations and give them seals. The one [appointed] to supervise the wine libations would sell the wine libations.44

11

What is implied? There where four seals in the Temple, one which had "calf" written on it,45 a second which had "male" written on it,46 a third which had "kid" written on it,47 and a fourth that had "sinner" written on it.48

12

Whoever would bring his sacrifices to the Temple would give the money for the wine libations to the officer in charge of the seals. He would give him seals according to the number of sacrifices he brought. If a person afflicted with tzara'at was wealthy, he should give him one seal with "sinner" written upon it.49 The recipient then takes the seals to the officer in charge of the wine libations and he gives him wine libations according to the number of seals he has and what is written upon them. In the evening, [the two officers] meet and one gives the other seals and receives money in exchange for them.

If there is extra money, it is given to the Temple treasury.50 If there is less money, the officer in charge of the seals must pay from his own resources. When a person loses a seal, he should wait until the evening. If there is found an extra amount of money equivalent to the seal that he claims, it is given to him. If not, it is not given to him.

The date of each day is written on the seal [to protect against] deceivers [to prevent] one from keeping a seal in his possession until the price of the libations increases.51

13

Every thirty days, a price for the wine and the flour is established with the officer in charge of the wine libations. If the price of the wine libations increases, he must supply them according to the price established beforehand. If their price decreases, he must supply them according to the lower price.52

The profit the Temple treasury makes on these [fluctuations in] price is called "the windfall of the libations." It is used to purchase burnt offerings as "the desert of the altar."53 Burnt offerings of doves are not used for this purpose, because doves are not used for communal offerings.54

14

Since the priests stand on the floor at all times,55 eat much meat,56 and during their Temple service, they are not covered by any garments other than one cloak, they [often] suffer digestive ailments.57 Therefore an officer is appointed to check them and heal all their illnesses. He and the people in his charge are involved with them at all times.58

15

Similarly, an officer is appointed to dig cisterns and reservoirs59 and fix the cisterns for people at large so that there will be water available in Jerusalem for all of its inhabitants and for all those who come on the pilgrimage festivals.60

And there was one appointed for all the craftsmen who prepare the showbread and he supervises all their work.61 And there is one appointed over the craftsmen who prepare the incense offering and he supervises all their work.62

16

The one [appointed] to supervise [the making of] the curtains would be in charge of all those who wove the curtains and embroidered [designs]63 on them so that they would be prepared for the Temple and the gates.

Each year, they would make two curtains64 to separate between the Sanctuary and the Holy of Holies.65 The strands of these curtains were all six-fold. They were of four types of fabric: linen, sky-blue dyed wool, purple dyed wool, and crimson dyed wool. Each one was six fold. Thus there were 24 strings.66 The curtains were a hand-breadth67 thick. They were woven with 72 heddles.68 Its length was forty cubits and its width was 20 cubits.69

17

There were thirteen curtains in the Second Temple: Seven over the seven gates to the Temple Courtyard,70 one over the opening of the Entrance Porch,71 one over the entrance to the Sanctuary, two72 to serve as the d'vir73 between it and the [most] holy chamber, and two corresponding to them in the upper storey.74

18

When a curtain becomes impure [due to contact] with a derivative of impurity,75 it should be immersed within [the Temple Courtyard].76 It was brought into [the Temple] immediately, because there is no need to wait until the evening.77 If it became impure because of contact with a substance that is a source of impurity, it should be immersed [in a mikveh] outside [the Temple Courtyard]78 and it is spread out in the chayl,79 because it must wait until sunset [for its impurity] to depart. If it was new, it would be spread over the colonnade80 so that the people could see its embroidery for it was attractive.

19

All of the utensils in the Temple had copies and copies of the copies so that if the original contracted impurity, the second could be used in its place.

20

The one [appointed] to supervise [the making of] the priestly garments: He is occupied with the preparation of the garments of the ordinary priests and the garments of the High Priests and their being woven.81 Everything [necessary for them] is done under his authority. He had a chamber in the Sanctuary.82