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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 3, Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 4, Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 5

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Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 3

1

The descendants of Levi were singled out for service in the Sanctuary, as [Deuteronomy 10:8] states: "At that time, God separated the tribe of Levi."1 It is a positive commandment2 for the Levites to be free and prepared for the service of the Sanctuary, whether they desire to do so or not,3 as [Numbers 18:23] states: "And the Levite shall perform the service of the tent of meeting." When a Levite accepts all the mitzvot of the Levites with the exception of one matter, he is not accepted unless he accepts them all.

א

זֶרַע לֵוִי כֻּלּוֹ מֻבְדָּל לַעֲבוֹדַת הַמִּקְדָּשׁ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים י ח) "בָּעֵת הַהִיא הִבְדִּיל ה' אֶת שֵׁבֶט הַלֵּוִי". וּמִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לִהְיוֹת הַלְוִיִּם פְּנוּיִין וּמוּכָנִין לַעֲבוֹדַת הַמִּקְדָּשׁ בֵּין רָצוּ בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא רָצוּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יח כג) "וְעָבַד הַלֵּוִי הוּא אֶת עֲבֹדַת אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד". וּבֶן לֵוִי שֶׁקִּבֵּל עָלָיו כָּל מִצְוֹת לְוִיָּה חוּץ מִדָּבָר אֶחָד אֵין מְקַבְּלִין אוֹתוֹ עַד שֶׁיְּקַבֵּל אֶת כֻּלָּן:

2

Their service was to guard the Temple.4 Among [the Levities], there were gate-keepers5 who would open the gates of the Temple and close its doors. And there were singers who would accompany the sacrifices with song each day. [The latter concept is derived from the exegesis of Deuteronomy 18:7]: "And he shall serve in the name of God, his Lord, as all of his Levite brethren." Which service involves [invoking] the name of God? I would say: song.

When were songs recited? At the time all the communal burnt offerings,6 the peace offerings brought on Shavuous,7 and the wine libations8 were brought. Song was not recited over the freewill burnt offerings that the community would bring for "the dessert of the altar,"9 nor on the wine libations that are brought independently.10

ב

עֲבוֹדָה שֶׁלָּהֶן הִיא שֶׁיִּהְיוּ שׁוֹמְרִין אֶת הַמִּקְדָּשׁ. וְיִהְיוּ מֵהֶן שׁוֹעֲרִין לִפְתֹּחַ שַׁעֲרֵי הַמִּקְדָּשׁ וּלְהָגִיף דַּלְתוֹתָיו. וְיִהְיוּ מֵהֶן מְשׁוֹרְרִין לְשׁוֹרֵר עַל הַקָּרְבָּן בְּכָל יוֹם. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ז) "וְשֵׁרֵת בְּשֵׁם ה' אֱלֹהָיו כְּכָל אֶחָיו הַלְוִיִּם". אֵי זֶהוּ שֵׁרוּת שֶׁהוּא בְּשֵׁם ה' הֱוֵי אוֹמֵר זוֹ שִׁירָה. וּמָתַי אוֹמֵר שִׁירָה עַל כָּל עוֹלוֹת הַצִּבּוּר הַחוֹבָה וְעַל שַׁלְמֵי עֲצֶרֶת בְּעֵת נִסּוּךְ הַיַּיִן. אֲבָל עוֹלוֹת נְדָבָה שֶׁמַּקְרִיבִין הַצִּבּוּר לְקַיִץ לַמִּזְבֵּחַ. וְכֵן הַנְּסָכִין הַבָּאִין בִּפְנֵי עַצְמָן. אֵין אוֹמְרִין עֲלֵיהֶן שִׁירָה:

3

A Levite who is in an acute state of mourning11 is permitted to perform his service and sing.12 There should never be less than twelve Levites13 standing on the duchan14 each day to recite the songs over the sacrifices and their number could be increased without end. The songs were song vocally without musical instruments, for the fundamental dimension of the song is vocalization. Others would stand on [the duchan] and play melodies with musical instruments: some of them were Levites and some of them were Israelites of distinguished lineage, fit to marry into the priesthood. For only a person of distinguished lineage was allowed to ascend to the duchan.15 The people who play musical instruments are not included in the number of the twelve singers [required].

ג

לֵוִי הָאוֹנֵן מֻתָּר לַעֲבֹד וּלְשׁוֹרֵר. וְאֵין פּוֹחֲתִין מִשְּׁנֵים עָשָׂר לְוִיִּם עוֹמְדִים עַל הַדּוּכָן בְּכָל יוֹם לוֹמַר שִׁירָה עַל הַקָּרְבָּן וּמוֹסִיפִין עַד לְעוֹלָם וְאֵין אוֹמְרִין שִׁירָה אֶלָּא בַּפֶּה בְּלֹא כְּלִי שֶׁעִקַּר הַשִּׁירָה שֶׁהִיא עֲבוֹדָתָם בַּפֶּה. וַאֲחֵרִים הָיוּ עוֹמְדִים שָׁם מְנַגְּנִין בִּכְלֵי שִׁיר. מֵהֶן לְוִיִּם וּמֵהֶן יִשְׂרְאֵלִים מְיֻחָסִין הַמַּשִּׂיאִין לִכְהֻנָּה. שֶׁאֵין עוֹלֶה עַל הַדּוּכָן אֶלָּא מְיֻחָס. וְאֵין אֵלּוּ הַמְשׁוֹרְרִים עַל פִּי הַכֵּלִים עוֹלִין לְמִנְיַן הַשְּׁנֵים עָשָׂר:

4

On what instruments would they play? On lyres, flutes, harps, trumpets, and a cymbal.16 There should not be less than two lyres, nor more than six. There should not be less than two flutes, nor more than twelve. There should not be less than two trumpets, nor more than one hundred and twenty.17 There should not be more less than nine harps and there is no upper limit. There should only be one cymbal.

ד

וּבַמֶּה הֵם מְנַגְּנִין. בִּנְבָלִים וַחֲלִילִים וְכִנּוֹרוֹת וַחֲצוֹצְרוֹת וְהַצִּלְצָל. וְאֵין פּוֹחֲתִין מִשְּׁנֵי נְבָלִים וְלֹא מוֹסִיפִין עַל שִׁשָּׁה. וְאֵין פּוֹחֲתִין מִשְּׁנֵי חֲלִילִים וְלֹא מוֹסִיפִין עַל שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר. וְאֵין פּוֹחֲתִין מִשְּׁתֵי חֲצוֹצְרוֹת וְלֹא מוֹסִיפִין עַל עֶשְׂרִים וּמֵאָה. וְאֵין פּוֹחֲתִין מִתִּשְׁעָה כִּנּוֹרוֹת וּמוֹסִיפִין עַד לְעוֹלָם. וְהַצִּלְצָל אֶחָד בִּלְבַד:

5

On all the days of the festivals and on the Rashei Chadashim, the priests would sound the trumpets while the sacrifice was being offered and the Levites would recite songs, as [Numbers 10:10] states: "On the day of your celebration, on your festivals, and at the beginning of your months, you shall sound the trumpets."18

Each trumpet was made from a block of silver.19 If it was made from scraps of silver, it is acceptable. If it is made from other metals, it is unacceptable.

The flutes on which they would play would have cane reeds, because they produce a sweet sound. The melody would always be played by a single flute, because it produces a pleasant sound.20

ה

בִּימֵי הַמּוֹעֲדוֹת כֻּלָּם וּבְרָאשֵׁי חֳדָשִׁים הָיוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים תּוֹקְעִים בַּחֲצוֹצְרוֹת בִּשְׁעַת הַקָּרְבָּן וְהַלְוִיִּם אוֹמְרִין שִׁירָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר י י) "וּבְיוֹם שִׂמְחַתְכֶם וּבְמוֹעֲדֵיכֶם וּבְרָאשֵׁי חָדְשֵׁיכֶם וּתְקַעְתֶּם בַּחֲצֹצְרוֹת". הַחֲצוֹצְרָה הָיְתָה נַעֲשֵׂית מִן עֶשֶׁת שֶׁל כֶּסֶף. עָשָׂה אוֹתָהּ מִן הַגְּרוּטָאוֹת שֶׁל כֶּסֶף כְּשֵׁרָה. מִשְּׁאָר מִינֵי מַתָּכוֹת פְּסוּלָה. וְהַחֲלִילִין שֶׁהָיוּ מְנַגְּנִין בָּהֶן הָיָה אַבּוּב שֶׁלָּהֶן שֶׁל קָנֶה. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁקּוֹלוֹ עָרֵב. וְלֹא הָיָה מְחַלֵּק אֶלָּא בְּאַבּוּב יְחִידִי מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא מְחַלֵּק יָפֶה:

6

Twelve days a year, the flute would be sounded before the altar:21 During the slaughter of the first Paschal sacrifice,22 and during the second Paschal sacrifice,23 on the first day of Pesach, on the first day of Shavuot, and on the eight days of Sukkot. [The sounding of] the flute on these occasions24 supersedes the Sabbath [prohibitions],25 because it is associated with a sacrifice and the sounding of a flute associated with a sacrifice is an act of Temple service and supersedes the Sabbath prohibitions.

ו

בִּשְׁנֵים עָשָׂר יוֹם בַּשָּׁנָה הֶחָלִיל מַכֶּה לִפְנֵי הַמִּזְבֵּחַ. בִּשְׁחִיטַת פֶּסַח רִאשׁוֹן. וּבִשְׁחִיטַת פֶּסַח שֵׁנִי. וּבְיוֹם טוֹב הָרִאשׁוֹן שֶׁל פֶּסַח. וּבַיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן שֶׁל עֲצֶרֶת. וּבִשְׁמוֹנָה יְמֵי הֶחָג. וְחָלִיל זֶה דּוֹחֶה שַׁבָּת מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא חָלִיל שֶׁל קָרְבָּן וְחָלִיל שֶׁל קָרְבַּן עֲבוֹדָה הִיא וְדוֹחָה אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת:

7

A Levite may not enter the Temple Courtyard to perform his service until he studied for five years beforehand. [This concept is derived as follows. Numbers 8:24] states: "This is [the edict] with regard to the Levites: From the age of 25..." and [ibid. 4:30] states: "From the age of 30...." How can [this apparent contradiction be resolved]? They study for five years and they do not enter the service until they fully mature and attain manhood [as ibid.:19] states: "Each man to his service."26

ז

אֵין בֶּן לֵוִי נִכְנַס לַעֲזָרָה לַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ עַד שֶׁיְּלַמְּדוּהוּ חָמֵשׁ שָׁנִים תְּחִלָּה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ח כד) "זֹאת אֲשֶׁר לַלְוִיִּם מִבֶּן חָמֵשׁ וְעֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה" וְכָתוּב אֶחָד אוֹמֵר (במדבר ד ג) "מִבֶּן שְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה". הָא כֵּיצַד. חָמֵשׁ לִלְמֹד. וְאֵינוֹ נִכְנָס לַעֲבוֹדָה עַד שֶׁיַּגְדִּיל וְיִהְיֶה (במדבר ד יט) (במדבר ד מט) "אִישׁ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אִישׁ אִישׁ עַל עֲבֹדָתוֹ":

8

The Torah's statement [Numbers 8:25]: "At the age of 50, he will turn back from the ranks of the workers [of the Sanctuary]," applied only in the era when the Sanctuary was carried from place to place. It is not an [ongoing] mitzvah for future generations.27 For future generations, a Levite is not disqualified because of age or because of physical blemishes,28 only due to a change in voice,29 i.e., if his voice spoils because of his advance age, he is disqualified from serving in the Temple. It appears to me that he is disqualified only from serving as a singer, but he could become one of the doorkeepers.30

ח

זֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בַּתּוֹרָה בַּלְוִיִּם (במדבר ח כה) "וּמִבֶּן חֲמִשִּׁים שָׁנָה יָשׁוּב מִצְּבָא הָעֲבֹדָה" אֵינוֹ אֶלָּא בִּזְמַן שֶׁהָיוּ נוֹשְׂאִין הַמִּקְדָּשׁ מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם. וְאֵינוֹ מִצְוָה נוֹהֶגֶת לְדוֹרוֹת. אֲבָל לְדוֹרוֹת אֵין הַלֵּוִי נִפְסָל בְּשָׁנִים וְלֹא בְּמוּמִין אֶלָּא בְּקוֹל שֶׁיִּתְקַלְקֵל קוֹלוֹ מֵרֹב הַזִּקְנָה יִפָּסֵל לַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ. וְיֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ נִפְסָל אֶלָּא לוֹמַר שִׁירָה אֲבָל יִהְיֶה מִן הַשּׁוֹעֲרִים:

9

Samuel the Seer and King David divided the Levites into 24 watches.31Each week, a different watch would serve [in the Temple]. The head of the watch would divide all the men of the watch into different "clans." On each day of the week, designated men would serve.32 The heads of the clans would assign the workers on the day that they were designated to work, [allotting each] one appropriate tasks.

All of the Levites are warned [not to participate in] the service of the altar,33 as [ibid. 18:3] states: "But to the holy utensils and to the altar they should not draw close so they do not die." [This prohibition implies] that they should not draw close to the service [of the Sanctuary], but they may touch [the sacred utensils].34

ט

שְׁמוּאֵל הָרוֹאֶה וְדָוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ חִלְּקוּ הַלְוִיִּם לְאַרְבָּעָה וְעֶשְׂרִים מִשְׁמָרוֹת. וְעוֹבֵד מִשְׁמָר בְּכָל שַׁבָּת. וְכָל אַנְשֵׁי מִשְׁמָר מְחַלֵּק אוֹתָם רֹאשׁ הַמִּשְׁמָר לְבָתֵּי אָבוֹת. וְכָל יוֹם מִימֵי הַשַּׁבָּת עוֹבְדִים בּוֹ אֲנָשִׁים יְדוּעִים. וְרָאשֵׁי הָאָבוֹת מְחַלְּקִין אֵלּוּ הָעוֹבְדִים בַּיּוֹם שֶׁלָּהֶן אִישׁ אִישׁ עַל עֲבוֹדָתוֹ. וְכָל הַלְוִיִּם מֻזְהָרִין עַל עֲבוֹדַת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יח ג) "אַךְ אֶל כְּלֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ וְאֶל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ לֹא יִקְרָבוּ וְלֹא יָמֻתוּ" לֹא יִקְרָבוּ לַעֲבוֹדָה אֲבָל לִגַּע מֻתָּרִין:

10

Just as the Levites were warned not to perform the service of the priests,35so too, the priests are warned not to perform the work of the Levites, as [the above verse] states: "Also they,36 also you [shall not die]."37 Similarly, the Levites themselves were warned that each one should not perform the task incumbent on a colleague.38 Thus a singer should not assist39 a door-keeper, nor a door-keeper a singer, as [ibid. 4:49] states: "Every men, according to his service and his burden."

י

וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁהַלְוִיִּם מֻזְהָרִין שֶׁלֹּא לַעֲבֹד עֲבוֹדַת הַכֹּהֲנִים. כָּךְ הַכֹּהֲנִים מֻזְהָרִין שֶׁלֹּא לַעֲבֹד עֲבוֹדַת הַלְוִיִּם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יח ג) "גַם הֵם" (במדבר יח ג) "גַּם אַתֶּם". וְכֵן הַלְוִיִּם עַצְמָם מֻזְהָרִים שֶׁלֹּא יַעֲשֶׂה אֶחָד מְלֶאכֶת חֲבֵרוֹ. שֶׁלֹּא יְסַיֵּעַ הַמְשׁוֹרֵר לַשּׁוֹעֵר וְלֹא הַשּׁוֹעֵר לַמְשׁוֹרֵר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ד יט) "אִישׁ אִישׁ עַל עֲבוֹדָתוֹ וְאֶל מַשָּׂאוֹ":

11

When Levites perform the service of the priests or one Levi assisted in a task that is not his, they are liable for death at the hand of heaven, for [ibid. 18:3] states: "shall not die."40 When, by contrast, a priest performs the service of a Levite, he is not liable for death. Instead, he violates merely a negative commandment.41

יא

לְוִיִּם שֶׁעָבְדוּ עֲבוֹדַת הַכֹּהֲנִים אוֹ שֶׁסִּיֵּעַ לֵוִי בִּמְלָאכָה שֶׁאֵינָהּ מְלַאכְתּוֹ חַיָּבִין מִיתָה בִּידֵי שָׁמַיִם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יח ג) "וְלֹא יָמֻתוּ". אֲבָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁעָבַד עֲבוֹדַת לֵוִי אֵינוֹ בְּמִיתָה אֶלָּא בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה:

Footnotes
1.

See also Hilchot Shemitah VeYovel 13:12 which states:

Why did the Levites not receive a portion in the inheritance of Eretz Yisrael and in the spoils of war like their brethren? Because they were set aside to serve God and minister unto Him and to instruct people at large in His just paths and righteous judgments, as [Deuteronomy 33:10] states: "They will teach Your judgments to Jacob and Your Torah to Israel." Therefore they were set apart from the ways of the world.

2.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive mitzvah 23) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 394) include this mitzvah in their reckoning of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

3.

The Sifri to the prooftext quoted states that they can be compelled to do so against their will.

4.

See Hilchot Beit HaBechirah, ch. 8, which describes the guarding of the Temple.

5.

See I Chronicles 9:17-26 which lists the Levites who served this function. The guards would serve as watchmen and not perform any physical work. The gatekeepers performed physical activities, opening the gates, closing them, and locking them.

6.

I.e., the daily offerings and the special offerings brought on Sabbaths, Rashei Chadashim, and holidays.

7.

As a prooftext for this concept, Arachin 11b cites Numbers 10:10: "And you shall sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over peace offerings." The plural term implies offerings that are brought for the entire Jewish people.

8.

Arachin, loc. cit., associates the wine libations with song, stating: "Song is recited only over wine." See Hilchot Temidim UMusafim 6:5.

9.

See Hilchot Shekalim 4:9 for a description of these sacrifices.

10.

With this phrase, Rambam is referring to both wine libations brought by individuals and those brought by the community but were not brought on the same day as the sacrifice with which they were associated. See Hilchot Temidim UMusafim 6:8.

11.

I.e., a close relative died that day (Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 2:9).

12.

In contrast to a priest who may not offer a sacrifice while in such a state (Ibid.:6).

13.

Arachin 13b explains that there were at least twelve musical instruments playing each day. And there was one singer corresponding to every one of these instruments.

14.

The platform of three steps that divided between the Courtyard of the Israelites and the Courtyard of the Priests (Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 6:3).

15.

Indeed, the fact that a person had served on the duchan is a sign of his lineage.

16.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Arachin 2:3), the Rambam describes these instruments at length.

17.

Indeed, II Chronicles 5:12 speaks of 120 trumpeters.

18.

The preceding verse speaks of sounding the trumpets as an outcry of distress. This mitzvah is described in Hilchot Ta'aniot, ch. 1. In his Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 59), the Rambam writes that the two soundings of the shofar are considered as a single mitzvah.

19.

Numbers 10:2 speaks of beating out the silver and forming trumpets in that manner.

20.

Our translation follows the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Arachin 2:3). Rashi, Arachin 10a, offers a different interpretation, explaining that all melodies were concluded by a long note from a lone flute.

21.

I.e., on these days, the Levites would sing the Hallel and be accompanied by the flutes alone. On the other days of the year, they would be accompanied by the other instruments (ibid.).

22.

On the 14th of Nissan.

23.

I.e., on Pesach Sheni, on the 14th of Iyar. Those who did not bring a sacrifice on the first Pesach had the opportunity to compensate by bringing the sacrifice a month later (Hilchot Korban Pesach,, ch. 5).

24.

This also applies with regard to the sounding of the other musical instruments. A flute is mentioned, because a flute was also sounded in association with the water libation (see Hilchot Lulav 8:13) and the sounding of the flute at that time did not supersede the Sabbath prohibitions (Rashi, Sukkah 50b).

25.

For it is forbidden to sound musical instruments on the Sabbath.

26.

As evident from Chapter 5, Halachah 15, the attainment of manhood mentioned here apparently refers to reaching the age of Bar Mitzvah. Hence the commentaries question the Rambam's statements, for they apparently contradict his statement made previously, that a Levite must be 30 to begin his service. The Radbaz and Rav Yosef Corcus explain that the obligation to be 30 applied only when the Sanctuary was being transported. (Just as the disqualification at age 50 applied only in the era when the Sanctuary was transported [see the following halachah], so too, it is reasonable to postulate that the obligation to be 30 applied only then.) In other eras, all that was necessary was that the Levite study the necessary laws for five years.

27.

See Sefer HaMitzvot,, General Principle 3, which mentions this issue.

28.

As a priest is (see Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash, ch. 6).

29.

Chullin 24a states that the Levites on the duchan must sing in a manner that their voices sound like one voice. If the voice of a particular Levite becomes spoiled and he is no longer capable of singing in this manner, he is unfit to perform this service.

30.

Indeed, even in the era when the Sanctuary was transported, an elderly person was disqualified only from carrying it. He could serve as a watchman or a singer even then (Har HaMoriah).

31.

Ta'anit 27a derives this concept from I Chronicles 9:22.

32.

The designation of the clans and thus the determination of who would be serving in the Temple on a particular day was the responsibility of the head of the watch (Kessef Mishneh).

33.

This is part of the prohibition mentioned in the following halachah.

34.

This is derived from the law mentioned in Hilchot Mitamei Mishkav UMoshav 11:11 that when the table for the Showbread was displayed to the people, they were warned not to touch it lest it become impure. One can infer that there is no difficulty in touching it per se, only in making it impure (Har HaMoriah).

The commentaries have noted that Numbers 4:15 specifically mentions that the Levites should not touch the sacred utensils and that doing so was punishable by death. It is, however, possible to explain that this stringency only applied during the time the Sanctuary was transported through the desert and not in subsequent generations.

35.

As stated in the previous halachah.

36.

The Levites.

37.

The priests.

38.

Sefer HaMitzvot (negative mitzvah 72) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 389) include the prohibition against performing service designated for someone else in their reckoning of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

39.

The Kessef Mishneh questions the Rambam's ruling, because according to Arichin 11b, the source for the Rambam's ruling, it would appear that someone who merely renders assistance is not liable for violating a Scriptural commandment.

40.

Implying that the violation of this commandment makes one liable to die.

41.

The Ra'avad takes issue with the Rambam's ruling, maintaining that the priests are also liable for death, noting that this is stated in Arichin, loc. cit. The Or Sameach notes that the Sifri Zuta (which the Rambam quotes in Sefer HaMitzvot, loc. cit., also quoted by the Yalkut Shimoni) to the verse rules differently, distinguishing between the priests and the Levites, leaving room for the Rambam's decision.

Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 4

1

The priests were set aside from the Levites as a whole [to perform] the sacrificial service, as [I Chronicles 23:13] states: "And Aaron was set apart to sanctify him as holy of holies." It is a positive commandment1 to distinguish the priests, make them holy, and prepare them for the sacrifices, as [Leviticus 21:8] states: "And you shall sanctify him because he offers the food of your God."

א

הַכֹּהֲנִּים הֻבְדְּלוּ מִכְּלַל הַלְוִיִּם לַעֲבוֹדַת הַקָּרְבָּנוֹת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברי הימים א כג יג) "וַיִּבָּדֵל אַהֲרֹן לְהַקְדִּישׁוֹ קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים". וּמִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה הִיא לְהַבְדִּיל הַכֹּהֲנִים וּלְקַדְּשָׁם וְלַהֲכִינָם לְקָרְבָּן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כא ח) "וְקִדַּשְׁתּוֹ כִּי אֶת לֶחֶם אֱלֹהֶיךָ הוּא מַקְרִיב":

2

It is necessary for every Jewish person to show them much honor and to give them priority for every matter of holiness, to begin [reading] the Torah first,2 to recite the blessings first,3 and to take a desirable portion first.4

ב

וְצָרִיךְ כָּל אָדָם מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל לִנְהֹג בָּהֶן כָּבוֹד הַרְבֵּה וּלְהַקְדִּים אוֹתָם לְכָל דָּבָר שֶׁבִּקְדֻשָּׁה. לִפְתֹּחַ בַּתּוֹרָה רִאשׁוֹן. וּלְבָרֵךְ רִאשׁוֹן. וְלִטֹּל מָנָה יָפָה רִאשׁוֹן:

3

Moses divided the priests into eight watches: four from Elazar and four from Itamar. This continued until [the days of] Samuel the prophet. At that time, he and King David divided them into 24 watches.5 For each watch, there was one who served as the leader. A watch would ascend to Jerusalem to serve for the entire week. They would switch on the Sabbath day. The previous watch would depart and the one which follows would enter.6 [This cycle would continue] until its completion and then they would start again.

ג

משֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ חִלֵּק הַכֹּהֲנִים לִשְׁמוֹנֶה מִשְׁמָרוֹת. אַרְבָּעָה מֵאֶלְעָזָר. וְאַרְבָּעָה מֵאִיתָמָר. וְכֵן הָיוּ עַד שְׁמוּאֵל הַנָּבִיא. וּבִימֵי שְׁמוּאֵל חִלְּקָם הוּא וְדָוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ לְאַרְבָּעָה וְעֶשְׂרִים מִשְׁמָר. וְעַל כָּל מִשְׁמָר וּמִשְׁמָר רֹאשׁ אֶחָד מְמֻנֶּה. וְעוֹלִין לִירוּשָׁלַיִם לַעֲבוֹדָה מִשְׁמָר לְכָל שַׁבָּת. וּמִיּוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת לְיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת הֵן מִתְחַלְּפִין מִשְׁמָר יוֹצֵא וְהָאַחֵר שֶׁהוּא אַחֲרָיו נִכְנָס. עַד שֶׁיִּגְמְרוּ וְחוֹזְרִין חֲלִילָה:

4

It is a positive commandment for all the watches to share equal status7 during the pilgrimage festivals. Any one of the priests who comes during the pilgrimage festivals and desires to serve [in the Temple] may serve and receive a portion [of the sacrifices]. We do not tell him: "Go and [wait] until your watch [receives its turn]," as [Deuteronomy 18:6] states: "When the Levite8 will come from one of your cities... [to the place that God will choose, he shall serve..."].

ד

וּמִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לִהְיוֹת כָּל הַמִּשְׁמָרוֹת שָׁוִים בָּרְגָלִים. וְכָל שֶׁיָּבוֹא מִן הַכֹּהֲנִים בָּרֶגֶל וְרָצָה לַעֲבֹד עוֹבֵד וְחוֹלֵק עִמָּהֶם. וְאֵין אוֹמְרִין לוֹ לֵךְ עַד שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ מִשְׁמָרְךָ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ו) "וְכִי יָבֹא הַלֵּוִי מֵאַחַד שְׁעָרֶיךָ" וְגוֹ':

5

In which context does the above apply? With regard to the sacrifices of the festivals,9 the division of the showbread,10 and the two loaves [offered on] Shavuot.11 Vowed offerings,12 freewill offerings,13 and the daily offerings are offered only by the watch that serves at that time.14 [This applies] even during the pilgrimage festivals, as [ibid.:8] states: "Portion for portion shall they eat, except for what was transacted by the ancestors." The implication is that they will partake "portion for portion" of the communal offerings, but not of the other sacrifices. For these were already divided by their ancestors and established for each watch in its week.

ה

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּקָרְבְּנוֹת הָרְגָלִים וּבְחִלּוּק לֶחֶם הַפָּנִים וּבְחִלּוּק שְׁתֵּי הַלֶּחֶם שֶׁל עֲצֶרֶת. אֲבָל נְדָרִים וּנְדָבוֹת וּתְמִידִין אֵין מַקְרִיבִין אוֹתָן אֶלָּא מִשְׁמָר שֶׁזְּמַנּוֹ קָבוּעַ וַאֲפִלּוּ בָּרֶגֶל. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ח) "חֵלֶק כְּחֵלֶק יֹאכֵלוּ לְבַד מִמְכָּרָיו עַל הָאָבוֹת". כְּלוֹמַר חֵלֶק כְּחֵלֶק יֹאכְלוּ בְּקָרְבְּנוֹת הַצִּבּוּר. וְאֵין חֵלֶק כְּחֵלֶק בִּשְׁאָר הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁכְּבָר חָלְקוּ אוֹתָם הָאָבוֹת וּקְבָעוּם כָּל מִשְׁמָר וּמִשְׁמָר בְּשַׁבַּתּוֹ:

6

Similarly, the service involved with the showbread is performed by the watch whose turn is established. The service involved with the two breads [of Shavuos] is performed by all the watches.15

How do we know that [the verse cited above] is speaking only about the festivals? Because it states: "from one of your cities among all Israel." [One can infer] that it is speaking about a time when the entire Jewish people enter through one gate.16

How do we know that it is speaking about priests?17 For it states: "Portion for portion shall they eat" and there are no presents to be eaten allotted in the Temple except to the priests.

ו

וְכֵן עֲבוֹדַת לֶחֶם הַפָּנִים בַּמִּשְׁמָר שֶׁזְּמַנּוֹ קָבוּעַ. אֲבָל עֲבוֹדַת שְׁתֵּי הַלֶּחֶם בְּכָל הַמִּשְׁמָרוֹת. וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְדַבֵּר אֶלָּא בָּרְגָלִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ו) "מֵאַחַד שְׁעָרֶיךָ מִכָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל" בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁכָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל בָּאִין בְּשַׁעַר אֶחָד. וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְדַבֵּר אֶלָּא בַּכֹּהֲנִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ח) "חֵלֶק כְּחֵלֶק יֹאכֵלוּ". וְאֵין שָׁם מַתָּנוֹת בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ לְהֵאָכֵל אֶלָּא לַכֹּהֲנִים בִּלְבַד:

7

Similarly, when a priest has a sacrifice [of his own], he may come to the Temple and offer it on any day that he desires,18 as [that verse] states: "He shall come at any [impulse] of his heart's desires and serve." He may even offer his sin offering and guilt offering and bring about atonement for himself. [In such an instance,] the right to the hide and to partake of the sacrifice belongs to him. If he desires he may give his sacrifice to any priest he desires to sacrifice it. [In such an instance,] the right to the hide and to partake of the sacrifice belongs to the priest to whom he gave it.19

ז

וְכֵן כֹּהֵן שֶׁהָיָה לוֹ קָרְבָּן הֲרֵי זֶה בָּא לַמִּקְדָּשׁ וּמַקְרִיבוֹ בְּכָל יוֹם שֶׁיִּרְצֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יח ו) "וּבָא בְּכָל אַוַּת נַפְשׁוֹ" (דברים יח ז) "וְשֵׁרֵת". וַאֲפִלּוּ חַטָּאתוֹ וַאֲשָׁמוֹ הוּא מַקְרִיב וּמְכַפֵּר עַל יְדֵי עַצְמוֹ וְהָעוֹר שֶׁל קָרְבָּנוֹ וַאֲכִילָתוֹ שֶׁלּוֹ. וְאִם רָצָה לִתֵּן אֶת קָרְבָּנוֹ לְכָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁיִּרְצֶה לְהַקְרִיבוֹ נוֹתֵן. וְעוֹר הַקָּרְבָּן וַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ לְאוֹתוֹ הַכֹּהֵן בִּלְבַד שֶׁנָּתַן לוֹ:

8

If the priest who brings the sacrifice is physically blemished,20 he should give his sacrifice to the [priests of] the watch serving that week and the hide belongs to them.21 If he was ill or sick to the extent that he could serve only with difficulty, he may give the sacrifice to any priest he desires,22 the hide and the service23 belong to the [priests of] the watch serving that week. If he cannot serve at all, the sacrifice belongs to the [priests of] the watch serving that week in its entirety.24

ח

הָיָה הַכֹּהֵן בַּעַל הַקָּרְבָּן בַּעַל מוּם נוֹתֵן קָרְבָּנוֹ לְאַנְשֵׁי מִשְׁמָר וְהָעוֹר שֶׁלָּהֶם. הָיָה זָקֵן אוֹ חוֹלֶה שֶׁיָּכוֹל לַעֲבֹד עַל יְדֵי הַדְּחָק נוֹתֵן קָרְבָּנוֹ לְכָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁיִּרְצֶה וְהָעוֹר וְהָעֲבוֹדָה לְאַנְשֵׁי מִשְׁמָר. וְאִם אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַעֲבֹד כְּלָל הֲרֵי הַקָּרְבָּן כֻּלּוֹ לְאַנְשֵׁי מִשְׁמָר:

9

If [all the priests of the watch] are impure and a communal sacrifice is involved and all of the priests25 were impure,26 the sacrifice may be given to the priests of that watch who were ritually pure, but have physical blemishes.27 The hide and the service belong to [the priests of] the watch serving that week [even though they are] impure.28

ט

הָיָה טָמֵא בְּקָרְבְּנוֹת הַצִּבּוּר וְכָל הַכֹּהֲנִים טְמֵאִים נוֹתְנוֹ לְבַעֲלֵי מוּמִין טְהוֹרִים שֶׁבְּאוֹתוֹ מִשְׁמָר. וְעוֹרוֹ וַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ לְאַנְשֵׁי מִשְׁמָר הַטְּמֵאִים:

10

If the sacrifice belonged to the High Priest and he was in a state of acute mourning,29 he may give it to any priest he desires. The hide and the service belong to [the priests of] the watch serving that week. [The rationale is that] since a High Priest is fit to perform service in a state of acute mourning,30 as will be explained,31 he may appoint an agent for his sacrifice.

י

הָיָה הַקָּרְבָּן שֶׁל כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל וְהָיָה אוֹנֵן נוֹתְנוֹ לְכָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁיִּרְצֶה וְעוֹרוֹ וַעֲבוֹדָתוֹ לְאַנְשֵׁי מִשְׁמָר. כֵּיוָן שֶׁכֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל הָאוֹנֵן רָאוּי לַעֲבוֹדָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר הֲרֵי זֶה עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלִיחַ לְקָרְבָּנוֹ:

11

The head of every watch divides his watch into clans32 so that [the priests] in each clan will serve on one of the days of the week, one on one day, another on the next, and another on the next. Each of the clans had a head who was appointed over it.

יא

כָּל רֹאשׁ מִשְׁמָר וּמִשְׁמָר מְחַלֵּק מִשְׁמָרוֹ לְבָתֵּי אָבוֹת. עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה כָּל בֵּית אָב וַאֲנָשָׁיו עוֹבֵד בְּיוֹם אֶחָד מִימוֹת הַשַּׁבָּת. וְהָאַחֵר בְּיוֹם שֶׁל אַחֲרָיו. וְהָאַחֵר בְּיוֹם שֶׁל אַחֲרָיו. וּלְכָל בֵּית אָב וְאָב רֹאשׁ אֶחָד מְמֻנֶּה עָלָיו:

12

A High Priest is appointed33 [to serve as] the head of all of the priests. He is anointed with the anointing oil34 and clothed in the garments of the High Priest,35 as [Leviticus 21:10] states: "And the priest who was elevated over his brethren, over whose head was poured [the anointment oil]...." If there is no anointment oil,36 he is initiated into office merely by [wearing] the garments of the High Priest,37 as [the above verse] states: "...over whose head was poured [the anointment oil] and who was initiated to wear the garments." [Implied is that] just as he is initiated with the anointment oil, so too, he is initiated with the garments [of the High Priesthood].

יב

וּמְמַנִּין כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל הוּא רֹאשׁ לְכָל הַכֹּהֲנִים. וּמוֹשְׁחִין אוֹתוֹ בְּשֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה. וּמַלְבִּישִׁין אוֹתוֹ בִּגְדֵי כְּהֻנָּה גְּדוֹלָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כא י) "וְהַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל מֵאֶחָיו אֲשֶׁר יוּצַק" וְגוֹ'. וְאִם אֵין שָׁם שֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה מְרַבִּין אוֹתוֹ בְּבִגְדֵי כְּהֻנָּה גְּדוֹלָה בִּלְבַד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כא י) "אֲשֶׁר יוּצַק עַל רֹאשׁוֹ שֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה וּמִלֵּא אֶת יָדוֹ לִלְבּשׁ אֶת הַבְּגָדִים". כְּשֵׁם שֶׁמִּתְרַבֶּה בְּשֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה כָּךְ מִתְרַבֶּה בִּבְגָדִים:

13

How is he initiated with the garments? He puts on the eight garments [of the High Priest] and [later] removes them and does so again on the morrow for seven days, as [Exodus 29:30] states: "The priest from his sons who serves in his stead shall put them on for seven days." Just as he puts on the clothes for seven consecutive days, so too, he is anointed with the oil for seven consecutive days.38 If he performed service before he was initiated by wearing the clothes for all seven days or before he was anointed for all seven days, his service is acceptable.39 Since he was initiated or anointed once, he is a High Priest with regard to all matters.

יג

כֵּיצַד מְרַבִּין אוֹתוֹ בִּבְגָדִים. לוֹבֵשׁ שְׁמוֹנָה בְּגָדִים וּפוֹשְׁטָן וְחוֹזֵר וְלוֹבְשָׁן לְמָחָר שִׁבְעַת יָמִים יוֹם אַחַר יוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כט ל) "שִׁבְעַת יָמִים יִלְבָּשָׁם הַכֹּהֵן תַּחְתָּיו מִבָּנָיו". וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁרִבּוּי בְּגָדִים שִׁבְעָה כָּךְ מְשִׁיחָה בְּשֶׁמֶן שִׁבְעָה יוֹם אַחַר יוֹם. וְאִם עָבַד קֹדֶם שֶׁיִּתְרַבֶּה בִּבְגָדִים כָּל שִׁבְעָה אוֹ קֹדֶם שֶׁיִּמָּשַׁח כָּל שִׁבְעָה עֲבוֹדָתוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה. הוֹאִיל וְנִתְרַבָּה אוֹ נִמְשַׁח פַּעַם אַחַת נַעֲשָׂה כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל לְכָל דָּבָר:

14

There is no difference in [the laws pertaining to] a High Priest who was anointed with the anointment oil and [those applying to] one who was initiated by wearing the garments of the High Priest except [the obligation] for the High Priest to bring a bull [as a sacrifice] if he inadvertently violated one of the mitzvot for which a sin offering is required, as [Leviticus 4:3] states: "If the anointed priest40 will sin...."41 With regard to other matters, they are identical.

יד

אֵין בֵּין כֹּהֵן מָשׁוּחַ בְּשֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה לִמְרֻבֶּה בְּגָדִים אֶלָּא פַּר שֶׁמֵּבִיא כֹּהֵן הַמָּשִׁיחַ אִם שָׁגַג בְּאֶחָד מִן הַמִּצְוֹת שֶׁחַיָּב עֲלֵיהֶן חַטָּאת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא ד ג) "אִם הַכֹּהֵן הַמָּשִׁיחַ יֶחֱטָא" וְגוֹ'. אֲבָל לִשְׁאָר הַדְּבָרִים שָׁוִים הֵם:

15

A High Priest should be appointed only by the court of 71 judges.42 He should be anointed only during the day, as [ibid. 6:13] states: "On the day of his anointment...." Similarly, if he was initiated merely by wearing the priestly garments, the initiation should only take place during the day. Two High Priests should not be initiated together.

טו

אֵין מַעֲמִידִין כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל אֶלָּא בֵּית דִּין שֶׁל אֶחָד וְשִׁבְעִים. וְאֵין מוֹשְׁחִין אוֹתוֹ אֶלָּא בַּיּוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא ו יג) "בְּיוֹם הִמָּשַׁח אֹתוֹ". וְכֵן אִם נִתְרַבָּה בִּבְגָדִים בִּלְבַד אֵין מְרַבִּין אוֹתוֹ אֶלָּא בַּיּוֹם. וְאֵין מְמַנִּין שְׁנֵי כֹּהֲנִים גְּדוֹלִים כְּאַחַת:

16

We also appoint a priest who will serve the High Priest like a viceroy, he is called the segen and he is also called "the appointed one." He should stand at the right hand of the High Priest at all times.43 This honor is given to him. All of the other priests are under his authority.

טז

מְמַנִּין כֹּהֵן אֶחָד יִהְיֶה לְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל כְּמוֹ הַמִּשְׁנֶה לַמֶּלֶךְ וְהוּא הַנִּקְרָא סְגָן. וְהוּא הַנִּקְרָא מְמֻנֶּה וְיִהְיֶה עוֹמֵד לִימִין כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל תָּמִיד וְזֶה כָּבוֹד הוּא לוֹ. וְכָל הַכֹּהֲנִים מִתַּחַת יַד הַסְּגָן:

17

In addition, katikolin44 are appointed to serve the segen as the segen serves the High Priest. There should be no less than two of them.45 No less than seven amerkalin46 should be appointed, The keys to the Temple Courtyard are in their hands.47 If one desires to open [the courtyard], he cannot until all the amerkalin gather and open it.

יז

וְעוֹד מְמַנִּין קַתִּיקוֹלִין לִהְיוֹת לַסְּגָן כְּמוֹ הַסְּגָן לְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל. וְאֵין פּוֹחֲתִין מִשְּׁנַיִם. וּמְמַנִּים אֲמַרְכָּלִין אֵין פָּחוֹת מִשִּׁבְעָה. וּמַפְתְּחוֹת הָעֲזָרָה בְּיָדָם רָצָה הָאֶחָד לִפְתֹּחַ אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל עַד שֶׁיִּתְכַּנְּסוּ כָּל הָאֲמַרְכּוֹלִין וְיִפְתְּחוּ:

18

Treasurers are appointed under the amerkalin. There should be no less than three. They collect the consecrated articles, redeem those which should be redeemed,48 and use the proceeds for purposes that require these expenses.

יח

וּמְמַנִּין גִּזְבָּרִין מִתַּחַת יְדֵי הָאֲמַרְכּוֹלִין. וְאֵין פּוֹחֲתִין מִשְּׁלֹשָׁה גִּזְבָּרִין. וְהַגִּזְבָּרִין הֵם שֶׁגּוֹבִין כָּל הַהֶקְדֵּשׁוֹת. וּפוֹדִין אֶת הַנִּפְדֶּה מֵהֶן וּמוֹצִיאִין אוֹתָן בִּדְבָרִים הָרְאוּיִין לָהֶן לְהוֹצִיאָן:

19

A High Priest who was anointed receives precedence49 over one who was installed by wearing the garments [of the High Priesthood].50 One installed by wearing the garments who is prepared to serve receives precedence over an anointed [High Priest] disqualified because of a seminal emission.51 One disqualified because of a seminal emission receives precedence over one disqualified because of a physical blemish.52 One disqualified because of a physical blemish receives precedence over the priest anointed to lead the nation in war.53 The priest anointed to lead the nation in war receives precedence over the segen.54 The segen receives precedence over a katikol, a katikolover an amerkal, an amerkal over a treasurer, a treasurer over a head of a watch, a head of a watch over a head of a clan, an a head of a clan over an ordinary priest. Thus there are eight rungs in the priesthood,55 one above the other.

יט

כֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל הַמָּשׁוּחַ קוֹדֵם לִמְרֻבֶּה בְּגָדִים. וּמְרֻבֶּה בְּגָדִים הָעוֹמֵד לְשָׁרֵת קוֹדֵם לְמָשׁוּחַ שֶׁעָבַר מֵחֲמַת קֶרִי. וְהָעוֹבֵר מֵחֲמַת קֶרִי קוֹדֵם לְעוֹבֵר מֵחֲמַת מוּם. וְהָעוֹבֵר מֵחֲמַת מוּם קוֹדֵם לְכֹהֵן מְשׁוּחַ מִלְחָמָה. וּמְשׁוּחַ מִלְחָמָה קוֹדֵם לִסְגָן. וּסְגָן קוֹדֵם לְקַתִּיקוֹל. וְקַתִּיקוֹל קוֹדֵם לַאֲמַרְכָּל. וַאֲמַרְכָּל קוֹדֵם לְגִזְבָּר. וְגִזְבָּר קוֹדֵם לְרֹאשׁ מִשְׁמָר. וְרֹאשׁ הַמִּשְׁמָר קוֹדֵם לְרֹאשׁ בֵּית אָב. וְרֹאשׁ בֵּית אָב קוֹדֵם לְכֹהֵן הֶדְיוֹט מִשְּׁאָר הַכֹּהֲנִים. נִמְצְאוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים תָּמִיד שְׁמוֹנֶה מַעֲלוֹת זוֹ לְמַעְלָה מִזּוֹ:

20

When the king, the High Priest, or any other official dies, his son or anyone fit to inherit him56 is appointed in his stead. Those who are higher in the order of inheritance57 receive precedence with regard to receiving the position of the deceased, provided he is equivalent [to the deceased] in wisdom,58 or in the fear of God, even if he is not comparable in wisdom.59 For [Deuteronomy 17:20] states with regard to a king: "He and his descendants in the midst of Israel." This teaches that the kingship is inherited. This applies with regard to any office amidst the Jewish people.60 If one acquires it, he acquires it for himself and for his descendants.

כ

כְּשֶׁיָּמוּת הַמֶּלֶךְ אוֹ כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל אוֹ אֶחָד מִשְּׁאָר הַמְמֻנִּים מַעֲמִידִין תַּחְתָּיו בְּנוֹ אוֹ הָרָאוּי לְיָרְשׁוֹ. וְכָל הַקּוֹדֵם לְנַחֲלָה קוֹדֵם לִשְׂרָרוֹת הַמֵּת. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה מְמַלֵּא מְקוֹמוֹ בְּחָכְמָה אוֹ בְּיִרְאָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ כְּמוֹתוֹ בְּחָכְמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בְּמֶלֶךְ (דברים יז כ) "הוּא וּבָנָיו בְּקֶרֶב יִשְׂרָאֵל". מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהַמַּלְכוּת יְרֻשָּׁה. וְהוּא הַדִּין לְכָל שְׂרָרָה שֶׁבְּקֶרֶב יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁהַזּוֹכֶה לָהּ זוֹכֶה לְעַצְמוֹ וּלְזַרְעוֹ:

21

The position of being the priest anointed to lead the nation in war is not transferred to one's son.61 Instead, the son is like all other priests. If he is anointed as the leader in war, he is anointed. If he is not anointed, he is not anointed.62 When the priest who was anointed to lead the nation in war serves in the Temple,63 he serves wearing four garments like the other priests.64

A person should be promoted to a higher position than the one he holds and should not be demoted to a lower position, for one must ascend with regard to holy matters and not descend.65 A person should never be removed from a position of authority within the Jewish people unless he acted in an unsuitable manner.66

כא

מְשׁוּחַ מִלְחָמָה אֵין בְּנוֹ מִתְמַנֶּה תַּחְתָּיו לְעוֹלָם אֶלָּא הֲרֵי הוּא כִּשְׁאָר הַכֹּהֲנִים. אִם נִמְשַׁח לַמִּלְחָמָה נִמְשַׁח וְאִם לֹא נִמְשַׁח לֹא נִמְשַׁח. וּכְשֶׁכֹּהֵן מְשׁוּחַ מִלְחָמָה מְשַׁמֵּשׁ בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ מְשַׁמֵּשׁ בְּאַרְבָּעָה כֵּלִים כִּשְׁאָר כֹּהֲנִים. מַעֲלִין מִשְּׂרָרָה לִשְׂרָרָה גְּדוֹלָה מִמֶּנָּה וְאֵין מוֹרִידִין אוֹתוֹ לַשְּׂרָרָה שֶׁהִיא לְמַטָּה מִמֶּנָּה. שֶׁמַּעֲלִין בַּקֹּדֶשׁ וְלֹא מוֹרִידִין. וְאֵין מוֹרִידִין לְעוֹלָם מִשְּׂרָרָה שֶׁבְּקֶרֶב יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶלָּא אִם סָרַח:

22

When a High Priest violates a transgression that is punishable by lashes, he should be given lashes in a court of three judges as is the law regarding others liable for lashes.67 He then returns to his position of eminence.68

כב

וְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁעָבַר עֲבֵרָה שֶׁחַיָּב עָלֶיהָ מַלְקוֹת מַלְקִין אוֹתוֹ בְּבֵית דִּין שֶׁל שְׁלֹשָׁה כִּשְׁאָר מְחֻיְּבֵי מַלְקוֹת וְחוֹזֵר לִגְדֻלָּתוֹ:

Footnotes
1.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 32) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 269) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

2.

I.e., to receive the first aliyah in the public reading of the Torah. In the Talmudic era (and so is the practice in some communities today), the person receiving the aliyah would himself read from the Torah.

3.

I.e., to recite the blessing HaMotzi and to lead the Grace (Rashi, Gittin 59b).

4.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Gittin 5:8), the Rambam emphasizes that this applies only when there are no sages present whose knowledge surpasses that of the priest. If such sages are present, they are given priority.

5.

More particularly, Samuel divided them into 16 watches and David, into 24 (Ta'anit 27a).

6.

The changing of the watches was marked by the division of the showbread. The entering watch would receive six loaves and the departing watch, six loaves. See Hilchot Temidim UMusafim 4:12.

7.

Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 36) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 509) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

There is, however, a difference between the definition of the mitzvah here and that of Sefer HaMitzvot. In that source, the Rambam describes the mitzvah as creating the watches, while here he defines it as allowing all of the watches to serve during the festivals.

8.

All the commentaries agree that this verse is referring to a priest, who is a descendant of the tribe of Levi. See the conclusion of Halachah 6.

9.

The Kessef Mishneh explains that this refers both to the communal offerings required to be offered on the festivals and the individual offerings which people would bring as part of their pilgrimage obligations.

10.

See Hilchot Temidim UMusafim 4:12.

11.

See ibid. 8:11.

12.

A pledge to bring a particular type of sacrifice (see Hilchot Nedarim 1:2).

13.

A pledge to bring a designated animal as a sacrifice (ibid.).

14.

I.e., although all the priests had license to come and serve in the Temple during the pilgrimage festivals, there was also one watch which was designated to serve at that time, and that watch was entrusted with offering these sacrifices.

15.

The difference between the two is that the showbread is not offered because of the festival (but is instead, an ongoing obligation for every Sabbath), while the two loaves are (Radbaz).

16.

We have translated the word sha'arecha figuratively as "your cities," even though it literally means "your gates." The implication is that the verse is speaking about a time when all of Israel come to one city, Jerusalem, for the pilgrimage festivals.

17.

For it mentions Levites.

18.

I.e., even if it is not the time when his watch was designated to serve.

19.

The Ra'avad differs and maintains that the priest who brought the sacrifice has the right to partake of it and benefit from its hide, even if he did not offer it. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh debate these two perspectives based on Bava Kama 110a.

20.

In which instance, he is forbidden to bring his own sacrifice.

21.

This follows the version of Bava Kama 109b cited by Rashi. The standard published text follows a different version. Since he is unable to offer the sacrifice, he may not appoint an agent to offer it, but instead, must give it to the members of the watch. Since they offer it, they are entitled to its hide. The owner of the sacrifice may, however, receive a portion of the meat of the sacrifice since he is permitted to partake of sacrificial meat.

22.

Since it is possible for him to serve, he may appoint an agent to act as the owner of the sacrifice.

23.

According to Rashi (ibid. 110a), it appears that the intent is the priests of the watch are given the right to partake of the sacrifice. Since the owner could not partake of it himself, he cannot appoint an agent to do so.

24.

Since he cannot serve himself, he cannot appoint an agent to serve in his place.

25.

I.e., all the priests found in Jerusalem at that time, including those of other watches.

26.

In which instance, the communal sacrifices may be offered by the priests while in a state of impurity, as stated in Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 4:12. Individual sacrifices may not be offered by impure priests even under these circumstances.

27.

In such a situation, the sacrifice should be brought in a state of ritual impurity. Nevertheless, the sacrificial meat itself was ritually pure and it should be eaten by a priest who is ritually impure. Since the priest who is physically blemished is ritually pure and is part of the watch which is serving, he should be given the meat to eat.

28.

A blemished priest cannot perform service in the Temple even in such a situation.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam and states that the sacrifice should be given to any priest to offer even though that priest is impure and the right to partake of the sacrifice and use the hide should be given to the priests of that watch who have physical blemishes. The Radbaz explains that the Rambam's intent is that a priest with physical blemishes should receive the meat. The hide, however, belongs to the priests who offered it.

29.

His mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, or wife died that day.

30.

Hence he can appoint an agent.

31.

Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 2:6. The High Priest may offer sacrifices while in a state of acute mourning, but may not partake of them. Other priests are not allowed to offer sacrifices in this state.

32.

The Radbaz implies that the division was a creative one and that each week, the head of the watch would make a division according to his perception of the needs of the Temple service for that week.

33.

By the High Court of 71 judges as stated in Halachah 15.

34.

Described in Chapter 1, in particular, Halchot 7 and 9.

35.

The eight garments described in Chapter 8, Halachot 1-2. An ordinary priest wears four priestly garments and the High Priest, eight.

36.

As was the case in the latter years of the First Temple and throughout the Second Temple period (see Chapter 1, Halachah 8).

37.

The term marbeh begadim, literally, "increased [his] garments," is used to described this initiation, because he is garbed with the eight garments of the High Priest as opposed to the four of an ordinary priest.

38.

The Radbaz explains that the paradigm for this was set by the initiation of Aaron in the High Priesthood at the time of the dedication of the Sanctuary. Although Aaron was anointed on the first day, Moses served as a High Priest for the first seven days (Radbaz).

39.

Implied is that the initial preference is for him not to perform service. The Ra'avad differs and maintains that the obligation to be initiated for seven days before serving applies only with regard to the Yom Kippur service, but not with regard to other matters.

40.

Thus including only a High Priest who was anointed.

41.

See Hilchot Shegagot, ch. 15, for a description of the details of this sacrifice.

42.

Sanhedrin 16a derives this from the advice Yisro gives to Moses (Exodus 18:22): "Any great matter (hadavar hagadol) will be brought to you." Implied is that matters that involve gadlus (greatness) - including the appointment of the kohen gadol (the High Priest) - should be judged by a court with authority equal to that of Moses, i.e., the Sanhedrin of 71 judges.

43.

See Chapter 5, Halachot 4-5, 13.

44.

A Greek term meaning "general officer."

45.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Shekalim 5:2), the Rambam states that there should never be less than two people appointed to take care of communal matters.

46.

Horiot 13a interprets this as a composite of two Aramaic terms meaning "appointed over all." See also the Targum to Numbers 3:32 which uses this term to translate nasi, "prince." The Radbaz notes that the word emir in Arabic means "officer."

47.

I.e., there were seven keys to the Temple Courtyard and each one had one key (Tosefta, Shekalim). In Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 8:5, the Rambam states that the keys to the Sanctuary were entrusted to the elders of the clan. Perhaps the intent is that the elders of the clan were in fact the amerkalin (Ma'aseh Rokeach). Based on the following halachah, that would seem unlikely (Kin'at Eliyahu). See also Chapter 7, Halachah 3, which speaks about a priest appointed to lock the gates of the Temple. Perhaps the intent is that the keys belonged to the amerkalin and each night, they would entrust them.

48.

I.e., those that could be used for the Temple or its service itself should be used for that purpose and not redeemed.

49.

Horiot 13a states that he is given precedence with regard to providing him with his livelihood (and by extension, redeeming him from captivity and returning his lost article). Seemingly, this order also applies - albeit with certain exceptions - with regard to establishing a hierarchy of honor.

50.

The Ritba (in his gloss to Makkot 11a) questions the source of the Rambam's ruling, Horiot, loc. cit. For seemingly, until the oil of anointment was entombed, there were only anointed High Priests and there were none initiated by wearing the priestly garments. And after it was entombed, there were no longer any anointed High Priests. And yet, the passage in Horiot appears to imply that they were contemporaries.

The Ritba offers a resolution, explaining that, in the era of the First Temple, if a High Priest that was anointed was forced to be absent from the Temple for an extended period, e.g., he became ill or was taken captive, a substitute was appointed to serve as a High Priest in his place. He was not anointed, because there may never be two anointed High Priests at the same time, but instead, was initiated in his office by wearing the garments of the High Priesthood.

51.

A priest who experiences a seminal emission becomes impure and is therefore disqualified from offering sacrifices or performing any other service in the Temple until he regains ritual purity.

52.

For the one disqualified because of a seminal is fit for service after he becomes pure, while a blemished priest will never become fit. Even if the blemished can be healed, until it is healed, he is unfit.

53.

See Chapter 1, Halachah 7.

54.

Nazir 47b states that with regard to providing one with his livelihood, the priest appointed to lead the nation in war receives precedence over the segen, because the nation as a whole is dependent on him.

55.

The priest appointed to lead the nation in war is not counted, because he is not involved in the Temple service. Nor are those disqualified because of blemishes or impurity counted, because they do not exist at all times. Similarly, only one level of High Priest is counted, because generally, there was either an anointed High Priest or one installed through wearing the garments. Usually, both did not exist together. See the gloss of the Kessef Mishneh.

56.

I.e., any male. Although females are fit to inherit in certain circumstances, they should not be given any positions of authority among the Jewish people. See Hilchot Melachim 1:5.

57.

The order of inheritance is listed in Hilchot Nachalot, ch. 1.

58.

Hilchot Melachim 1:7 states that he must be equivalent to his predecessor in both wisdom and the fear of God in order to inherit the position. The commentaries suggest emending the text here to follow that reading, because the fear of God is the very foundation of the spiritual heritage of the Jewish people. Anyone who lacks that quality can never be a competent leader, as the Rambam states there: "[However,] under no circumstance should a person who lacks the fear of God be appointed to any position in Israel, even though he possesses much knowledge."

59.

In the above source, the Rambam states: "He should be granted his father's position and given instruction." In that vein, Ketubot 103b describes how Rabbi Yehudah Hanasi instructed that his son Gamliel be given his position, even though his knowledge was not as great as his father's.

If, however, a son is not comparable to his father in the fear of heaven, he should not be given his position at all. The Kessef Mishneh cites the interpretation of Leviticus 16:32 which describes the High Priest as one "who was anointed to fill the place of his ancestor." Torat Kohanim (Tzav) comments: "Should he be anointed even though he does not 'fill the place' [i.e., does not equal the level of his] ancestors? No, the Torah states 'fill the place.' If he is not equal to his father, the position should be granted to someone else."

60.

See Sifri, Shoftim.

This law has been a matter of controversy throughout the years. In regard to positions of communal authority, almost all authorities accept this concept. However, controversies have frequently arisen over the inheritance of Rabbinical positions. Here, the Rambam's decision has frequently been challenged.

Maharshdam (Yoreh De'ah, Responsa, n. 85) states that a city must seek out the most capable Rav possible without regard to inheritance. Similarly, the Terumat HaDeshen (Pesakim 128) states "Torah cannot be inherited."

However, many prominent authorities (Rivash, Responsa 271, Ramah, Yoreh De'ah 245, Maharit Algazi, Simchat Yom Tov 6) have explained that this law applies even in regard to rabbinical positions.

The difficulties in deciding the question may be seen in the Chatam Sofer's lack of certainty regarding it. In his Responsa (Orach Chayim, Responsum 12), he at first espouses the opinion that rabbinical positions should not be handed down from father to son. However, later (Responsum 13), he reversed himself and granted the son his father's position by inheritance.

In practice, most Rabbis have reached the opinion that if the son is a capable Rabbi, though less qualified than another who seeks the position, his father's position should be awarded to him. However, if the community sees the son as incapable of filling his father's position at all, it may be given to another person.

61.

The Radbaz maintains that this ruling has to do with the unique function this priest serves. Since he leads the nation in war, it is a life or death question and the most capable person is chosen whether he is the heir or not.

In a responsum (Orach Chayim 12), the Chatam Sofer takes the opposite perspective, explaining the distinction between this and other positions which are inherited as follows: The kingship and other similar positions are appointments associated with leadership. Hence if the heir is fundamentally capable, he inherits his father's position. The priest who leads the nation in war, by contrast, is an appointment based on holiness. That is not transferred by inheritance. Indeed, the High Priesthood would not be transferred by inheritance were there not a specific verse commanding us to do so.

62.

There is no obligation either way.

63.

While he leads them in war, he wears the eight garments of the High Priest (see Radbaz, Kessef Mishneh).

64.

Although he was anointed, he is not given the status of a High Priest and wears the garments of an ordinary priest.

65.

This is a principle applied in several contexts of Torah law. See Menachot 11:7; Hilchot Tefilah 3:16; Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 3:16.

66.

Once he is removed from his position, he should not be reinstated. See Hilchot Sanhedrin 17:9.

67.

See Hilchot Sanhedrin 5:4. Although a case involving a question of capital punishment for a High Priest is judged by a court of 71 judges [rather than the usual 23 (ibid.:1)], we do not say that as a measure of respect for his position, he should be judged by a court of 23 judges. For if he is held liable, he will be lashed in their presence and this will be a public dishonor [Jerusalem Talmud (Sanhedrin 2:1)].

68.

The Jerusalem Talmud (loc. cit.) explains that this comes as a result of the holiness with which the High Priest is endowed. It is a microcosm of God's holiness and hence, like His holiness cannot be nullified.

Klei Hamikdash - Chapter 5

1

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

א

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

2

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

ב

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

3

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

ג

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

4

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

ד

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

5

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

ה

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

6

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

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

ו

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

7

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

ז

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

8

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

ח

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

9

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

ט

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

10

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

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

י

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

11

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

יא

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

12

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

יב

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

13

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

יג

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

14

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

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

יד

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

15

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

טו

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

16

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

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

טז

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

17

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

יז

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

Footnotes
1.

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

2.

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

3.

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

4.

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

5.

For participation in a public celebration may compromise his dignity.

6.

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

7.

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

8.

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

9.

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

10.

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

11.

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

12.

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

13.

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

14.

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

15.

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

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

16.

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

17.

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

18.

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

19.

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

20.

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

21.

This was part of Jethro's advice to Moses with regard to the appointment of judges. Implied is that matters that involve gadlus (great importance) - for example, a case involving the very life of the kohen gadol (the High Priest) - should be judged by a court with authority equal to that of Moses, i.e., the Sanhedrin of 71 judges. As mentioned in Chapter 4, Halachah 23, cases involving a transgression punishable by lashes are judged by a court of three.

22.

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

23.

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

24.

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

25.

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

26.

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

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

27.

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

28.

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

29.

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

30.

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

31.

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

32.

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

33.

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

34.

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

35.

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

36.

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

37.

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

38.

E.g., terumah and challah..

39.

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

40.

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

41.

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

42.

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

43.

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

44.

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

45.

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

46.

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

47.

See Hilchot Temidim UMusafim 3:18 and onward.

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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