1

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

א

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

2

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

ב

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

3

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

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

ג

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

4

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

ד

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

5

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

ה

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

6

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

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

ו

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

7

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

ז

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

8

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

ח

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

9

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

ט

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

10

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

י

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

11

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

יא

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

12

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

יב

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

13

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

יג

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

14

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

יד

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

15

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

טו

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

16

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

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

טז

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