The 22nd mitzvah is that we are commanded to guard the Holy Temple and patrol it each night, for the entire night. This is done in order to honor it, exalt it and show its great­ness.1

The source of this mitzvah is G‑d's statement (exalted be He) to Aaron,2 "You shall be with your sons before the Testimony Tent," i.e., "You shall be before it constantly." This commandment is re­peated in another verse,3 "They shall guard the Ohel Moed."

The Sifri4 states, "The verse, 'You shall be with your sons before the Testimony Tent,' indicates that the kohanim shall be inside and the levi'im outside," i.e. to guard it and patrol it. The Mechilta5 says it thusly: "The verse 'They shall guard the Ohel Moed,' is only a positive commandment. What verse provides the prohibition? The [next] verse,6 'They should guard the Sanctuary [ that there not be any more Divine wrath directed at the Israelites.]' " From this it is clear that this guarding is a positive commandment.

There,7 our Sages also said, "Part of the greatness of the Holy Temple is that it has guards. A paltorin that has guards is much different than a paltorin that has no guards." It is known that paltorin refers to a palace. The meaning of this statement is that having guards standing watch is part of the palace's greatness and splendor.

The details of this mitzvah are explained in the first chapter of tractate Tamid and in [the first chapter of8] tractate Middos.