web analytics
December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Wakeup Call (Yuma 28a)

At about 4 a.m. on cold and damp autumn mornings in London, Dad would try to wake us in time for Selichot, the pre-Jewish New Year dawn prayers. As we heard Dad’s footsteps mounting the stairs, my brother and I would hide under our covers and mutter our displeasure at being disturbed.

Eventually, after a few more tries and realizing that the futile attempt to get us out of bed was only making him late, Dad would turn at the front door of the house, deposit the prayer books on the sofa and announce in a voice, loud enough to wake us up again, “Seliches on the couch!”

Then the front door would bang and Dad would disappear into the cold, wet night. We would surreptitiously emerge from under our covers. All clear. Peace at last! Dad never criticized us for our sloth. But years later, reading about how the kohanim sprang into action in the wee hours of the morning to conduct the preparations for the daily Temple service known as the korban tamid and how they raced each other to the front of the line to be the first to report to duty, I realized I’d better clean up my act before Mashiach came.

In fact, the kohanim were so eager to be on time that they slept the night before on the marble surfaces of one of the chambers of the Temple known as Bet Hamoked, the House of Fire situated on the north side of the azarah, the Temple courtyard. The bet hamoked was built into the wall of the Temple so that half of it protruded into the azarah and half into the har habayit, the Temple Mount, situated outside the Temple.

The bet hamoked was permanently warmed by an open fire, which served the dual purpose of keeping the kohanim warm and providing a backup source of fire for the altar. It had an interior door leading into the azarah at its southern end and an exterior door leading outside to the har habayit at its northern end. A staircase in the bet hamoked led down to a subterranean tunnel, which ran under the Temple to a mikveh situated outside of the Temple where the kohanim could immerse themselves at night in preparation for the morning service.

Long before dawn broke, there was a knock on the outside door of the bet hamoked. The kohen hame’muneh, the boss responsible for supervising the preparations for the korban, had arrived. The kohanim were prepared for his arrival. They had already changed out of their bedclothes and donned their priestly garments. They were eager to participate in the korban tamid activities. The korban tamid was offered up every morning and every afternoon, including Shabbat. The korbanot tamid served as the bookends for all the other korbanot that were brought during the day. No other offering could be brought before the korban tamid of the morning or after the korban tamid of the afternoon.

Each family unit of kohanim, numbering 168 kohanim in all, was allotted only two days a year in which to participate in korban activities. There were not that many jobs to hand out. So there were a lot of bench kohanim. The first job in the pre-dawn hours of the morning was the removal of some of the previous day’s ashes from the outside altar, the mizbeach hachitzon, located in the courtyard of the kohanim, ezrat kohanim. This procedure, known as terumat hadeshen, involved the removal from the altar, with a silver shovel, of an amount of ashes equal to a fistful, kometz, and the placing of these ashes on the ground on the northern side, in front of the altar.

It had once been the practice that when the kohen hamemuneh arrived, the kohanim would turn and race up the slope of the altar. The first to the top would win the privilege of performing the terumat hadeshen service. After these races led to accidents, they were banned and replaced by a lottery system. The kohen hamemuneh administered the lottery in the Beit Hamoked. The lottery winner was honored, not only with performing the terumat hadeshen but also with arranging on top of the altar the three wood pyres, the ma’arachot, which were later lit to fuel the sacrificial fires. The lottery winner, accompanied by the other kohanim, would then leave the Beit Hamoked through the door leading into the azarah and with torches in hand they would walk around the azarah to inspect the various utensils, klei mikdash, soon to be used in the korban tamid service.

The lottery winner would then break away from the group and step westward into the darkness of the ezrat kohanim, walking beyond the altar toward the Sanctuary until he reached the kiyor, the washbasin in which he would wash his hands and feet. Then he would pick up the silver shovel, ascend the altar and remove, with the shovel, a fistful of ashes from the wood pyre and complete the terumat hadeshen ceremony.

Seeing him descend, the group of kohanim would leave their post at the lishkat osei hachavitin, rush toward the kiyor to purify themselves, and then ascend the altar with rakes and shovels. There they would clear to the edges of the altar any parts of the previous day’s sacrifice which had not been consumed by the fires. They would then pile any remaining ashes onto a mound on top of the altar known as the tapuach. The lottery winner would then ascend the altar again to arrange the wood pyres on which the pieces of the korban tamid and the incense would later be burned. The other kohanim would replace the parts of the previous day’s sacrifice on the first pyre and then light the pyres.

With this work complete, all of the kohanim repaired to the liskat hagazit chamber, the seat of the Sanhedrin, located to the east of the Beit Hamoked. There they would participate in a second lottery to determine which of the bench kohanim would perform the other tasks of the korban tamid. Since the act of shechitah could not be performed at night, one of the kohanim was sent up onto the roof to see whether dawn had broken. If he could see all the way to Hebron, it was light enough to perform the shechitah.

About the Author: Raphael Grunfeld’s book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Jewish bookstore. His new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim & Nezikin,” will be available shortly.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Wakeup Call (Yuma 28a)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Posted to Twitter in Ferguson, MO by St. Louis County Police: "Bricks thrown at police, 2 police cars burned, gun seized by police. Tonight was disappointing."  Their motto is, "To protect and serve."
Prosecutor in Ferguson Case: ‘Witnesses Lied Under Oath’
Latest Judaism Stories
Parsha-Perspective-Logo-NEW

To many of our brethren Chanukah has lost its meaning.

Parsha-Perspective-Logo-NEW

This ability to remain calm under pressure and continue to see the situation clearly is a hallmark of Yehuda’s leadership.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

It would have been understandable for these great warriors to become dispirited.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

The travail of Yosef was undoubtedly the greatest trauma of Yaakov’s life, which certainly knew its share of hardships.

Yosef, in interpreting the first set of dreams, performed in a manner that was clearly miraculous to all.

Chazal teach us that we need to be “sur may’rah v’asei tov,”avoid bad and do good.

When we celebrate the completion of learning a section of Torah, we recite the Hadran.

Fetal Immersion?
‘The Fetus Is A Limb Of Its Mother’
(Yevamos 78a)

Yosef proves he is a true leader; He is continually and fully engaged in the task of running Egypt

When the inability cannot be clearly attributed to either spouse, the halacha is the subject of debate among the Rishonim.

Those who reject our beliefs know in their souls Jewish power stems from our faith and our prayers.

He stepped outside, and, to his dismay, the menorah was missing. It had been stolen.

Though we Jews have deep obligations to all people our obligation to our fellow Jew is unique.

In a way that decision was the first in a series of miracles with which Hashem blessed us.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Exploring the connection between Pharaoh’s dreams and the story of Joseph being sold into slavery.

More Articles from Raphael Grunfeld
Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

When the inability cannot be clearly attributed to either spouse, the halacha is the subject of debate among the Rishonim.

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

The child of a Jewish mother from a union with a non-Jewish father is not a mamzer.

Although the conversion ceremony involves more than circumcision and immersion, these are the two essential requirements, without which the conversion is ineffective.

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

What if, at the moment of the late brother’s death, the surviving brother cannot effect yibum because the widow is a niddah?

The Torah lists twenty-one close relatives a man may not marry.

In the same way as a married woman is precluded from marrying another man without a get, so too is this widow prohibited from marrying another man without chalitzah.

Should we sit in the sukkah on a day that may be the eighth day when we are not commanded to sit in the sukkah at all?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/wakeup-call-yuma-28a/2013/12/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: