י״ט בכסלו ה׳תשע״ד (November 22, 2013)

Yoma 14a-b: The Morning Temple Service

The second Mishna in the massekhet appears on our daf and it puts forward the basic curriculum that was offered to the during the week that he was in training prior to his officiating at the Yom Kippur Temple service. Under ordinary circumstances, the everyday activities in the Temple were performed by one of the kohanim whose turn to participate in the avodah (Temple service) fell out on a given day. During the week before Yom Kippur, however, the Kohen Gadol performed all of these services himself. The Mishnah teaches that he:

  • Burned the daily incense (see Shemot 30:1-8) half of which was done in the morning, with the other half in the afternoon.
  • Arranged the wicks in the menorah (see Shemot 30:7) which involved cleaning out the ashes from the previous day’s wicks. Some say that it also included burning off whatever remained of the oil so that the menorah would be ready to be lit in the evening.
  • Sacrificed the korban tamid on the altar.

The Gemara is concerned with the order of the morning Temple service as described in the Mishna. It appears from our Mishna that the ketoret – the incense – comes before setting up the menorah, while the Mishna in Tamid seems to have the order the other way around. Rav Huna suggests that the author of Massekhet Tamid was Rabbi Shimon Ish HaMitzpa, which could explain discrepancies between the different versions.

Rabbi Shimon Ish HaMitzpa appears very rarely in the sources, but we do know that he lived during the period of Rabban Gamliel ha-Zaken while the Second Temple was still standing. From our Gemara it appears that he was recognized as the individual who edited the basic Mishnayot in a given massekhet, with other sages only adding and editing some of it further. The conclusion of the Gemara is that Rabbi Shimon Ish HaMitzpa is not the primary author of Massekhet Tamid, as some of his positions do not match those of the massekhet. What is clear, however, is that it is not uncommon for the Gemara to assume that the majority of a given massekhet was authored by a single sage, with only minor additions or clarifications from others.

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