Taanit, Chapter Four, Mishnah Five

 

Introduction

This mishnah teaches that there were nine fixed dates during the year upon which certain families would bring wood to the altar.  The mishnah seems to relate and expand upon what is stated in Nehemiah 10:35 by those who returned to the land of Israel after the first exile, “We have cast lots [among] the priests, the Levites and the people, to bring the wood-offering to the House of our God by clans annually at set times in order to provide fuel for the altar of the Lord our God, as is written in the Teaching.”  The name for these donations, “The wood of the priests and the people” comes from the beginning of this verse.  The Talmud teaches that even if there was already enough wood in the Temple, the wood donated by these families took priority, and would be used first. 

We might also note that the very idea of celebrating and commemorating the bringing of wood to the Temple attests to how valuable and scarce wood was at those times in the land of Israel.  It remains to this day a relatively scarce commodity.     

 

Mishnah Five

The times of the wood of the priests and the people was nine:

1)      On the first of Nisan the family Arah of Yehudah.

2)      On the twentieth of Tammuz the family of David of Yehudah.

3)      On the fifth of Av the family of Parosh of Yehudah.

4)      On the seventh of the same month, the family of Yonadav of Rechav.

5)      On the tenth of the same month, the family of Snaah of Benjamin.

6)      On the fifteenth of the same month, the family of Zattu of Yehudah, and with them were the priests and Levites and all those who were not certain of their tribe and the family of Gonve Eli and the family of Kotze Ketizot.

7)      On the twentieth of the same month the family of Pahat Moav of Yehudah.

8)      On the twentieth of Elul the family of Adin of Yehudah.

9)      On the first of Tevet the family of Parosh of Yehudah [offered] a second time.

10)  On the first of Tevet there was no maamad for there was Hallel, Musaf and the wood-festival.

 

Explanation

Section one:  This family is mentioned in Ezra 2:5 and Nehemiah 7:10.

Section three:  Mentioned in Ezra 2:3, Nehemiah 7:5.

Section four:  The “Rechavites” seem to have been some sort of separatist sect that existed during the First Temple period and continued to exist as a family in the Second Temple period. Jeremiah 35 is mostly about this sect. For more information you can look up the article on them in the Encyclopedia Judaica.

Section five:  Mentioned in Ezra 2:35; Nehemiah 7:38.

Section six:  Zattu is mentioned in Ezra 2:8 and Nehemiah 7:13.  On this day other priests and Levites brought wood as well as anyone who didn’t know what tribe they were from.  There were also two other families who donated wood on that day. 

Section seven:  Mentioned in Ezra 2:6; Nehemiah 7:11.

Section eight: Ezra 2:15; Nehemiah 7:20.

Section nine:  This is the same family that already gave on the fifth of Av.

Section ten:  The first of Tevet is both Rosh Hodesh and Hannukah. Because of Hallel (recited because of Hannukah) there was no maamad during Shacharit, as we learned in yesterday’s mishnah.  The Mussaf and wood-offerings meant that there would be no other maamad either.  This seems to be the only day during the year that could have both a wood-offering, mussaf and a full Hallel.  Note that during those days Hallel was not recited on Rosh Hodesh.  Today half a Hallel is recited.   

 

 

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