Yoma, Chapter Two, Mishnah Three

 

Introduction

In yesterday’s mishnah we learned that the priest who won the first count would remove the ashes from the large outer altar.  Today we learn about the second count.  There were thirteen different tasks assigned through this one count.  The first task would be performed by the person whose finger the counted ended on, and the next would be assigned to the person on his right and so on.

All of these tasks are connected to the “tamid”, the daily offering. 

 

Mishnah Three

The second count:   

1)      who slaughters [the daily regular offering],

2)      who sprinkles [the blood],

3)      who removes the ashes from the inner altar,

4)      who removes the ashes from the candlestick,   

5-10)  Who takes the limbs [of the offering up to the ramp],

5)      the head and the [right] hind-leg,

6)      the two forelegs,

7)      the tail and the [left] hind-leg,

8)      the breast and the throat,   

9)      the two flanks,   

10)  the innards,

11)  the fine flour,   

12)  the cakes

13)  and the wine.   

Altogether thirteen priests merited a task.   

14)  Ben Azzai said before Rabbi Akiba in the name of Rabbi Joshua: [the daily offering] was offered up in the way it walks. 

 

Explanation

Some of these tasks are self-explanatory, so I shall not delay upon them.  I will only discuss those which are not.  

Section three:  “who removes the ashes from the inner altar”:  this is the incense altar.

Sections five-ten:  “Who takes the limbs [of the offering up to the ramp]”:  we learned in Shekalim 8:8 that the priests would take the limbs up to the middle of the ramp and then before they were brought to the altar, the priests would go read the Shema.  The mishnah now lists the parts of the animal. The fifth through the tenth priests all take one of these parts up to the ramp.

Section eleven:  “The fine flour” is referred to in Exodus 29:9 and Numbers 28:5.  

Section twelve:  “The cakes”:  this refers to the high priest’s minhah offering, which was offered each day, half in the morning and half at night.  These cakes were cooked on a griddle with oil (Leviticus 6:13-14).

 Section thirteen:  “And the wine”:  the thirteenth priest would bring the wine libation (Exodus 29:40 and Numbers 28:7).

Section fourteen:  Ben Azzai disputes the order in which the parts of the animal were brought up the ramp and put onto the altar.  He holds that the parts of the animal are sacrificed from the front of the animal to the back. The Talmud explains that the order is:  1)  head and right hind-leg: 2)  the breast and throat; 3) the two forelegs; 4) the flanks; 5) the tail and the left hind-leg.  

In contrast, the first opinion in the mishnah holds that they are sacrificed in order of their size, with the one exception that the head comes first because of Leviticus 1:12 which lists the head first.    

 

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