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Mishnayos Taanis Perek 4 Mishnah 2

תענית פרק ד׳ משנה ב׳


These are the non-priestly watches: Since it is stated: “Command the children of Israel and say to them: My offering of food, which is presented to Me made by a fire, of a sweet savor to Me, you shall guard the sacrifice to Me in its due season” (Numbers 28:2), this verse teaches that the daily offering was a communal obligation that applied to every member of the Jewish people. The mishna asks: But how can a person’s offering be sacrificed when he is not standing next to it? The mishna explains: Since it is impossible for the entire nation to be present in Jerusalem when the daily offering is brought, the early prophets, Samuel and David, instituted the division of the priests into twenty-four priestly watches, each of which served for approximately one week, twice per year. For each and every priestly watch there was a corresponding non-priestly watch in Jerusalem of priests, Levites, and Israelites who would stand by the communal offerings for that day to represent the community. When the time arrived for the members of a certain priestly watch to ascend, the priests and Levites of that watch would ascend to Jerusalem to perform the Temple service. And as for the Israelites assigned to that priestly watch, some of them went up to Jerusalem, while the rest of them assembled in their towns and read the act of Creation.

אֵלּוּ הֵן מַעֲמָדוֹת, לְפִי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר כח), צַו אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם אֶת קָרְבָּנִי לַחְמִי, וְכִי הֵיאַךְ קָרְבָּנוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם קָרֵב, וְהוּא אֵינוֹ עוֹמֵד עַל גַּבָּיו, הִתְקִינוּ נְבִיאִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבַּע מִשְׁמָרוֹת. עַל כָּל מִשְׁמָר וּמִשְׁמָר הָיָה מַעֲמָד בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם שֶׁל כֹּהֲנִים, שֶׁל לְוִיִּם, וְשֶׁל יִשְׂרְאֵלִים. הִגִּיעַ זְמַן הַמִּשְׁמָר לַעֲלוֹת, כֹּהֲנִים וּלְוִיִּם עוֹלִים לִירוּשָׁלַיִם, וְיִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁבְּאוֹתוֹ מִשְׁמָר מִתְכַּנְּסִין לְעָרֵיהֶן וְקוֹרְאִין בְּמַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית:


אלו הן מעמדות – What is the reason that it is said? What is the reason that they decreed the posts? Since it is stated (Numbers 28:2): “Command the Israelite people and say to them: Be punctilious in presenting to Me at stated times [the offerings of food due Me, as offerings by fire of pleasing odor to Me].”

על כל משמר ומשמר היה מעמד – from part of the tribes of Israel who were divided into twenty-four sections, messengers from all Israel to stand over the sacrifices with the Kohanim and Levites of each division of Kohanim (i.e., guard).

וישראל שבאותו משמר מתכנסין לעריהם – Those who were far from Jerusalem and were not able to go up and stand over their sacrifice with their division, we gather in the synagogues in their cities and fast and pray and read from the Torah each day the Creation Story (i.e. Genesis, chapter 1), to announce that the world stands on the Divine Service that they do in the Temple.

אלו הן מעמדות. מה טעם קאמר, מה טעם תקנו מעמדות לפי שנאמר צו את בני ישראל וגו׳:

על כל משמר ומשמר היה מעמד. מקצת שבטי ישראל חלוקים לכ״ד חלקים, שלוחים מכל ישראל לעמוד על הקרבן עם הכהנים והלוים שבאותו משמר:

וישראל שבאותו משמר מתכנסין לעריהם. אותם שהיו רחוקים מירושלים ולא היו יכולים לעלות לעמוד על הקרבן במשמר שלהן, מתכנסים בבתי כנסיות בעריהן ומתענים ומתפללים וקורין בתורה בכל יום במעשה בראשית להודיע שהעולם עומד על העבודה שעושים במקדש: