Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, , at sacred-texts.com
§ 1. The loolab and willow [to surround the altar, was sometimes used] on six [days], and [sometimes] on seven [days of the festival]. The hallel and the joyous repasts, [eating of peace-offerings, took place on] eight [days]. The [dwelling in the] succah, and the pouring out water, [lasted] seven [days], and the pipes [were played on sometimes] five, and [sometimes] six [days].
§ 2. [In which case was] the loolab [used] seven [days?] how? When the first holy day of the festival fell on a Sabbath, the loolab [was used on] seven [days]; but, [when the first day of the festival fell on] any other day [of the week] the loolab [is only used] six [days]. 1
§ 3. [In which case was] the willow [used on] seven [days?] How? When the seventh day of the willow happened to fall on a Sabbath, [the willow was used] seven [days]; but, when the seventh day fell on any other day [of the week], the willow was only used six [days].
§ 4. How was the command to take the loolab [fulfilled] when the first holy day of the festival fell on a Sabbath? [It was the custom that] every man brought his loolab to the Temple mount, where it was received by inspectors, who deposited it in a gallery. The elders placed theirs in a [separate] chamber; and the people were taught to say, "Whosoever gets hold of my loolab; be it his [I bestow it on him] as a gift." On the [next] morning the people came early; the inspectors threw all the loolabs down before them; every man seized on one, and it often happened that they hurt each other [in the scramble]. When the Beth Din 2 saw that people were thus exposed to danger, they decreed that every man was to use his loolab in his own house.
§ 5. How was the command to take the willow [fulfilled]? There was a place below Jerusalem called to מוצא: 3 thither the people descended, and gathered drooping willow branches: these they brought and placed at the side of the altar, the tips inclining over it. While this was doing, a blast, a long note, and again a blast were blown.
[paragraph continues] Every day they made one circuit round the altar, and recited [the verse], "אנא ה׳ הצליהח נא, אנא ה׳ הושיעה נא." R. Jehudah said the words, אני והו הושיצה נא [were also said]. On the particular day for using the willows [the seventh of the festival] they made seven circuits round the altar. When they withdrew, what did they say? "Beauty is thine, O altar! Beauty is thine, O altar!" R. Eleazar said, [they also said] "To God and to thee, O altar! To God and to thee, O altar!" 4
§ 6. As they did on the week-days, so they did likewise on the Sabbath; excepting only that they gathered the willow branches on the Sabbath-eve, and put them into golden casks [filled with water], that they might not fade. R. Joshua ben Beroka saith, "They fetched branches of palms, and threshed [beat] them to pieces at the sides of the altar." [According to another version, "on the altar."] Thence the day was called "the branch threshing-day."
§ 7. Directly afterwards the children threw down their loolabs, and eat their citrons.
§ 8. How [was it that] the hallel and joyous repasts [took place on] eight [days]? Because it is deduced that man is bound to recite the hallel, and to enjoy the repasts [of his peace-offerings] in honour of the last day of the festival, even as on the preceding days thereof. How [is it that] the succah [is dwelt in] seven [days]? When a man has taken his last meal therein, he is not directly to pull down his succah; but, after noon, he moves the furniture back [into the house], in honour of the last day of the festival.
§ 9. How was the pouring out of the water? A golden pitcher, that held three lugs was filled with water from the [brook] Siloah. When they came [with it] to the water-gate, they blew a blast, a long note, and again a blast. The priest then ascended the stair [of the altar], and turned to the left; two silver basins stood there. R. Jehudah saith, "they were of gypsum [stucco], but had a dark appearance from the wine." Each was perforated with a small hole, like a nostril [at the bottom]. The one [for the wine] somewhat wider, the other [for the water] narrower, that both might get empty at once. The one, to the west, [was used] for the water; the other, to the east, for the wine: but if the water was poured into the wine basin, or the wine into the water basin, it was legal. R. Jehudah
saith, "They poured out one lug on each of the eight days. To him who poured out the water the people called, 'Raise thy hand;' for once it happened that one [priest charged with this duty] poured the water over his feet, 5 and all the people pelted him to death with their citrons."
§ 10. As they did on the week-days so they did likewise on the Sabbath, except that they fetched the water from Siloah on the Sabbath-eve, in a golden cask that had not been consecrated, and placed it in a chamber; if it was upset, or uncovered, they filled again from the laver. For it was not lawful to bring on the altar, water or wine which had been uncovered.
138:1 It was not permitted to use the loolab on the intervening Sabbath.
138:2 The Sanhedrin, supreme tribunal of justice and of ritual observance.
138:3 Supposed to mean free [or exempt] place. As it was exempt from taxation, it was called Colonin.
139:4 Our thanks are due to God, and to the altar on which atonement has been made for us.
140:5 He was a Sadducee, and as such, rejected the authority of tradition.