Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, , at sacred-texts.com
§ 1. At three periods of the year, the priests shall raise their hands [to bless the people], in each prayer, [and] four times [in one of them], in the morning, additional, afternoon, and closing [or concluding] prayers. [The three mentioned periods are] on the fast-days, on the fast of the standing men, 1 and on the day of atonement. 2
§ 2. These are מעמדות, standing men [and this is the cause of their institution]. It is written (Numb. xxviii. 2), "Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, My offering, viz. my bread," &c. How can an offering be brought for a person without his standing near it [at the time of its being sacrificed]? 3 Therefore did the elder prophets institute twenty-four "mishmaroth" [or divisions of orders]; each mishmarah had always a "mahamad" [or section of standing men], composed of cohanim [priests], Levites, and Israelites, stationed at Jerusalem. 4 When it came to the turn of each mishmarah to go up [from their cities to the Temple], the priests and Levites went up to Jerusalem, and the Israelites who belonged to that mishmarah, 5 assembled in [the synagogues of] their cities to read the history of the creation [viz. the 1st chapter of Genesis].
§ 3. The standing men used to fast four times in the week, viz. from Monday till Thursday [inclusive], but they did not fast on Friday, on account of the honour due to the Sabbath, nor on Sunday,
that they might not [suddenly] pass over from repose and pleasure to weariness and fasting, which might endanger their lives. On Sunday they read [the sections] בראשית and יהי רקיע (Gen. i. 1, &c. and v. 6, &c.); on Monday יהי רקיע (v. 6, &c.) and יקוו המים (v. 9, &c.); on Tuesday יקוו המים (v. 9, &c.) and יהי מאורות (v. 14); on Wednesday יהי מאורות (v. 14) and ישרצו המים (v. 20); on Thursday ישרצו המים (v. 20) and תוצא הארץ (v. 24); on Friday תוצא הארץ (v. 24) and ויכלו (ii. 1–4). A long section was read by two persons, and a short one by one only; that is to say, in the morning and additional prayers, but at the afternoon prayers they entered [the synagogue] and read the mentioned sections by heart, even as the "Shemang" is read. On Friday [afternoon] they did not go [to the synagogue] at all, in honour of the Sabbath.
§ 4. On those days on which "Hallel" is sung, the standing men used not to attend during the morning prayer [in Jerusalem]. When there was an additional offering קרבן מוסף, they did not assemble at the time of the closing prayer. When a wood-offering 6 was brought, they did not assemble during the afternoon prayer. Thus saith R. Akivah; but Ben Azzai said to him, "Rabbi Joshua taught as follows: When there was an additional offering, the standing men did not assemble during the afternoon prayers; when a wood-offering was brought, they did not assemble at the time of the closing prayer." Then R. Akivah changed [his opinion] and taught like Ben Azzai.
§ 5. The times [of the delivery] of wood [for the altar] by priests and people, were on nine appointed days; on the 1st of Nissan, the family Arah ben Jehudah [delivered]; 7 on the 20th of Tamuz, the family of David ben Jehudah; on the 5th of Ab, the family of Parhos ben Jehudah; on the 7th, the family of Jonadab ben Rechab; on the 10th, the family of Sinha ben Benjamin; on the 15th, the family of Zatoo ben Jehudah, and with them priests and Levites, and all those who did not know from what tribe [they were descended], also the family of Gonebé Eli, and that of Kosehai Kesignot; and on the 20th, the family Pachat Moab ben Jehudah; on the 20th of Elul, the family Adeen ben Jehudah; on the 1st of Tebet, the family Parhos, for the second time. There was no meeting of the standing
men on the 1st of Tebet; because "Hallel" was sung, and an additional sacrifice and wood-offering were brought [on that day].
§ 6. Five [calamitous] events happened to our ancestors on the 17th of Tamuz, and five on the 9th of Ab. On the 17th of Tamuz, the tables of the Holy Law were broken; 8 on that day the continual sacrifice ceased, 9 and the city of Jerusalem was stormed; on it Opostamos burned the Holy Law, and placed an idol in the Temple; on the 9th of Ab, it was decreed that our ancestors should not enter the Holy Land; 10 on the same day the first and second Temples were destroyed 11 the city of Bethar was taken, 12 and the site of [Jerusalem] was ploughed [like a field 13]. From the 1st of Ab a person is bound to lessen his participation in joyous occasions [till after the fast on the 9th].
§ 7. During the week in which the 9th of Ab happens, it is prohibited to a person to shave himself, or to wash [his clothes 14], but on Thursday it is allowed in honour of the Sabbath. 15 On the day before the 9th of Ab, a person may not partake of two [different kinds] of cookeries [or dishes], eat meat, or drink wine thereon. Rabbon Simeon ben Gamaliel says "[It is sufficient to] alter [from one's customary mode of living]." R. Jehudah considers it obligatory to turn over the bed places, 16 but the sages do not agree in this.
§ 8. Rabbon Simeon hen Gamaliel says, "Never were more joyous festivals in Israel than the 15th of Ab and the day of atonement, for on them the maidens of Jerusalem used to go out dressed in white garments—borrowed ones, in order not to cause shame to
those who had them not of their own;—these clothes were also to be previously immersed, 17 and thus they went out and danced in the vineyards, saying, Young men, look and observe well whom you are about to choose [as a spouse]; regard not beauty [alone], but rather look to a virtuous family, for 'Gracefulness is deceitful, and beauty is a vain thing, but the woman that feareth the Lord, she is worthy of praise' (Prov. xxxi. 3); and it is also said (v. 31), 'Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.' And thus is it said [in allusion to this custom], 'Go out, maidens of Jerusalem, and look on King Solomon, and on the crown wherewith his mother has encircled [his head] on the day of his espousals, and on the day of the gladness of his heart' (Cant. iii. 11); 'the day of his espousals,' alludes to the day of the gift of the law, and 'the day of the gladness of his heart,' was that when the building of the Temple was completed." 18 May it soon be rebuilt in our days. Amen!
176:1 See our seventh note, p. 172, and the following section of this Mishna.
176:2 The wording and collocation of sentences in this section of the Mishna is so obscure as to appear contradictory and unintelligible, without much interpolation and alteration of the collocation of the sentences. The following appears to be its true sense:—"At three periods of the year, which are the fast-days, the fasts of the standing men, and on the day of atonement, the priests shall raise their hands thrice in each prayer, viz. in the morning, afternoon, and closing prayer, and in one of these [viz. the day of atonement, on which the מוסף, or additional prayer is said] four times."
176:3 To pray that the sacrifice may be favourably accepted.
176:4 To officiate in the temple, each in their proper station and appointed service.
176:5 Namely, the remainder, to whom, owing to the distance of the towns in which they lived, from Jerusalem, it was inconvenient to leave their places to go to Jerusalem.
177:6 See the next section.
177:7 The families here mentioned had the privilege of furnishing wood for the altar of burnt-offerings, having, at the rebuilding of the Temple after the Babylonian captivity, spontaneously supplied the altar with wood of their own. Compare Nehemiah vi.
178:8 See Exod. xxiv. and xxxii. from whence it appears that Moses must have descended after his forty days’ stay on the mountain on the 17th of Tamuz, because that is the exact number of days from the 7th of Sivan.
178:9 For want of cattle, the city being then closely besieged.
178:10 See Numbers xiv. 27, &c.
178:11 The first Temple by Nebuchadnezzar, and the second [also on the 9th of Ab] by Titus.
178:12 By the Emperor Adrian, when many thousands of Jews [580,000] were massacred.
178:13 As predicted (Jeremiah xxvi. 18), this took place about the same time as the preceding, when T. Rufus, governor of Judea, under Adrian, ploughed up the site of the Temple [and the city of Jerusalem]. See Jost's History of the Israelites, vol. iii. book x. chap. 10, p. 240.
178:14 Till after the fast.
178:15 This is when the 9th of Ab happened on a Friday, which cannot now happen in our present calendar.
178:16 It was customary among the ancient Israelites to turn over the couches on which they sate in the day and slept on at night, on an occasion, and as a sign, of mourning.
179:17 For fear of pollution of נדה, being borrowed clothes.
179:18 Moses brought down the second tables, and the Temple was dedicated by Solomon on the day of atonement.