1

Ta’anis (4:5):

זְמַן עֲצֵי כֹהֲנִים וְהָעָם, תִּשְׁעָה. בְּאֶחָד בְּנִיסָן, בְּנֵי אָרַח בֶּן יְהוּדָה. בְּעֶשְׂרִים בְּתַמּוּז, בְּנֵי דָוִד בֶּן יְהוּדָה. בַּחֲמִשָּׁה בְאָב, בְּנֵי פַרְעֹשׁ בֶּן יְהוּדָה. בְּשִׁבְעָה בוֹ, בְּנֵי יוֹנָדָב בֶּן רֵכָב. בַּעֲשָׂרָה בוֹ, בְּנֵי סְנָאָה בֶן בִּנְיָמִין. בַּחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר בּוֹ, בְּנֵי זַתּוּא בֶן יְהוּדָה, וְעִמָּהֶם כֹּהֲנִים וּלְוִיִּם וְכָל מִי שֶׁטָּעָה בְשִׁבְטוֹ, וּבְנֵי גוֹנְבֵי עֱלִי בְּנֵי קוֹצְעֵי קְצִיעוֹת. בְּעֶשְׂרִים בּוֹ, בְּנֵי פַחַת מוֹאָב בֶּן יְהוּדָה. בְּעֶשְׂרִים בֶּאֱלוּל, בְּנֵי עָדִין בֶּן יְהוּדָה. בְּאֶחָד בְּטֵבֵת שָׁבוּ בְנֵי פַרְעֹשׁ שְׁנִיָּה. בְּאֶחָד בְּטֵבֵת לֹא הָיָה בוֹ מַעֲמָד, שֶׁהָיָה בוֹ הַלֵּל וְקָרְבַּן מוּסָף וְקָרְבַּן עֵצִים:

The times of the wood of the priests and the people was nine:On the first of Nisan the family Arah of Yehudah. On the twentieth of Tammuz the family of David of Yehudah. On the fifth of Av the family of Parosh of Yehudah. On the seventh of the same month, the family of Yonadav of Rechav. On the tenth of the same month, the family of Snaah of Benjamin. 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. On the twentieth of the same month the family of Pahat Moav of Yehudah. On the twentieth of Elul the family of Adin of Yehudah. On the first of Tevet the family of Parosh of Yehudah [offered] a second time. On the first of Tevet there was no maamad for there was Hallel, Musaf and the wood-festival.

We see from this mishna that 6 out of the 8 families that gave wood were from the tribe of Yehuda (and one of them brought twice, making it arguably 7 out of 9). Why did especially the tribe of Yehuda bring wood offerings? Why are the offerings so unequally divided?

2

R. Ovadiah miBartenura on this mishnah explains that these dates were set at the beginning of the Second Temple period, when the returnees from Bavel donated wood to the Temple.

Since the population of Galut Bavel was overwhemingly composed of people from the tribe of Yehudah (the ten tribes having been exiled earlier by Sancheriv), it would make sense that those donating wood on their return to Eretz Yisrael would be predominantly from that tribe.

  • I wonder about that, though. According to the figures in Ezra and Nechemiah, there were only about twice as many people from Yehudah as from Binyamin. (And Binyamin had the largest single family - Senaah, with 3630 or 3930 people - yet that family donated for only 5 days!) – Meir Jul 1 at 15:55

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