In the Greek book commonly known as Second Maccabees (not generally recognized among Jews as being authoritative), there is a detail given about the rededication of the Second Temple where the relit flames were produced by striking flint.

10.3 They purified the sanctuary, and made another altar of sacrifice; then, striking fire out of flint, they offered sacrifices, after a lapse of two years, and they offered incense and lighted lamps and set out the bread of the Presence.

Are there any Jewish sources that support this idea that the proper way to get fire for sacred use in the Temple was to strike flint as opposed to other sources: for example a bow drill or an ember transferred from a existing fire?

It is possible that this is an authentic detail preserved by this writer (who from his preface clearly considers himself a historian). It could be what the Jews re-establishing the sacrifices felt was the right thing to do, but I do not know if it was strictly speaking a "requirement". Would it have been equally acceptable to bring a fire that has its original source elsewhere? The story of Aaron's sons and their "strange fire" might lead one to be especially careful in this and using the flint could have been seen as a precaution. Does anyone know of places in the Talmud or other sources that speak of this and the relevant concerns?

  • At any rate it is interesting that they wanted to use fire that was "created" in the beis ha'mikdash and did not use fire brought from the city.
    – The GRAPKE
    Dec 14, 2020 at 3:13
  • The flame on the altar was, generally speaking, always going (Lev 6:6), so this would be a rare question
    – Double AA
    Dec 14, 2020 at 3:16
  • 1
    The Anchor Bible translation is "using fire they got by igniting stones", and Goldstein speaks there about the embarrassment of God not lighting the altar himself (mishkan, first temple), and worrying about אש זרה like Nadav and Avihu. See also the second letter in chapter 1, where it's explained how they got fire in the second temple.
    – magicker72
    Dec 14, 2020 at 3:57


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