Groups of Jews not from shevet Levi would work in the bes hamikdash, a week at a time. Their primary responsibility was attendance: being present when korb'nos tzibur, public offerings, were brought. (Source: e.g., commentaries to Taanis 2:7.)

Non-kohanim from shevet Levi ("l'viyim") also worked in the bes hamikdash. Among other things, they kept watch overnight and sang.

What did these people eat?

For example, did they go twice a day (or so) into Jerusalem to buy food? Did they brown-bag (so to speak)? from home? from a daily or every-other-day trip to Jerusalem? Did they buy food off of the gizbar (treasurer) of the bes hamikdash?[1] Was there perhaps a canteen on the har habayis? Or what? In short, what did they eat?

[1] Note that the bes hamikdash owned flour and, IIRC, birds that people could buy and use as offerings.

  • As always, indicating the source of your assumptions for your premise makes for a stronger question.
    – Seth J
    Oct 4, 2012 at 5:37
  • 1
    @SethJ, true, good point; thanks. I've added in most of them: I can't think at the moment where a source for my footnote is.
    – msh210
    Oct 4, 2012 at 6:38
  • Pretty sure Maseches Middos discusses, among the measurements, the accounting process they used for people to purchase flour, (birds?) and wine and redeem them within the temple complex with stamped tickets. Sep 27, 2017 at 19:27
  • There's a general prohibition of bringing chulin into the azara. presumably this means any food the leviim ate would have to be outside that area (basically just the ezras nashim)... Sep 27, 2017 at 19:31

1 Answer 1


They probably helped eat the Korbanot.

This would include:

  • תּוֹדָה - The thanksgiving offering and it's 40 loaves that had to be eaten before midnight (anywhere in Jerusalem).
  • אֵיל נָזִיר - If there was a Nazir, they could help eat his ram that had to be eaten before midnight (anywhere in Jerusalem).
  • שְׁלָמִים - the peace offering that had until the end of the next day (sunset) to be eaten.
  • מַּעֲשֵׂר - the 10% of each year's flock that had until the end of the next day (sunset) to be eaten.

They could also eat Ma'aser Sheni, that was often brought to the Mikdash, as we see in Tanach (E.g. Nehemiah Ch. 13)

  • How often did people bring Todos already? Also, IIRC the only non-Kohen who may eat a Shelamim is the one who brought it, so this doesn’t exactly help the OP. Finally, Ma’aser Beheimah, seemingly, was brought just once a year, shortly after RC Elul or Tishrei (see RH 1:1). Finally, Ma’aser Sheini may be eaten anywhere in Yerushalayim, and while it can be given as a gift, it can’t be sold (Ma’aser Sheini 1:1). So, in short, this list doesn’t exactly help much.
    – DonielF
    Jan 25, 2018 at 21:52
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    Please source the only non-Kohen who may eat a Shelamim is the one who brought it - which is wrong, AFAIK, as it says in my Sidur : שְׁלָמִים, קָדָשִׁים קַלִּים, שְׁחִיטָתָן בְּכָל מָקוֹם בָּעֲזָרָה, וְדָמָן טָעוּן שְׁתֵּי מַתָּנוֹת שֶׁהֵן אַרְבַּע, וְנֶאֱכָלִין בְּכָל הָעִיר, לְכָל אָדָם, בְּכָל מַאֲכָל, לִשְׁנֵי יָמִים וְלַיְלָה אֶחָד Jan 28, 2018 at 9:26
  • I did say IIRC. Apparently I didn’t.
    – DonielF
    Jan 28, 2018 at 14:46

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