There are certain, rituals such as the sending away of the scapegoat on Yom Kippur or the drawing of water on Sukkot which are described in Mishna as relating geographically to the location of the Beit HaMikdash. I would assume these, and any other location-based rituals, were performed during the time of the Mishkan (in Shiloh). Therefore I would like to know if the locations were different during the times of the Mishkan, eg. did they not send the scapegoat to בית חדודו (Mishna, Yoma 6:8) but rather a different place, or did they use the same geographic locations that would eventually be used in the times of the Beit HaMikdash?


2 Answers 2


A partial answer, addressing only the question of the scapegoat on Yom Kippur:

Firstly, your assumption that this ritual was performed during the time of the Mishkan in Shiloh (as well as earlier times) is borne out by a beraita quoted in Yoma 67b:

המדברה המדברה במדבר לרבות נוב וגבעון שילה ובית עולמים

“Into the wilderness” (Leviticus 16:10), “into the wilderness” (Leviticus 16:21), and “in the wilderness” (Leviticus 16:22), to include Nov and Givon and Shiloh, when the Tabernacle was located there, and the eternal Temple.

As to the location of the ritual during the times of Shiloh, see this article (Hebrew) by Netanel Elinson and Yair Tiktin.

In it, they quote a couple of suggestions by earlier scholars:

  • R. Meir Koznitz suggests that it was the same place as was used later in the times of the Mikdash, which he identifies as the cliffs overlooking Nahal Michmash (Wadi es-Suweinit) (map).
  • Dr Dov Ashbel suggests that the location was Sartaba (Alexandrium) (map).

They themselves believe that these locations are too far from the site of the Mishkan in Shiloh, and instead propose the cliffs overlooking Wadi Rashash (map).

  • Rambam Hilchos Avodas Yom Hakippurim 5:22 דְּחָפוֹ וְנָפַל הַשָּׂעִיר וְלֹא מֵת. יֵרֵד אַחֲרָיו וִימִיתֶנּוּ בְּכָל דָּבָר שֶׁמְּמִיתוֹ. וְאֵיבְרֵי שָׂעִיר זֶה מֻתָּרִין בַּהֲנָיָה: Aug 12, 2020 at 14:12
  • Which means he paskens like the other opinion, so he does not have the Drasha of BaMidbar for this, which seems to say that he also holds it didn't happen in the Midbar. Aug 12, 2020 at 14:13
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    Note that this derasha takes it as a given that their was a sa’ir in the desert. It’s using the extra words to include Nov Givon Shiloh and Beit Hamikdash. So if it’s really true that Rambam disregards the din of this beraita, then there would be no sa’ir in Beit Hamikdash either, which is obviously untenable
    – Joel K
    Aug 12, 2020 at 14:45
  • Ya, you're right. Probably didn't need a Pasuk because it was assumed I guess. Aug 12, 2020 at 14:59

The Ramban al Hatorah, here says that there were no Mussafim on the Yamim Tovim in the Midbar.

The Nissuch Hamayim is very complicated as the Gemara in Taanit says that it is permissible to be brought at night. Korbanot can not be brought at night. Does that mean that the Nissuch Hamayim is not an Avodah, or it is and it has an exception?

This does not really help though, as it seems that the Ramban does hold they happened in the Mishkan, and he doesn't specify where the Sair was sent.

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    I don’t think Rambam means there were no musafim when the Mishkan was in shilo
    – Joel K
    Aug 11, 2020 at 21:08
  • Thats's how I read this part והזכיר בפרשה הזו כבש העומר וכבשי עצרת כי בידוע שלא ינהגו אלא בארץ שהן באים בגלל הלחם, and I assumed he was extrapolating for all of them. Aug 11, 2020 at 21:10
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    I don’t understand what you see in that line. These offerings were not brought in the desert, but were once they entered the land, which presumably would include the hundreds of years that the Mishkan was at Shilo, before the building of the Beit Hamikdash.
    – Joel K
    Aug 12, 2020 at 4:36
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    Also, there almost certainly was a שעיר לעזאזל in the desert; the Ramban that you quote says that the Yom Kippur avodah took place in the desert.
    – Joel K
    Aug 12, 2020 at 11:39
  • Yes, the Ramban does single out the Yom Kippur Avodah (not sure which parts), but he does explicitly say אבל לא האריך לבאר המוספים שלא רצה שינהגו להם במדבר, seems like the Yom Kippur Avodah only happened once also. Aug 12, 2020 at 14:03

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