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Not sure the title has a clear meaning to the good people here -- if it can be edited to read better with respect to this site, please do so!

I am reading the Christian Bible and seeing many references to the morning and evening sacrifices, and to the feasts where worshippers would bring sacrifices to the Temple. I know there are periods when the Temple was destroyed and later rebuilt, and historical periods of foreign occupation.

I have books which tell me "Jewish customs were this snd that" -- and they all seem to be written by non-Jews for non-Jews. I'm not saying those authors are incorrect. But I'm wondering if there is a book or web-based resource from a Jewish source that can help a non-Jew understand more about the sacrifices.

Some specific questions are: -- how the times of the morning and evening sacrifices changed (if at all) with sunrise and sunset varying through the seasons? -- how the influx of worshippers during the feast times affected the offerings and sacrifices? (how did they handle all those offerings?? and how did the daily and Sabbath offerings not get lost in the midst of that?) -- during the times of foreign occupation (I'm thinking generally 200 BCE to 70 CE) where the Jews were allowed to worship in relative peace, did the daily, Sabbath, and feast sacrifices continue as of old? or were there changes required by the occupation?

Thank you. Ed

  • "how the times of the morning and evening sacrifices changed (if at all) with sunrise and sunset varying through the seasons?" I'm not sure I follow that. What timeframe of reference would they be using besides sunrise and sunset? – Double AA May 2 '18 at 16:53
  • Concerning certain offerings not getting lost or forgotten, there was a precise order of what was done each day which is enumerated on page 33a of tractate Yoma of the Talmud. Part of your question sounds like it is asking about how crowd management and the handling of livestock was performed. That needs to be clarified. Concerning you final questions about what impact non-Jewish occupation had on Temple service, that varied from occupier to occupier. – Yaacov Deane May 2 '18 at 17:35
  • Welcome to MY! Before going to the details with your particular questions, I suppose it'd be useful to see the laws of the sacrifices in general from a Jewish perspective. In the Artscroll Pentateuch (or Chumash) you can find quite much about it with illustrations as a start. After that we're looking forward to your trickier questions! – Kazi bácsi May 2 '18 at 18:04
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    @Double AA: My apologies for not being clear. I live in a desert part of the USA that's about the same latitude as Jerusalem. In the winter, sunrise and sunset are much different than in summer. My knowledge of the daily routines is very sparse, but it would seem that with a very compressed day in the winter, you could run from one task right into the next. Add in anything extra for a feast or Sabbath -- and so I wondered about perhaps a time range that allowed for adjustments. – EdNerd May 2 '18 at 18:44
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    @Yaacov Deane: re: livestock and crowd management -- I guess it would come down to that. I'm picturing several thousand extra people (and sacrifices) on a feast day, and wondering how you would keep the important daily rituals from "getting lost" in all the other activity. – EdNerd May 2 '18 at 18:51
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The daily morning and afternoon sacrifice (Tamid; see Exodus 30:38) had to be the first and last of each day. Their times were linked to sunrise and mid-afternoon.

  • More specifically, the latter was at 6.5 variable hours into the day, where one variable hour is defined as 1/12 the time from the beginning of the day to the end. I’ll let you decide between the MGA and the GRA what “beginning” and “end” means in this context. – DonielF Jun 10 '18 at 2:20
  • I'd suggest writing in present tense. These laws apply every day. We're just prevented from practically applying them. – Heshy Jul 9 '18 at 20:57
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Here is a link to to a video introduction (40 min.) to the order of Kodashim, which means holy items, referring to things pertaining to the Temple and sacrifices etc.

The main tractate (also the first) in the order which deals with general sacrifice details is called Zevachim - meaning sacrifices (זבחים).

The linked video above is a great overview of many things pertaining to yearly life in the temple. It includes great animations of the temple and services in it. There are many, many Hebrew terms thrown around in the video usually not translated, but often the equivalent English translation will be featured onscreen. The video is directed at students of the Talmud.

Take luck.

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I don't think there are many or really any primary sources for actual temple service. I would expect that with varying regimes there was some variation in service. For example, greek influence/occupation seems to have had a major impact on temple service. Up to replacing the temple of ezra with that of herod, during which period service was obviously disrupted. One imagine that if the temple didn't have any pure oil during teh hanukkah story there must have generally been issues of purity that disrupted other aspects of temple worship.

But like for any specific question of how precisely practice changed through time it seems simply a difficult question that probably can't be known.

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