Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Timeline of the Tamid

I am preparing a new presentation for this summer called Timeline of the Tamid which will be a walkthrough of the entire morning Tamid service. One of the things I hope to clarify is the schedule of when all these events took place — the time of day and how long they took. I think most people will be surprised to learn just how early in the morning the Tamid was offered each day!

There are only a handful of places in the Mishnah where actual times are referenced, and so the entire timeline is based upon establishing those times and then filling in the others as realistically as possible. These will be discussed in more detail below, but the two which become the most important are the first and last. We know that the day started when the Memuneh (a Temple official) arrived to conduct the first lottery, and the Mishnah says that he arrived around dawn (72 minutes before sunrise). We also know that the Kohanim recited Shema (one of the later steps in the Tamid service) earlier than the proper time, and the proper time is just before sunrise. This means that the bulk of the Tamid service — including the lamb's slaughter and blood applications — was completed in about an hour and took place before sunrise.