When did the morning sacrifice begin?
אמר להם הממנה, צאו וראו אם הגיע זמן השחיטה. אם הגיע, הרואה אומר ברקאי. מתיא בן שמואל אומר: האיר פני כל המזרח עד שהוא בחברון, והוא אומר הין.
The one appointed [to give out roles in offering the morning sacrifice] would say to them, “Go look [up on the roof to see] if the time to slaughter has arrived.” If it had arrived, the one who saw [the sunrise] would say, “Morning has broken.” Matya son of Shmuel says [that they would announce], “The eastern horizon is all lit up.” [The leader would ask], “Until Hebron?” He would say, “Yes.”
The first rite of morning and the final rite of the afternoon in the Jerusalem Temple was the presentation of the communal burnt offering (olah tamid). This tractate of Mishnah provides great detail about the many tasks involved in the preparation of the altar, utensils, and sacrifice. Read two thousand years after the Temple altar was demolished, this Mishnah gives a sense of the intense focus and power experienced by those involved in the Temple service (avodah).
- A sense of eagerness to perform the sacrifice at the earliest permitted time pervades this mishnah. When are you eager to do a mitzvah?
- Do you think that eagerness leads to intensity or to superficiality?