- Guarding the Beis Hamikdash Quiz

Guarding the Beis Hamikdash Quiz

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Guarding the Beis Hamikdash Quiz

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Segment 1               Esther Livingstone
Guarding the Beis Hamikdash
It is a mitzvas aseh for the  Kohanim and Levi’im to guard the Beis Hamikdash every night (Bamidbar  18:2 & 4).  These watchmen were not needed for protection, but were there to impress the greatness of The Beis Hamikdash upon the Jewish people, for a guarded building evokes awe upon its visitors, like a king’s palace. (Hil Beis Habechirah 8:1)

1.    How many watchmen in total would stand guard each night?
2.    How many of these were Kohanim, and how many were Levi’im?
3.    Which of them manned inside positions, and which manned outside positions- ie- they were standing outside?
4.    How many gates were there to the Har Habayis/The Temple Mount where guards stood?
5.    Would the Kohanim who stayed up all night as watchmen also participate in the avodah the next day?
6.    What happened if any of these special watchmen fell asleep at his post during the night?
7.    All the Kohanim in Eretz Yisroel were divided into how many groups?
8.    For how many weeks at a time would each group serve in the Beis Hamikdash?
9.    What were these groups called? 
10.     What is a Beis Av?
11.    Where were the keys to the azara /courtyard kept overnight?


1.    Twenty four watchmen stood guard each night. (Hil Beis Habechira 8:4)
2.    Three were Kohanim and twenty one were Levi’im.  (Hil Beis Habechira  8:4)
3.    Kohanim manned  inside positions, Levi’im the outside ones. (Hil Beis Habechira 8:4)
4.    They stood at five gates of the Har Habayis. (Hil Beis Habechira 8:8)
5.    No, as they would not be able to do the avodah properly, having not slept the previous night. (Avodas Hakorbanos p.3)
6.    The memune/administrator over the watchmen, who checked up on them throughout the night, would hit him with a stick or singe his garments.  A king’s honour demands that his guards should always be at their posts. (Hil Beis Habechira 8:10). 
7.    They were divided into twenty four groups, and this was done by David HaMelech and Shmuel HaNavi.
8.    Each group served for one week at a time, on a rotating basis.
9.    They were called a Mishmar /mishmaros (plural). 
10.     Each weekly mishmar of Kohanim was further divided into family subgroups called batei avos; and each Beis Av was assigned one specific day during the week to do the avodah. (Q: 7,8,9,10 -Avodas Hakorbanos p 3)
11.    The kohanim would sleep in the Beis Hamoked/ Chamber of the Hearth.  The elders of the Beis Av of that day would sleep with the keys to the azara in their hands. (Hil Beis Habechira 8: 5)

Sefer Ha’Avodah- Rambam- Commentary by Rav Eliyahu Touger- Pub-Moznaim -2007 Avodas Hakorbanos- by Rav Aharon HaKohen (Kagan ) Translation- Rabbi Moshe Weiss –   
      Artscroll 2020   
The Taryag Mitzvos -by Rabbi Aharon Yisroel Kahan- Keser Torah Publications- 1988

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