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Am Yisrael sings 13: installations and accessories relating to the music of the temple

The architectural changes that Herod introduced in the temple he built that were not in the Second Temple until his time included facilities intended for music - such as a pulpit and steps for funerals, chambers for musical instruments and more

The front of the Temple built by King Herod. From the model of Jerusalem in the Israel Museum (formerly Holyland). Image:
The front of the Temple built by King Herod. From the model of Jerusalem in the Israel Museum (formerly Holyland). Image:

In the discussed chapter we will highlight a number of facilities and accessories that were a significant expression regarding the organization of music in the temple, a mirror examination of the institution of music. The facilities in question were an integral part of King Herod's temple architecture. That is, many items and data that were initially taken into account. Different, to a certain extent, from the second temple of the days of Ezra and Nehemiah until the time of Herod, and it is a fundamental change of great significance to the topic of our discussion.

The Levite "booth".

On this device the Levites-poets would stand and sing. The "booth" became over time the accepted destination of the Levites. Indeed, every morning, "Gevini (the) Proclaimer" used to announce in this language: "The priests to work, and the Levites to the pulpit, and Israel to the stand" (Jerusalem Talmud, Shekelim, chapter XNUMX, MHXNUMX p. XNUMX). The emphasis and accentuation of the fact that the Levites sang on the "pulpit" stood out in the sources, where they said the "speaker" in poetry.

The valiant affinity that existed between the Levites-poets and the "pulpit" was so great that it served as sufficient evidence for Levi's attribution, such as - "There is no Bodkin, not from the altar and above (the one who checks mothers and finds that one of her ancestors was used on the altar, there is no need to check his mothers, according to what was already checked when he began to work in the temple) and not from the pulpit and above (if he found among the ancestors of the woman a Levi who said he sang on the pulpit in the temple, there is no need to check for his mothers, who was certainly privileged..." (From Kiddoshin 5:XNUMX), since the Levites who sang on The "Dukhan" constituted the elite among the entire Helaviya family, and for that reason they made sure to check not only their musical ability, but also their pedigree, according to which they were allowed to get on the "Dukhan" and sing.

As for the location of the "stand", its shape and structure, the sources we have do not help much. Even so, a conditional passage may tear open a window of clues for examining the problem. "Rabbi Eliezer ben Ya'akov says: There was a height (between Ezerat Israel and Ezerat the priests) and its height (=68 cm) and the pulpit (on which the Levites stand and sing) is placed on it, and it has three degrees (in another version - "in it", in "the pulpit" ) that pressed (so in the text) her mother (and they come to the aid of the priests). The help of the priests is higher than the help of Israel by two and a half cubits..." (Misnath Midod 6:XNUMX).

That is, this facility contained three degrees and a total of 1.5 cubits (102 cm). These steps - the "pulpit" - were actually fenced along the entire length of the priests' ezrat, and the priests' ezrat according to the Mishnah stretched along 135 cubits (ie 91.8 m).

Some argue, such as Hollis (The Archeology of Herod's Temple), that it is unreasonable to assume that the "pulpit" was permanently erected between the priests' aid and Israel's aid, since it was clear that these chambers were adjacent to each other, and the width of the "pulpit" ranged from three to four cubits ( 2.04-2.72 m). In his opinion, the word "given" that appears in the Mishna - "and the pulpit is placed on it" - is meant to imply that this is a temporary, mobile, and not permanent facility. It was probably a wooden surface/board, the thickness of half a cubit (34 cm), and it is possible that there was some structure placed above it. Even in the word "found" that appeared in the Mishna, the above-mentioned claimant believed that the hand of a certain sage who tried to draw the image of the "pulpit" located between the two chambers, was in the correction of the above-mentioned Mishna.

I am not so sure that this is a temporary and mobile facility, and this is due to the proximity of the "lamb", the "sink" and the "slaughter house" to the "stall". However, in any case, the "pulpit" was probably located near the "Shear Shi'ar", since the inner portion of the house was divided into two - a rather narrow strip, along the wall in the east, was used as the portion of Israel, and the rest as the portion of the priests. According to the mishna, stone pillars separated the Israel Chamber from the priests' aid, and in its language: "the heads of psipsis" (from Midot 6:XNUMX) and apparently immediately after them stood the "pulpit", which was built three degrees high.

At the head of the "stand" stood Ben Arza, who was in charge of ringing the bell and he was ready and alert for the signal to be given by the lieutenant. The lieutenant was standing "on the horn with the sudras in his hand and two priests standing on the milking table (a marble table that was on the west side of the lamb and on which they would give the organs) and two silver trumpets in their hands. They poked and cheered and poked, came (the two piercers and stood by Ben Arza, one to his right and one to his left (and this was in terms of a sign to Ben Arza). The (priest) swam to the prince and the lieutenant waved the sodrin and Kish ben Arza played the bell and the Levites spoke (cracked) the Levites with a song..." (Mishnat Tamim 3 XNUMX).

All the above-mentioned moves had to be carried out in an exemplary order, with great timing and precision. The priests who perform the stabbings waited vigilantly during the ceremony and knew exactly when the priest was going to officiate. They blew trumpets, blew and cheered and blew. And they immediately placed themselves next to Ben Erza. At that hour, the lieutenant watched with exemplary vigilance the priest standing for the prince, and when he swam to the prince, the lieutenant waved his sodrim, and this was a sign to Ben Erza, since Ben Erza could not see from his place (a "dead" area) what was happening near the altar, a place that was subject only to the observation of the lieutenant and the priests before to stick And when Ben Erza gave the signal with the cymbals, two parallel ceremonies took place - the mixing of the wine and the singing and playing of the Levites. These two ceremonies could only have been performed with masterful timing of an interesting order of operations.

It is possible that the "pulpit" is derived from the Greek - "duchaion", we were a kind of atzaba, and if so, it is possible that it is a facility, a structure that originates from a Greek-Hellenistic influence, like those facilities that were used by the sacred, urban and competitive choirs in the rich and colorful musical performances, those that were held, months to mornings, in the Greek-Hellenistic city), an influence in the period in question was by no means unusual. 

Fifteen Levitical degrees

The Mishnah recounted as follows: "... and her part was (the help of women) at first, and the kipfu as a trumpet (the kipfu, then, in the balcony) which the women see (with the joy of the house of the Shu'a'a) from above (when they stand on that balcony) and the people from below, so that they are not mixed up (in the confusion). And fifteen virtues arise from it to help Israel against the fifteen virtues in the Psalms (Psalms XNUMX-XNUMX - Psalms of the "Song of the Merits"), about which the Levites sing a song (in the joy of the house of worship). (The steps) were not (long and straight) trots, but surrounded (rounded in the middle) like half a round threshing floor."

These virtues were found between the help of women and the help of Israel, with the intermediary - the magnificent gate of Nicanor. The Levites stood on them and performed the musical ceremony of Simchat Beit HaShuava. This joy (about which we will discuss later) was, in terms of the height of the joy that was practiced in the Temple. After all, he who did not see the joy of the house of the Shuava, did not see joy in his day as is accepted by tradition.

It should be noted that the number of Levites who took part in the musical performance, both vocal and instrumental, was the largest of all temple ceremonies, as evidenced by the sources. And therefore it seems that the "booth" could not be enough for all this musical baggage, and they were used for another structure. Moreover, the character of the Beit HaShuava joy, like all the joys of the pilgrimage, was popular-public, and it is appropriate that there should be contact, almost unmediated, between the participating audience and the choir that was stationed on the XNUMXth of the Ma'alat. And it would not be far from assuming that this structure was especially adapted for rich and colorful musical performances. Or at least it was created for that purpose, and this from both the visual and the acoustic point of view, because this structure, with the help of which it was possible to produce the most of the musical effect needed and to exhaust the visual experience to the fullest.

This structure did not appear in the Second Temple before Herod's time. It is a Herodian architectural structure, that is, of the period in question. It is indeed possible that the number of degrees, fifteen in number, was chosen from the beginning, before the construction, which may point to a very interesting conclusion, and this regarding the symbolic intersection between holiness, music and architecture. On the other hand, it may well be that we are faced with confusion from the sources in terms of finding a justification for the number of virtues.

Either way, we can't decide. However, both of the above options together strengthen the assumption regarding the interesting musical aspect of the period discussed in the current chapter.

The cover of the song

According to the Mishnah, gates were placed "in the north, close to the west: the Yachnia Gate, the Sacrifice Gate, the Women's Gate, the Song Gate" (Shekels 3:112). Some believe that the very fact of mentioning "the song's gate" without explanation indicates that the reason for this was known and understood (Y. Geshori, Jerusalem the City of Music from the Second Temple Period, 220, p. 299). Some believe that the choir of the Levites probably gathered there (Hollis, above, p. 329) and in their opinion, this gate is also called the "Gate of the Spark" (above, p. 328). This is "Beit Nitzo", to the east of "Beit Moked", opposite the "Sacrifice Gate". And in contrast to them, Albek claims that "Beit Moked" was western to "Shear Shir" (Six series Mishna, Seder Kedshim, between pp. XNUMX-XNUMX), and it is, in my opinion, the one that follows the descriptions of the Mishna with great precision and care, and so according to the reconstruction of the Second Beth At the foot of the "Holyland" hotel in Jerusalem.

Chambers of musical instruments

The Mishnah tells us that "And the chambers were under the help of Israel and open to the help of the women, where the Levites gave violins and harps and cymbals and every musical instrument..." (Midot 6:XNUMX). These were found next to the structure of the XNUMX degrees of the Levites.

The open chambers, as mentioned, allowed the multitudes who came to the temple to observe the musical instruments laid out and to be impressed by them, which served as one of the points of attraction to Jerusalem, to the temple, along with many other factors and tastes.

These installations, like the mountains of installations presented above, constitute an examination of tiny cubes that create as one picture, an interesting mosaic about the development, organization and establishment of temple music in the period under discussion.

The sound of the goal from Jericho

The Tanait tradition, which enumerates during the voyage the sounds that emanated from Jerusalem, from the Temple, and were heard all the way to Jericho, indicates, along with the singing of the Levites, the flute, the rake and more, that "at Jericho they would hear the sound of the great gate being opened" (Timid 8:XNUMX).

It seems that for the second it is a special reason. Mechanical, somewhat automatic installations were known in the ancient world, such as those that were based on air pressure and when the gates in the temple were opened, special sounds would be produced, to the support and surprise of the population that came through its gates, spectators and other passers-by. And it should be noted that later on in the period in question, the idea of ​​ringing bells on the doors of houses became a pervasive and common sight.

Although we do not attach a musical meaning to the installation of the gate, in terms of musical instruments, it seems that it deserved to be mentioned, not only because it deserved to be counted among the sounds that erupted in Jerusalem and their voice echoed as far as Jericho, but because it was firmly planted in the landscape of the new installations and accessories that were discovered in Jerusalem, from the days of the Herodian temple girls to to the destruction of the second house.

Conclusion and summary

Josephus told how Gesius Florus, the Roman commissioner in Judea, near the year 66 CE, marched his troops towards Jerusalem. The priests gathered and gathered the people on the Temple Mount and begged them to go out to meet the Roman cohorts and greet them, and this before it engulfed them. But the rebels stirred up the public and "then all the priests and servants of Jehovah's house came out and carried before them the vessels of the temple and the garments of the priesthood in which they were serving in the sanctuary, and the musicians and poets (the Levites) who were in the temple took with them the instruments of song and they all fell at the feet of the people and bowed their faces to guard the instruments The holy which is in their hands and without opening a mouth for the Romans to despise the treasures of God's house" (Wars of the Jews in Romans, XNUMX:XNUMX, XNUMX). These, in this act, succeeded in calming the people and allaying their anger. But as we know, not for long.

It is likely that a tendentious spirit was present in the above text, since Yosef ben Matthiyehu was a priest, and he wanted to single out words of extreme praise for the priests' anxiety and sensitivity to the fate of the people. However, one way or another, this story may point to the great importance that the Jewish public felt for sacred instruments, including musical instruments, a feeling that deepened throughout the years of the house.

The fate of all sacred instruments in general, and of the temple musical instruments in particular, is shrouded in a thick fog. The Jewish tradition knows how to tell as follows: "When the priests and the Levites saw that the Temple was burning, they took the violins (so in the text) and the trumpets and fell into the fire and were burned" (Pasikta Raba 45, XNUMX), to teach us about the recognition deeply engraved in the tradition of the absolute identity between the sacred service and The music, because they asked the holy servants to die for the sanctification of Hashem together with their important instruments and for them.

And according to a late Midrash (Mishnayot, Tractate of Vessels, Ya'alinek Edition, Beit Midrash, Second Room, pp. 91-88) five tzaddiks put away the temple vessels.

However, as is known, some of the tools fell into the hands of the Romans and these were presented in the triumph, in the flamboyant victory campaign that was held as a common tradition in Rome, and were later engraved in honor on the triumphal arch, Titus' arch/Gate of Titus. In this relief the long trumpet stands out, the priestess is so similar. Whether it was the temple trumpet or the trumpet closest to the "tuba" instrument - the famous Roman wind instrument we cannot determine, however the Romans, as a people who adored the wind instrument, and perhaps in the military, colorful context, chose, perhaps, precisely the trumpet of all the musical instruments of a house the temple

In the first part of this chapter, I sought to highlight the fact that from the construction of the Herodian Temple onwards, due to many and varied data, including external and internal political, economic and social, and after a long period of experimentation and learning lessons, temple music reached its peak in all respects.

I have tried to emphasize so far, throughout my research on the subject, the assumption that this music, which was born in the days of the Second Temple, was intended, among other things, to strengthen the bond between the people and their temple. Music served as one of the most important elements in the development, nurturing and consolidation of this affinity.

This music, with the exception of the Tamim service that was held every day (morning and evening) in the Temple, reached its peak and embodied its glory in the treatise on the public holidays that the people of Israel knew during the Second Temple period, and especially and especially in the three pilgrimages. These holidays, in their special situation,

They made a significant contribution to the temple music, and it returned them many times over. And so, we must now examine the musical relationship between the tractate of the holidays and the temple, or in other words: between the people and their temple in the musical aspect.

And as a final sentence, I say that it should not be seen as a mere coincidence that the music of the temple reached its peak from the time the Herodian Temple was built and onwards, and the evidence of the pilgrimages are also central to the period under discussion. 

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