The Minchat Chavitin is brought each day by the Koken ha Gadol (High Priest). The Minchat Chinuch (this word is related to the word “Chanukah” which means “dedication”) is brought by each kohen the first time he serves in the Temple. In addition, the High Priest brings a Minchat Chinuch the first time he serves as Kohen ha Gadol. Both menachot are made into 12 loaves of matzah (unleavened bread). The oil and flour for each loaf are mixed individually. The menachot have the same order, except that only half the Minchat Chavitin is brought in the morning and the rest in the afternoon. The oil and flour for the morning and afternoon loaves of the Chavitin are separated before preparation. A kometz is not separated from a minchah brought by a kohen; rather, the entire korban is burnt on the Mizbeach.
The kohen involved in these are chosen by lot and this takes place near the end of the morning and afternoon service. The bakers started in the south at the Nicanor Gate bakery. Another bakery is in the northwest chamber (Beit ha Moked) in a room in the southeast corner of that building.
This is an unusual korban. It combines the Korban Yachid (a korban by one person) and the Korban Tzibor (communal offering). It is offered by the Kohen ha Gadol but it is done in a communal service so it “expands” to everyone. The ingredients mentioned above must be paid for by the Kohen ha Gadol with his own money. It must be brought at a fixed time and it had to be baked on the Sabbath because it had to be fresh. The grinding and the sifting was done outside the Azarah before the Sabbath. The oil and flour for each loaf is done individually. The steps for both the Minchat Chavitin and the Minchat Chinuch are: put flour into a vessel and knead with a little water. Then mix in the oil and then boiled. It is baked partially on a Machvat pan (it has bumps or “raised” areas) and fried with oil. Then you fold the bread without breaking it and then you put on the levona. It is then brought to the Altar at the southwest corner where it is salted and burned.
Wine in the Temple must have been fermented at least 40 days and not more than 2 years. This is the responsibility of the “Gizbar” of the Treasury. He checks the wine and the ingredients. The wine came from special vineyards and it is worked over two times a year and dedicated to the Temple. This would insure that the vineyard followed all the halachot (how to walk in Torah) like tithing, gleanings, planting, etc. The wine was processed into small barrels and not filled to the top to preserve a “bouquet.” The wine used was from the middle section of the barrel. The bottom was called the “dregs” and the top could have mold. Those ascending the Altar walked up the ramp on the right side and went around the Altar counter-clockwise. They came down going down the left side of the ramp. The libations were poured out at the southwestern corner of the Altar. The kohen went directly to this corner after he went up the ramp (kevesh) and there he found two holes of different sizes. To walk up this ramp and circle around to this corner was 90 amot (approximately 180 feet). The reason why they walked up the ramp on the right side and went counter-clockwise was because the smoke or flame from the fires on the Altar would invalidate the wine libation. If a kohen was already circling the Altar another kohen would hold the libation until he got to the southwestern corner. It also made sense for a safety reason if everyone knew where to go and in what direction everyone was going on the Altar, which was 15 feet high and had three huge fires going at all times. It can get smokey up there depending on the wind.
The wine pouring ceremony was extended on Sukkot during the Beit ha Shoevah ceremony (house of the water-pouring). There will be more on this later. This ceremony took place at the same time the libation ceremony took place during the daily Tamid ceremony. Water and wine were poured out at the southwestern corner and like we mentioned before, the two holes there were of different sizes. One hole was for the wine and the other was for the water. This libation service is called “Nesachim” and it was the most colorful part of the Tamid service because this was when the Levitical choir would begin singing the daily psalm. Singing was also done during the communal Olah.
The Levites were divided up into 24 Mishmarot (courses) just like the priests. A minimum of 12 Levites were required for the choir. Levitical children cannot stand on the Duchan, but they can stand in front of their fathers in the area right before the Duchan and sing along with them. These children were called “The tormentors of the Levi’im” because the choir could not make their voices sound as “sweet” as the children.
Now, 2 of the 15 memunay (officers) of the Temple were involved in the Shirim (songs). This means officers of the Temple did not need to be kohanim. The memunay in charge of the “Meshor” (choir) chooses at least 12 singers for each “Shir” (song). In Isa 42.10 we have the phrase “Sing to the Lord a new song.” In Hebrew, “new song” is “chadash shir” which is masculine. It is usually “chadash shirah” which is feminine. Why the difference? This alludes to the fact that the new song is being sung because the Messiah (masculine) has come (Psa 96.1, 149.1). The Exodus was the first redemption, and when Yeshua comes it will be the second redemption. Our musical scale today is 8 scales. The Kinnor is a stringed instrument with 10 strings. When Messiah comes, there will be a 10 note scale and this is the new song.
Another memunay is in charge of the cymbals called the “tzil tzal.” The cymbal “keeps time” for the choir. You will also have 2-6 lyres (kinnor) and at least 9 harps called a “Nevel.” There will also be at least 2 to 120 silver trumpets called “Chatzotzorim” and 2-12 flutes called “Chayil” which means pierced. This is a clear allusion to Yeshua who was pierced for our transgressions. These are the instruments that accompanied the Levitical choir.
These instruments were stored in 2 chambers beneath the Ezrat Israel (Court of the Israelites). As you come into the Ezrat Nashim (Court of the Women) and as you approach the western wall of that court, there is a door between the 15 steps leading to the Nicanor Gate and the southern wall. The northern side also has a gate. These doors lead to beneath the eastern wall of the Azarah. The Court of Israel is 7 1/2 cubits (approximately 14 feet) higher than the Ezrat Nashim (Court of the Women) and the instruments are stored in chambers underneath the Azarah. The musicians are not required to be Levi’im but most of them were.
The Magrafa is an instrument we have mentioned before. It is a “bag-pipe” type instrument and when it played it was a signal for the choir to get ready. It was also sounded when the wine libation was given over to the kohen to pour. Cues on what to do were given all day for something to happen. Two kohanim stand on the “Shulchan ha Levi’im” which was a marble table on the west side of the ramp where the limbs of various korbanot were palced before going up on the Altar. The other table was silver, with tools for the Altar on it. The limbs were placed on the marble table rather than the silver table (metal) because it was cooler to set meat on.
The number 13 is a sacred number in the Temple. For example, there are 13 tables in the Temple, 13 tribes with Levi, 13 gates to the Azarah, 13 shofar-shaped chests for giving in the Treasury and 13 prostrations. The 2 kohanim on the table blow silver trumpets as a signal for the Levi’im to take their places on the Duchan platform. The Duchan is a platform 1 1/2 amot high with three steps 1/2 amot each. It is right as you enter into the Azarah and along the west side of the Court of the Israelites. That is where the choir stands. Those in the Ezrat Israel won’t be able to see what is happening because the Levitical choir is in front of them on steps totaling 1 1/2 amot, or about 2 feet high. But, those in the Court of Israel can hear what is going on. He can hear the Great Gate opening, he hears the Magrafa, the silver trumpets blowing, the cymbals, the harps, the lyres, the flutes and the choir singing and he knows exactly what is going on and what accompanies these signals.
In Part 8 we will pick up here with when do they blow the silver trumpets and move on to the other menachot.