The officer (the memunay) said to them, “Recite ye a benediction!” They recited a benediction (a blessing) and recited the Ten Commandments, the Shema and the “And it shall come to pass if ye hearken,” (Deut 11.13-21) and the “And the Lord spoke unto Moses (Num 15.37-41).” They pronounced three benedictions with the people: “True and sure”; and “Avodah” (The Temple Service; one of the 18 Benedictions) and the Priestly Blessing (Num 6.24-26); and on the Sabbath they pronounce a further benediction for the outgoing course of priests.
He said to them, “Ye that are new to the incense preparation, come and cast lots” (they could only do this one time in their life, but the High Priest could do it anytime he wished) and they cast lots, and the lot fell upon whom it fell. “Both ye that are new to it and ye that are not, come and cast lots (this was another lot, a second group), which of you shall take up the members (of the lamb) from the ramp to the Altar.” R. Eleazar ben Jacob says: “He that takes up the members to the ramp takes them up also upon the Altar” (there were three fires on the Altar. One was for the coals for the incense service, one was for the Olah (burnt offering) and the other had nothing on it. They would stand on the ramp and toss the pieces of the lamb to the appropriate fire, and they could not miss).
The other priests they delivered to the ministers of the Temple (assisted the memunay). These stripped them of the raiment (priestly) and left them in their drawers only (in the Chamber of Hewn Stone). There were wall-niches there whereon was written the names of the several articles of raiment (turban, undergarment, sash and tunic).
He to whom fell the lot of offering the incense took the ladle. The ladle was like a large golden three-kab measure (pictures of these things can be seen on the Temple Institute site), holding three kabs; within it was a dish (censor), heaped up full of incense. It had a lid and over this, a kind of covering (it had a pomegranate on it).
He whose lot it was to bear the firepan took the silver firepan and went to the top of the Altar and cleared away the cinders on this side and on that, scooped up fire with the firepan, came down and emptied it out and into the golden firepan (to distinguish between the kedusha and the common. Only gold could be used in the Sanctuary); there was spilled from it a kab of cinders which he swept away into the water channel (the Amah we have taught about before, this went to Akeldama). On the Sabbath he put an upturned psachter over them (this duty in the Temple could not override the Sabbath, like other duties did). The psachter was a large vessel holding a lethek (91 liters), and on it was two chains; with one of them they pulled to lower it (down the ramp), and the other it was held firm from above so that it would not roll. It was used for three things: it was put upside down over the cinders or over a creeping thing (like a dead rodent, etc) on the Sabbath, and with it they lowered the ashes upon the Altar (down the ramp). When they reached the space between the Porch and the Altar, one of them took the magrefah (bag-pipe type instrument) and cast it (made a noise on it) between the Porch and the Altar, and in Jerusalem none could hear his fellow’s voice by reason of the noise of the magrefah (meaning it was very loud). It was used for three things: when a priest heard the noise of it he knew that his brethren the priests had entered in to prostrate themselves, and he ran and came also; and when a Levite heard the noise of it he knew that his brethren the Levites were gone in to sing (at the Duchan), and he ran and came also, and when he heard the noise of it the chief of the Ma’amad (the standing men from all 24 districts) made the unclean to stand at the Eastern Gate (this was to show they wanted to be there even though they were ritually unclean and that they were ready for the prayer service and the 18 Benedictions. The priests, Levites and the Ma’amad all pray at the same time and the same prayers at the time of the incense offering. They knew how long it took for this service and this is why they wondered about Zechariah taking too long in Luke 1).
Then they began to go up the steps of the Porch. They went up first whose lot it was to clear the ashes from the inner Altar and the Candlestick (as a side note, the Menorah seen on the Arch of Titus was not the actual Menorah. The real one was on a tripod, not a hexagon base. The real one was hidden. The one on the Arch of Titus was probably a dedicated menorah. Money and gold from the Temple after it was destroyed was used to build the Arch of Titus and the Coliseum. The real Menorah had pomegranates on it also). He whose lot it was to clear the ashes from the inner Altar went in and took the ash-bin, prostrated himself, and came out. He whose lot it was to trim the Candlestick (Menorah) entered in, and if he found the two easternmost lamps burning, he trimmed the easternmost one and left burning that to the west, since with that he lighted the candlestick in the afternoon. If he found it extinguished he trimmed it and then lighted it from the Altar of the Whole offering. He then took the oil-jar from the second step, prostrated himself, and came out.
He whose lot it was to bear the firepan piled up the cinders on the inner Altar, smoothed them with the back of the firepan, prostrated himself, and came out.
He whose lot it was to bring the incense took the dish from the midst of the ladle and gave it to his friend or kinsman. If aught was spilled from the firepan into the ladle he gave it to him into his two hands. They used to teach him, “Take heed that thou begin not in front of thee lest thou be burnt.” He began to smooth it down and came out. He that offered the incense did not offer it until the officer (the memunay) said to him, “Offer the incense!” If it was the High Priest he used to say, “My lord High Priest, offer the incense!” When all were gone away he offered the incense and prostrated himself and came away.
When the High Priest came in (to the Sanctuary) to prostrate himself, three priests held him, one by his right hand and one by his left hand, and one by the precious stones (the 12 stones of judgment), and when the officer heard the sound of the High Priest’s feet as he came out, he raised the curtain for him, and he went in and prostrated himself and came out. Then his brethren the priests went in and prostrated themselves and came out.
They came and stood on the steps of the Porch (there were 12 steps). They that came first stood to the south of their brethren the priests; and they bore five utensils in their hands, one having the ash-bin, another the oil jar, another the firepan, another the incense dish, another ladle and its cover. They then pronounced the blessing (of the priests, forming the letter “shin” with their hands, with their backs towards the Holy of Holies. The people did not look at the faces of the priests because the blessing is not coming from them, but from the Lord through them, just like the Levitical choir) over the people as a single blessing; in the provinces it was pronounced as three blessings (the people not going to the Temple prayed the same prayers and blessings in their synagogues or homes. This was what Daniel was doing when he prayed in Dan 6.10 when he prayed three times a day. These times corresponded to the Tamid offering times when the Temple stood), but in the Temple as a single blessing. In the Temple they pronounced the Name (YHVH) as it was written, but in the provinces by a substituted word. In the provinces the priests raised their hands as high as their shoulders, but in the Temple above their heads, excepting the High Priests, who raised his hands only as high as the frontlet (the crown on his turban that had the name of God (YHVH) on it). R. Judah says: “The High Priest also raised his hand above the frontlet, for it is written, ‘And Aaron lifted up his hands towards the people and blessed them.'”
In the conclusion, we will begin with Tamid 7.3.