Kodashim

This page is about Kodashim, a section of the mishnah. See Kedoshim (parsha) for the Torah portion by that name.

Kodashim or Qodhashim (Hebrew קדשים, Holy Things) is the fifth Order in the Mishna (also the Tosefta and Talmud). Of the six Orders of the Mishna, it is the third longest. Kodoshim deals largely with the religious service within the Temple in Jerusalem, the Korbanot ("sacrificial offerings"), and other subjects considered or related to these "Holy Things".

Kodoshim consists of 11 tractates:

  1. Zevahim: (זבחים, "Sacrifices"); Deals with the procedure of animal and bird offerings. 14 chapters.
  2. Menahot: (מנחות, "Meal Offerings"); Deals with the various grain-based offerings in the Temple. 13 chapters.
  3. Chullin or Hullin: (חולין, "Ordinary Things"); Deals with the laws of slaughter and meat consumption (i.e. animals used for every-day as opposed to sacred reasons). 12 chapters.
  4. Bekhorot: (בכורות, "Firstborn"); Deals with the sanctification and redemption of animal and human firstborns. 9 chapters.
  5. Arakhin: (ערכין, "Dedications"); Deals mainly with a person dedicating their value to the Temple or dedicating a field. 9 chapters.
  6. Temurah: (תמורה, "Substitution"); Outlines the laws of what happens if an animal is substituted for an animal dedicated for a sacrifice. 7 chapters.
  7. Keritot: (כריתות, "Excisions"); Deals with the commandments for which the penalty is karet (spiritual excision) as well as the sacrifices associated with their (mostly unwitting) transgression. 6 chapters.
  8. Me'ilah: (מעילה, "Sacrilege"); Deals with the laws of restitution for the misappropriation of Temple property. 6 chapters.
  9. Tamid: (תמיד, "Always"); Outlines the procedure of the Tamid (daily sacrifice). 6 chapters.
  10. Middot: (מידות, "Measurements"); Describes the measurements of the second Temple. 4 chapters.
  11. Kinnim: (קנים, "Nests"); Deals with the complex laws for situations where the mixing of bird-offerings occurred. 3 chapters.

The traditional reasoning for the order of the tractates (according to Maimonides) is as follows:

  • Zevahim is first as it deals with the main physical "purpose" of the Temple - animal sacrifices.
  • Menahot continuing the subject of offerings is placed after according to the scriptural order and the status of meal-offerings as supplementary.
  • After dealing with offerings to the Temple, Hullin follows, dealing with "secular offerings".
  • Bekhorot, Arakhin and Temurah all discuss auxiliary laws of sanctity and follow the Scriptural order.
  • Keritot follows the prior elaboration of commandments as it largely discusses the offering for the transgression of certain commandments.
  • Me'ilah follows as it also deals with transgressions of sanctity, although of a lighter nature.
  • After dealing with laws, two description tractates were added, Tamid discussing the daily sacrifice and Middot which overviews the whole Temple in Jerusalem.
  • Finally, Kinnim was placed last as its laws all deal with accidents and situations which very rarely occur.

There is a Gemara in the Babylonian Talmud to the first 8 tractates, and three chapters of Tamid. Although the subject matter wasn't relevant to life in the Babylonian academies, the Gemara was included to follow the idea that the study of the laws of the Temple service is a substitute for the service itself. Also, the rabbinic sages wanted to merit the rebuilding of the Temple by paying special attention to these laws. However, in the modern Daf Yomi cycle and in the printed editions of the Babylonian Talmud, the Mishnah for the last two tractates is added at the end, to "complete" the order.

See also


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