Positive Mitzvah Thirty-Nine

The Daily Olah-Offerings

Requires Beit HaMikdash

BaMidbar 28:3 This fire-offering that you shall offer to Hashem; yearling lambs without blemish, two each day, as a daily olah-offering.

At the daily olah-offerings brought for the whole nation in the Sanctuary at Yerushalayim Yisrael as a whole was represented.  For just as the Kohanim and Leviim were divided into 24 Courses, each Course ministering in the Sanctuary by turn for one week, the country as a whole was divided into 24 regions, and a delegation of the elders and chief citizens of every region went by turn every week to Yerushalayim  to be present, i.e., to "stand by" - at the public sacrifices.  Such a delegation was known as the Maamad or "Standing".  In the various regions everywhere the people held special services in their synagogues on the week of their "Standing", in spiritual unison with their elders who had gone to Yerushalayim. (Taan 26a). 

These daily olah-offerings were provided solely form the fund made up of the half-shekels (P171) which all Yisrael, rich and poor, contributed alike.

The daily olah-offerings, which were the central feature of the regular public services in the Sanctuary, were celebrated with a religious solemnity befitting their significance.  Tradition thus describes the closing scenes at the daily service:

"They blew a tekiah (steady blast), a teruah (quavering blast) and a tekiah, and then came and stood by Ben Arza (the cymbalist), one on his right hand and one on his left.  When he bent down to make the libation, the Deputy Kohen Gadol waved the flags and Ben Arza struck the cymbals and the Leviim chanted Tehillim.  When they came to a pause (in Tehillim) a tekiah was blown, and the public prostrated themselves; at every pause there was a tekiah and at every tekiah a prostration" (Tamid 33b).