The Talmud, by Joseph Barclay, , at sacred-texts.com
Guarding the Temple at NightTaking the Ashes off the AltarCasting LotsOpening the Temple in the MorningArranging the Fire on the AltarThe Wood-kindlingAllotting ServicesExamination of the Daily SacrificeSlaughter-houseSounds heard at JerichoSnuffing the CandlestickPosition of the Lamb when slainPouring out its BloodPreparations for BurningOrder of carrying the Members to the AltarBlessingsCleansing the Vessels of the Holy PlaceThe High Priest on the AltarMusic and Psalm-singing.
1. The Priests guarded the sanctuary in three places, 1in the House Abtinas, in the House Nitzus, and in the House Moked. The House Abtinas and the House Nitzus had upper chambers, and the young priests guarded there. The house Moked was arched, and its large chamber was surrounded with stone divans, and the elders of the House of the Fathers slept there, with the keys of the court in their hands; and the younger priests also slept there, each with his cushion on the ground. They did not sleep in the holy garments, but they undressed, and folded them, and put them under their heads, and they covered themselves with their own dresses. If legal defilement happened to one of them, he went out, and proceeded in the circuit that went under the Temple, and candles flamed on either side, until he arrived in the house of baptism. And the fire pile was there, and the place of the seat of honour; and this was its honour, when he found it closed, he knew that some one was
there; when he found it open he knew that no one was there. He descended and washed; he came up and wiped himself, and warmed himself before the fire pile. He came and sat beside his brethren the priests, till the doors were opened; then he went out on his own way.
2. He who wished to take the ashes from the altar, rose up early and bathed before the Captain of the Temple came. And in what hour did the Captain come? All times were not equal; sometimes he came at cockcrow, or near to it, before or after it. The Captain came, and knocked for them, and they opened to him. He said to them, "let whoever is washed, come, and cast lots." They cast lots, and he gained who gained.
3. He took the key and opened the wicket door, and entered from the House Moked to the court, and the priests went after him with two lighted torches in their hands. And they divided themselves into two parties. These went in the gallery eastward, and those went in the gallery westward. They observed everything as they walked till they approached the place of the pancake-makers. They arrived. Both parties said, peace! all peace! The pancake-makers began to make pancakes.
4. He who gained the lot to take the ashes from the altar, took them; and they said to him, "be careful that thou touch not the vessels, till thou dost sanctify thy hands and thy feet from the laver." And the ash dish was placed in the corner between the ascent to the altar and the west of the ascent. No man entered with the priest, and there was no candle in his hand, but he walked towards the light of the fire on the altar. They did not see him, and they did not hear his voice, till they heard the creaking of the wheel, which the son of Kattin made for the laver, and they said, "the time has come to sanctify his hands and feet from the laver." He took the silver ash dish, and he went up to the top of the altar, and he turned the live coals on one side, and he piled up those that were well burned inwards, and he descended, and came on the pavement of the altar. He turned his face northwards, and went eastward of the ascent
about ten cubits. He packed the coals on the pavement three handbreadths distant from the ascent, at the place where they put the crops of the fowls, and the ashes of the inner altar, and of the candlestick.
242:1 See the Treatise on Measurements, chap. i.