שִׁבְעַת יָמִים קֹדֶם יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים מַפְרִישִׁין כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל מִבֵּיתוֹ לְלִשְׁכַּת פַּלְהֶדְרִין, וּמַתְקִינִין לוֹ כֹהֵן אַחֵר תַּחְתָּיו, שֶׁמָּא יֶאֱרַע בּוֹ פְסוּל. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, אַף אִשָּׁה אַחֶרֶת מַתְקִינִין לוֹ, שֶׁמָּא תָמוּת אִשְׁתּוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא טז) וְכִפֶּר בַּעֲדוֹ וּבְעַד בֵּיתוֹ. בֵּיתוֹ, זוֹ אִשְׁתּוֹ. אָמְרוּ לוֹ, אִם כֵּן, אֵין לַדָּבָר סוֹף: Seven days prior to Yom Kippur the Sages would remove the High Priest, who performs the entire Yom Kippur service, from his house to the Chamber of Parhedrin, a room in the Temple designated specifically for the High Priest during that period. And they would designate another priest in his stead to replace him lest a disqualification due to impurity or another circumstance beyond his control prevent him from entering the Temple on Yom Kippur. Rabbi Yehuda says: The Sages would even designate another wife for him lest his wife die, as it is stated in the Torah portion of the Yom Kippur service: “And it will atone for him and for his house” (Leviticus 16:6); the Sages interpreted the term: His house, that is his wife. The priest must be married in order to fulfill this commandment. Due to the concern lest his wife die, another wife was designated to address that possibility. The Rabbis said to Rabbi Yehuda: If so, that this is a concern, there is no end to the matter, as what if the designated replacement wife dies? This possibility need not be a source of concern.
כָּל שִׁבְעַת הַיָּמִים הוּא זוֹרֵק אֶת הַדָּם וּמַקְטִיר אֶת הַקְּטֹרֶת וּמֵטִיב אֶת הַנֵּרוֹת וּמַקְרִיב אֶת הָרֹאשׁ וְאֶת הָרֶגֶל. וּשְׁאָר כָּל הַיָּמִים, אִם רָצָה לְהַקְרִיב, מַקְרִיב, שֶׁכֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל מַקְרִיב חֵלֶק בָּרֹאשׁ וְנוֹטֵל חֵלֶק בָּרֹאשׁ: During all seven days of the High Priest’s sequestering before Yom Kippur, he sprinkles the blood of the daily burnt-offering, and he burns the incense, and he removes the ashes of the lamps of the candelabrum, and he sacrifices the head and the hind leg of the daily offering. The High Priest performs these tasks in order to grow accustomed to the services that he will perform on Yom Kippur. On all the other days of the year, if the High Priest wishes to sacrifice any of the offerings, he sacrifices them, as the High Priest sacrifices any portion that he chooses first and takes any portion that he chooses first.
מָסְרוּ לוֹ זְקֵנִים מִזִּקְנֵי בֵית דִּין, וְקוֹרִין לְפָנָיו בְּסֵדֶר הַיּוֹם, וְאוֹמְרִים לוֹ, אִישִׁי כֹהֵן גָּדוֹל, קְרָא אַתָּה בְּפִיךָ, שֶׁמָּא שָׁכַחְתָּ אוֹ שֶׁמָּא לֹא לָמָדְתָּ. עֶרֶב יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים שַׁחֲרִית, מַעֲמִידִין אוֹתוֹ בְּשַׁעַר מִזְרָח, וּמַעֲבִירִין לְפָנָיו פָּרִים וְאֵילִים וּכְבָשִׂים, כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּהֵא מַכִּיר וְרָגִיל בָּעֲבוֹדָה: The Sages provided the High Priest with Elders selected from the Elders of the court, and they would read before him the order of the service of the day of Yom Kippur. And they would say to him: My Master, High Priest. Read the order of the service with your own mouth, as perhaps you forgot this reading or perhaps you did not learn to read. On Yom Kippur eve in the morning, the Elders stand him at the eastern gate of the courtyard and pass before him bulls and rams and sheep so that he will be familiar with the animals and grow accustomed to the service, as these were the animals sacrificed on Yom Kippur.
כָּל שִׁבְעַת הַיָּמִים לֹא הָיוּ מוֹנְעִין מִמֶּנּוּ מַאֲכָל וּמִשְׁתֶּה, עֶרֶב יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים עִם חֲשֵׁכָה, לֹא הָיוּ מַנִּיחִים אוֹתוֹ לֶאֱכֹל הַרְבֵּה, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַמַּאֲכָל מֵבִיא אֶת הַשֵּׁנָה: Throughout all the seven days that the High Priest was in the Parhedrin chamber, they would not withhold from him any food or drink that he desired. However, on Yom Kippur eve at nightfall, they would not allow him to eat a great deal because food induces sleep and they did not allow him to sleep, as will be explained.
מְסָרוּהוּ זִקְנֵי בֵית דִּין לְזִקְנֵי כְהֻנָּה, וְהֶעֱלוּהוּ לַעֲלִיַּת בֵּית אַבְטִינָס, וְהִשְׁבִּיעוּהוּ וְנִפְטְרוּ וְהָלְכוּ לָהֶם. וְאָמְרוּ לוֹ, אִישִׁי כֹהֵן גָּדוֹל, אָנוּ שְׁלוּחֵי בֵית דִּין, וְאַתָּה שְׁלוּחֵנוּ וּשְׁלִיחַ בֵּית דִּין, מַשְׁבִּיעִין אָנוּ עָלֶיךָ בְּמִי שֶׁשִּׁכֵּן שְׁמוֹ בַבַּיִת הַזֶּה, שֶׁלֹּא תְשַׁנֶּה דָבָר מִכָּל מַה שֶּׁאָמַרְנוּ לָךְ. הוּא פוֹרֵשׁ וּבוֹכֶה, וְהֵן פּוֹרְשִׁין וּבוֹכִין: The Elders of the court who read the order of the service of the day before the High Priest passed him to the Elders of the priesthood, and they took him up to the House of Avtinas. And they administered him an oath and took leave of him and went on their way. When they administered this oath they said to him: My Master, High Priest. We are agents of the court, and you are our agent and the agent of the court. We administer an oath to you in the name of Him who housed His name in this House, that you will not change even one matter from all that we have said to you with regard to the burning of the incense or any other service that you will perform when alone. After this oath, he would leave them and cry, and they would leave him and cry in sorrow that the oath was necessary.
אִם הָיָה חָכָם, דּוֹרֵשׁ. וְאִם לָאו, תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים דּוֹרְשִׁין לְפָנָיו. וְאִם רָגִיל לִקְרוֹת, קוֹרֵא. וְאִם לָאו, קוֹרִין לְפָנָיו. וּבַמֶּה קוֹרִין לְפָנָיו, בְּאִיּוֹב וּבְעֶזְרָא וּבְדִבְרֵי הַיָּמִים. זְכַרְיָה בֶּן קְבוּטָל אוֹמֵר, פְּעָמִים הַרְבֵּה קָרִיתִי לְפָנָיו בְּדָנִיֵּאל: They kept him occupied throughout the night to prevent him from sleeping. If he was a scholar, he would teach Torah. If he was not a scholar, Torah scholars would teach Torah before him. And if he was accustomed to read the Bible, he would read; and if he was not, they would read the Bible before him. And what books would they read before him to pique his interest so that he would not fall asleep? They would read from Job, and from Ezra, and from Chronicles. Zekharya, son of Kevutal, says: Many times I read before him from the book of Daniel.
בִּקֵּשׁ לְהִתְנַמְנֵם, פִּרְחֵי כְהֻנָּה מַכִּין לְפָנָיו בְּאֶצְבַּע צְרֵדָה, וְאוֹמְרִים לוֹ, אִישִׁי כֹהֵן גָּדוֹל, עֲמֹד וְהָפֵג אַחַת עַל הָרִצְפָּה. וּמַעֲסִיקִין אוֹתוֹ עַד שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ זְמַן הַשְּׁחִיטָה: If the High Priest sought to sleep at night, the young priests would snap the middle [tzerada] finger against the thumb before him, and they would say to him every so often: My Master, High Priest. Stand from your bed and chill yourself once on the floor and overcome your drowsiness. And they would engage him in various ways until the time would arrive to slaughter the daily offering.
בְּכָל יוֹם תּוֹרְמִין אֶת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ בִּקְרִיאַת הַגֶּבֶר אוֹ סָמוּךְ לוֹ, בֵּין לְפָנָיו בֵּין לְאַחֲרָיו. בְּיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים מֵחֲצוֹת, וּבָרְגָלִים מֵאַשְׁמוּרָה הָרִאשׁוֹנָה, וְלֹא הָיְתָה קְרִיאַת הַגֶּבֶר מַגַּעַת עַד שֶׁהָיְתָה עֲזָרָה מְלֵאָה מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל: Every day the priests would remove the ashes from the altar and place them on the east side of the ramp at the crow of the rooster or adjacent to it, whether before it or after it, as there was no insistence on a precise time. And on Yom Kippur they would remove the ashes earlier, from midnight onward. And on the Festivals, the ashes were removed even earlier, at the end of the first watch. And the call of the rooster would not arrive on Festivals until the Temple courtyard was full with the Jewish people who vowed to bring offerings and would fulfill their obligations on the Festivals. Those offerings were sacrificed immediately following the daily offering.