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Blood for ThoughtThe Reinvention of Sacrifice in Early Rabbinic Literature$
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Mira Balberg

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520295926

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520295926.001.0001

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Ordinary Miracles

Ordinary Miracles

(p.183) 5 Ordinary Miracles
Blood for Thought

Mira Balberg

University of California Press

The chapter focuses on two expansive ritual narratives that pertain specifically to sacrificial procedures in the temple: the account of the daily morning ritual in tractate Tamid and the account of the Day of Atonement ritual in tractate Yoma. It explores how sacrifices are shaped and presented in this unique genre, and whether and how these narratives resonate with the sacrificial vision discussed in previous chapters. The analyses of these narratives show a systematic emphasis on the mundane and routine over the exceptional or prestigious, and on collective and collaborative labor rather than on individual priests. Thus, these tractates divert the audience’s attention from both the substances and the individuals involved in sacrifice, and direct its attention instead to the actions themselves and to the collective dimension of worship. Through this mode of presenting the temple as an arena in which the ordinary is extraordinary and the mundane is sublime, the rabbis promote a religious vision focused on correctness of action, perfection of performance, and communal solidarity.

Keywords:   Jerusalem Temple, Day of Atonement, Mishnah Tamid, Ritual Narrative, Daily sacrifice, Priests, Mishnah Yoma

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