Succah 5:4-5

Succah 5:4

Pious people and those who performed good deeds danced in front of the crowd, juggling torches and singing songs of praise. The Levites played harps, lyres, cymbals, trumpets and many other instruments on the 15 steps that led from the Israelite court to the women’s section. These steps corresponded to the 15 “Songs of Ascent” in the book of Psalms, and it’s where the Leviim would sing and play their instruments. Two kohanim holding trumpets stood at the Nicanor gate, which led from the Israelite court to the women’s section. When the rooster crowed (at dawn), they blew tekiah, teruah and tekiah; at the tenth step, they blew so again; when they reached the women’s section, they did so again. They continued blowing in this manner until they reached the gate leading east. When they reached this gate, they would turn to face west (i.e., they turned around to face the Temple) and they would declare, “Our ancestors in this place (i.e., at the time of the first Temple) would turn their backs to the Temple and face east, bowing towards the sun, but our eyes are turned towards God.” Rabbi Yehuda says the last part of the declaration was, “We are for God and our eyes are to God.”

Succah 5:5

There were never fewer than 21 shofar blasts in the Temple, nor more than 48. Every day, 21 blasts were sounded: three when opening the gates, nine for the morning tamid offering, and nine for the afternoon tamid offering. When a musaf offering was brought, nine more were blown. On Friday afternoons, six more were blown: three to signal the people to stop working and three to mark the division between the holy time and the secular time. On the Friday of Succos, there were 48: three for opening the gates, three when the kohanim stood at the Nicanor gate, three when they reached the gate facing east, three for filling the water, three for the top of the altar, nine for the morning tamid, nine for the afternoon tamid, three to signal the people to stop working and three to delineate between the holy and the secular. [The author of this mishna disagrees with the author of the previous author regarding the shofar being blown by the kohanim when they reached the tenth step.]
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