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GARMU, BET:

A family of skilled bakers employed in the Temple at Jerusalem as bakers of the showbread (Ex. xxv. 30). They kept secret their method of baking. Fearing the family might die out and the secret perish with them, the chiefs of the Temple replaced them with experts from Alexandria, but these could not compete with the Garmuites. The sages therefore summoned the latter back to their office; they, however, would not return until their original salary had been doubled, and for this they were ever after censured. When asked why they would not reveal the secrets of their art, they replied, "Our forebears communicated to us their premonition that the Temple would eventually be destroyed; should we instruct others in our art, it might come to pass that our pupils would exercise the art in the service of some idolatrous temple." The Garmuites are often mentioned with reverence as models of scrupulous honesty (Yoma iii. 11, 38a; Tosef., Yoma, ii. 5, and parallels; see Baking).

E. C. S. M.
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