Name of the fifth of the six orders ("sedarim") of the Mishnah, so called because all the treatises belonging to it contain regulations and laws concerning sacrifices, priestly contributions, and other matters pertaining to the cult. Both the name of this order and its position as the fifth in the Mishnah are old, and are recorded at an early date. Simeon b. Laḳish (3d cent.), who considered the six orders of the Mishnah to be intended by the words "emunat, 'iteka, ḥosen, yeshu'ot, ḥakmat, wada'at" (Isa. xxxiii. 6), enumerates them in the following order and with the following names: "Zera'im, Mo'ed, Nashim, Neziḳin, Ḳodashim, Ṭohorot" (Shab. 31a). The sedarim are given in the same order and with the same names in Esth. R. i. 2 and in Num. R. xiii. Another amora, R. Tanḥuma, although deducing from Ps. xix. 8-10 a different order of the sedarim, likewise reckons Kodashim as the fifth (Yalḳ., Ps. xix. 8 et seq.). According to another version of Tanḥuma's statement, the order of the sedarim is as follows: Nashim, Zera'im, Mo'ed, Ḳodashim, Ṭohorot, and Neziḳin (Num. R. l.c.). In this passage, however, the order is evidently determined by that of the Biblical verses to which the treatises are there referred.
It may, therefore, be safely assumed that Ḳodashim has always been the fifth of the orders of the Mishnah. According to Maimonides, Ḳodashim comes after the first four sedarim because they have their exegetical basis in Exodus, whereas Ḳodashim has its foundation in Leviticus. On the other hand, Ḳodashim stands before Ṭohorot because the regulations concerning sacrifice (Lev. i.-x.) precede those on cleanness and uncleanness (ib. xi.-xv.). Another explanation is given by Zacharias Frankel in his "Hodegetica in Mischnam," p. 262.
With the exception of the 1559 edition of the Mishnah, which regards the two treatises Ḥullin and Bekorot as belonging to the sixth order, Ḳodashim in all editions of the Mishnah contains eleven treatises. It is doubtful whether Keritot originally belonged to the order Neziḳim, as Brüll supposes ("Einleitung in die Mischna," ii. 28).
In the following survey the eleven treatises are outlined in the order given by Maimonides (l.c.), which has been followed in the editions of the Mishnah since 1606.Treatises.
- 1. Zebaḥim ("Bloody Sacrifice"), entitled also Sheḥiṭat Ḳodashim ("Killing of the Consecrated Animals"; B. M. 109b), and Ḳorbanot ("Sacrifice"; in the Tosefta); divided into 14 chapters. Contents: Regulations for killing sacrificial animals and for sprinkling their blood; how the sacrifice may become an abomination ("piggul"), or invalid ("pasul"); things consecrated by heathen; upon what the thoughts must be concentrated during the sacrifice; of the mingling of different sacrifices; from which sacrifices the priests receive meat; which priests partake of such flesh, and which have no share in it; what the altar, the steps, and the vessels sanctify and in how far that which has been placed on the altar may not be removed from it; sacrifice offered outside; history of places of worship.
- 2. Menaḥot ("Meal-Offering"), divided into thirteen chapters. Contents: Regulations concerning the intention required; the preparation of the meal-offering and its ingredients; places from which the materials for the meal-offering are to be brought; meal-offerings from which only a handful ("ḳomez") is to be taken, and those which are to be placed entire upon the altar; concerning the waving ("tenufah") of the meal-offering, and the laying of hands on the sacrificial victim ("semikah"); the peace-offerings, the wave-offerings, the showbread, the pentecostal bread, and the drink-offering; the temple of Onias.
- 3. Ḥullin ("Profane," "Unconsecrated"), called also Sheḥiṭat Ḥullin ("Killing of Unconsecrated Animals"), divided into twelve chapters. Contents: Regulations concerning slaughtering; who is permitted to slaughter, by what means, and when; cutting through the neck; the dam may not be killed on the same day with her young; covering up the blood after slaughtering; diseased cattle; what is fit to eat ("kasher"), and what is unfit ("ṭerefah"); clean and unclean animals; what meat may not be cooked in milk; the portions of the slaughtered animals which must be given to the priest; the first of the fleece.
- 4. Bekorot ("First-Born"), divided into nine chapters. Contents: Regulations concerning the first-born; how long the first-born of clean animals are to be kept before being given to the priest; hair and wool of the first-born of clean animals; blemished first-born of animals; blemishes which make the first-born unfit for sacrifice; rights of the first-born son in regard to inheritance; rights of the priest to the ransom for the first-born son.
- 5. 'Arakin ("Estimations"), divided into nine chapters. Contents: Rules for determining the amount which must be given to redeem one pledged to God, or, in case his value has been vowed, for ascertaining its equivalent; who may make such valuations, and in regard to whom they may be made; on reckoning the equivalent according to the wealth and age of the person in question; valuation when a limb or the half of the value of a person has been vowed; obligations of heirs; distraint when the equivalent is not paid.
- 6. Temurah ("Exchange" [of a consecrated object]), divided into seven chapters. Contents: Mainly regulations concerning exchanges; objects exchange of which may be effected; concerning the young of the sacrificial victim when exchange has taken place; exchange in case of a sin-offering; formulas for exchange.
- 7. Keritot ("Extermination"), divided into six chapters. Contents: Enumeration of the sins to which the penalty of excision ("karat") is attached when they have been committed wittingly though without previous warning against them, but which require a sin-offering if they have been committedinadvertently; different cases in which sacrifice is necessary; when a guilt-offering or sin-offering is respectively necessary.
- 8. Me'ilah ("Trespass" [on what has been consecrated]), divided into six chapters. Contents: Regulations especially concerning trespass; sacrifices in which trespass may occur, and when it begins; things in which no trespass can take place, although they may not be used; reckoning in cases of trespass, and the question whether several persons may trespass in connection with the same thing; trespass through an agent.
- 9. Tamid ("The Daily Offering, Morning and Evening"), divided into seven chapters, in most editions, but see below. Contents: The Temple organization and the apportionment of the various official duties among the different priests by lot; on bringing the sacrificial lamb, killing and dividing it, and placing its various parts on the altar; the morning prayer; the incense-offering; the priestly blessing; hymns of the Levites on the different days of the week.
- 10. Middot ("Measures" [of the Temple]), divided into five chapters. Contents: Descriptions of the arrangement of the Temple and the dimensions of the separate divisions of the porches; of the forecourt and its chambers.
- 11. Ḳinnim ("Birds' Nests"), divided into three chapters. Contents: The offering of pigeons, which was to be brought by indigent women after confinement and by such of the poor as had committed any of the trespasses enumerated in Lev. v. 1 et seq. There are also in passing discussions of various cases of confusion of birds belonging to different persons or to different offerings.
Maimonides (l.c.) endeavors to account for this arrangement of the treatises of Ḳodashim, but his arguments are artificial, while Frankel (l.c. p. 262) attempts to explain it logically. Apparently, however, there was no real reason for the order of the treatises, which were probably arranged according to the system of study adopted in the Palestinian and the Babylonian academies. The teachers there were naturally influenced by pedagogical considerations, and placed the longer tractates before the shorter ones (Hoffmann, in Berliner's "Magazin," 1890, p. 323). The treatises within the seder or order were thus arranged according to the number of chapters, the one containing the greatest number being placed first (Geiger, in his "Wiss. Zeit. Jüd. Theol." ii. 489-492). This supposition of Geiger's holds good for Ḳodashim, except that Tamid, with seven chapters, follows Me'ilah, which has but six. Originally, however, Tamid did not have this number of chapters. In Löwe's edition of the Mishnah this treatise has only six chapters, while Levi b. Gershon (RaLBaG), in his preface to the commentary on the Pentateuch, allows Tamid five only. In Ḳodashim there is, accordingly, the following arrangement of treatises with a diminishing number of chapters: Zebaḥim, 14 chapters; Menaḥot, 13; Ḥullin, 12; Bekorot, 9; 'Arakin, 9; Temurah, 7; Keritot, 6; Me'ilah, 6; Tamid, 6 or 8; Middot, 5; Ḳinnim, 3. Various other orders of arrangement are found in different editions, which have been described by Strack ("Einleitung in den Talmud," p. 11). Noteworthy is the sequence given by RaLBaG (l.c.), namely: Zebaḥim, Ḥullin, Menaḥot, Bekorot, 'Arakin, Temurah, Me'ilah, Keritot, Tamid, Middot, Ḳinnim. In every system of arrangement Zebaḥim is the first treatise and in Num. R. xiii. it is expressly designated as the beginning of the Seder Ḳodashim.In Tosefta and Gemara.
In the Tosefta Ḳodashim has eight treatises only, Tamid, Middot, and Ḳinnim being omitted. The Babylonian Talmud has Gemara for the first nine treatises, but none for the last two, Middot and Ḳinnim. There is no Jerusalem Gemara for Ḳodashim, nor is there any citation from one in the older commentaries and decisions. Isaac Alfasi, who uses Yerushalmi frequently, does not cite it for the treatise Ḥullin, nor is it quoted by Maimonides, Asheri, or Solomon b. Adret. The supposed citations by other commentators have been shown by Frankel and Buber either not to refer to Ḳodashim or to be erroneous.Jerusalem Gemara.
Maimonides, however, says (l.c.) that there was a Palestinian Gemara for five whole orders (thus including Ḳodashim), but only for Niddah in the sixth order. It is also known that much attention was paid in Palestine to the Seder Ḳodashim, for the treatises Zebaḥim and Ḥullin in the Babylonian Talmud contain many statements of Palestinian amoraim. It is evident, therefore, that there was once a Jerusalem Gemara to Ḳodashim, but that it was lost at an early period and was no longer used even by the oldest commentators. Maimonides, however, had heard of its existence and believed that it was still extant, as is clear from his statement (l.c.); but it is evident that he never saw it, since if he had seen it he would certainly have made citations from it.
- Maimonides, preface to his commentary on the Mishnah, printed in many editions of the Talmud after the treatise Berakot;
- Z. Frankel, Hodegetica in Mischnam, pp. 262 et seq., Leipsic, 1859;
- idem, Introductio in Talmud Hierosolymitanum, pp. 45a et seq., Breslau, 1870;
- Solomon Buber, Die Angebliche Existenz eines Jerusalem Talmuds zur Ordnung Kodaschim, in Berliner's Magazin, 1878, pp. 100-105;
- Abraham Geiger, Einiges über Plan und Anordnung der Mischnah, in his Wiss. Zeit. Jüd. Theol. ii. 474-492.