[Avodah] A New Mitzvah at the Seder

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Wed Apr 7 07:37:49 PDT 2021

The Mitzrim had water clocks for use at night.

    The oldest water clock of which there is physical evidence dates to
    c. 1417-1379 BC, during the reign of Amenhotep III where it was used in
    the Temple of Amen-Re at Karnak.[3] The oldest documentation of the
    water clock is the tomb inscription of the 16th century BC Egyptian
    court official Amenemhet, which identifies him as its inventor.[3][4]
    These simple water clocks, which were of the outflow type, were
    stone vessels with sloping sides that allowed water to drip at a
    nearly constant rate from a small hole near the bottom. There were
    twelve separate columns with consistently spaced markings on the
    inside to measure the passage of "hours" as the water level reached
    them. The columns were for each of the twelve months to allow for
    the variations of the seasonal hours. These clocks were used by
    priests to determine the time at night so that the temple rites and
    sacrifices could be performed at the correct hour.[5] These clocks
    may have been used in daylight as well.[citation needed]

They also had something called a "merkhet" or "merjet" by which they can
see when particular stars crossed a line. The name is from the Misr word
meaning "instrument of knowing". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merkhet
The earliest known merkhet is far too recent, 600 bce. But that doesn't
rule out earlier versions that simply didn't survive to be found by

   It involved the use of a bar with a plumb line, attached to a wooden
   handle.[3] It was used to track the alignment of certain stars which
   are known as Decans or "Baktiu" in the Ancient Egyptian Language, if
   they were visible, in order to approximate the time at night (10 stars
   for the 10 hours of the night, with a total of 24 hours including 12
   hours for the day, 1 hour for sunset, 1 hour for sunrise). In this
   way, it was more efficient than other contemporary devices, such as
   sundials, which were rendered useless during the dark.[4]

The "decans" were 36 groups of stars Mitzrim divided the circle of the
Zodiac into.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 Today is the 10th day, which is
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   1 week and 3 days in/toward the omer.
Author: Widen Your Tent      Tifferes sheb'Gevurah: When does strict
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF                judgment bring balance and harmony?

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