BET GARMU, family of bakers who supervised the preparation of the showbread (leḥem ha-panim) in the Temple (Shek. 5:1; Tosef., Yoma 2:5). The Mishnah states that the memory of the family was held in disrepute because they would not teach others how to prepare the showbread (Yoma 3:11). According to one baraita, "the sages sent for specialists from Alexandria of Egypt, who knew how to bake as well as they, but they did not know how to remove the loaves from the oven as well as the Bet Garmu," and some report that "their bread became moldy" (Tosef., loc. cit., Yoma 38a). According to Tosefta Yoma 2:5, Bet Garmu agreed to return to work only after their remuneration was doubled. Other traditions report that they justified their refusal to teach their art to others, saying: "Our family knows that the Temple will be destroyed and perhaps an unworthy man will learn the process and use it for idolatrous worship" (Tosef., loc. cit.). The same source praises the family for never using bread made of fine quality flour, lest they be suspected of eating the holy showbread. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Buechler, Die Priester und der Cultus… (1895), 52ff.; Schuerer, Gesch, 3 (19074), 333; S. Klein, in Leshonenu, 1 (1928/29), 347. (Isaiah Gafni)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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