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It may seem odd that a day which is dedicated torepentance should revolve around rituals of sacrifice.Realize, though, that since the earliest biblical times,sacrifice has been a means of drawing closer to G-d. G-dshowed approval of Hevel when he brought a gift to G-d, andKayin saw rejection of his gift as rejection of himself. Afterthe Flood, Noach demonstrated that humanity could begenerous and giving by offering of his own to G-d. When the Jews arrived at Har Sinai, they brought offerings to G-d. Itis not that G-d needs these offerings, but that they demonstrate our desire to give. The kohen gadol and his assistants are the only ones toperform these rites, but the
has a major impactupon every Jew. Imagine what it must be like, to know thatonce the kohanim have brought the offerings and performedtheir associated actions, we are absolved from the sins forwhich we have repented! Would that we could experiencesuch closure.
We normally think of Yom Kippur in terms of itscontemporary mitzvot: Repenting and reciting the apologetic
, fasting, not wearing leather shoes, not bathing forpleasure, and refraining from marital relations. Ingenerations which have a Beit haMikdash, though, YomKippur's central focus is the
[service] performedtherein, as described in Parshat Acharei Mot and ParshatPinchas and constituted in the Torah's 185
, the service of Yom Kippur includes:
The daily korban tamid, morning and evening;
When Yom Kippur is Shabbat, the Shabbat korban musaf;
A bull, a ram and seven sheep as a korban musaf;
A goat as a korban chatat;
A ram as a korban olah;
Two goats, one as a korban chatat and the other as the
"scapegoat" sent out into the wilderness.In our temporary lack of a Beit haMikdash, the centralcomponent of the musaf amidah is a
which describeshow the kohen gadol carries out this service.
The Torah Reading of Yom Kippur
Rabbi Meir Lipschitz
a person, place, or thing?(Vayikra 16:8)
claims it is a strong, harshmountain, with a high cliff.
explains that it is amighty mountain. He also cites oneopinion which suggests that it isnear Sinai.
disagrees with Rashi’s
interpretation, and then citesmystical and kabbalistic sources toexplain the true nature andmeaning of Azazel. These are best
seen in the Ramban’s commentary.
explains that it refers to
Sama’el, and the goat is a gift to
him so he will not nullify the YomKippur service (See Ramban for amore in-depth discussion).
What is the meaning of Yom Kippur’s
notes that according tosome authorities the doubleexpression of
refers to arest for both the body and the soul,while others suggest that it meansthe highest level of
suggests thatthe plural mention of
hintsat the multiple behaviors fromwhich we refrain on Yom Kippur.As explained by Rabbeinu Nisim toYoma 74a, citing the Rambam, the Torah prescribed general
oppression) for Yom Kippur, andleft it to the sages to define thespecific proscriptions which wouldcreate
one’s skin and marital relations.
These are included in
R’ S.R. Hirsch
explains thatrefraining from melachah onShabbat is an expression of G-
Kingship. On Yom Kippur, though,we express not only G-
sovereignty, but also our ownunworthiness for our gifts andexistence.
highlights ourlack of justification for the powergiven to Man, and
highlights our lack of
justification for Man’s existence
itself. This is why we afflictourselves on Yom Kippur; werefrain not only from exercisingour creative power through
, but also from eatingand drinking, our means of existing.
What is learned from the words
, “You shall livethrough them”? (Vayikra 18:5)
The Talmud, in Sanhedrin 74,
deduces from this verse that it isbetter for one to violate a Torahcommand than to give up his life,since the commands were given in
order that, “You shall live throughthem.” (The classic exceptions to
this rule are: Idolatry, illicitrelations, murder, and publicviolation of any command.)
reads the phrase asreferring to life in the world to
come; you will “live” if you observe
reads it as Onkelos does,
noting that it can’t refer to this
world since Man is destined to die.
, presumably in response
to his grandfather’s logical
argument above, suggests thatthis phrase
refer to life in thisworld. He says that one whoviolates these laws will have hislife cut short, and so, in a mannerof speaking, one will be grantedlife for following these laws.
Ma’ayan Beit HaShoeivah
askshow Onkelos/Rashi and thegemara can learn two opposingideas from the very same verse.His answer, though too long to berecorded here in its entirety, isthat life in the world to come andthe rule stated in the gemara areactually the same point.
For children: Was the fish whichswallowed Yonah male or female?Rashi
, based on the change of genderin the verses, suggests that Yonah wasoriginally swallowed by a male fish.Because he had space, though, Yonah
felt no need to pray for HaShem’s help.
Therefore, HaShem had the male fishspit him into the mouth of a femalefish where Yonah had less space dueto her fetuses (or eggs according tosome), and so he davened for HaShemto save him.
613 Mitzvot: #295-296
The Avodah of Yom Kippur
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner