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10 Tishrei 5774/September 14, 2013
Yeshiva University Torah miTzion Beit Midrash Zichron DovYeshiva University Torah miTzion Beit Midrash Zichron DovYeshiva University Torah miTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov
Toronto TorahToronto TorahToronto Torah
 
Yom Kippur
 
Vol. 5 Num. 3
 
nor drink, don't wear shoes, stand, andare free of sin. Ramban explains thatthe goat is not a sacrifice to Samael,and this is why we do not slaughter it;rather, it is a bribe.After contemplating Ramban'sexplanation
 – 
and it would beworthwhile to read his text in theoriginal - an immediate reaction mightbe: Isn't this idol worship? Does thispractice really fit into Jewish belief andpractice, especially on the holiest day of the year? Ramban attempts to addressthis question through a parable: A manmade a feast for the king, and the kingcommanded him to feed a certainperson. It is clear that the host isn'tgiving of his own to this man; rather, itis now the king's food, and the host thehost is a conduit providing food for thisman on behalf of the king. So, too, weoffer this goat to Samael as messengersof G-d, who has commanded us toprovide this bribe. Our intention issolely to fulfill the command of ourCreator.Despite the above explanation, a biggerquestion yet remains: AcceptingRamban's view of Samael, why are wescared of the potential curses of thisdemonic being? Are we not confidentthat G-d will judge us based on our truemerits? Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz points toa comment by Rabbi Samson RaphaelHirsch to shed light on the nature of Ramban's Samael, which is also knownas Satan.G-d declared to Kayin (Bereishit 4:7),"Surely, if you improve yourself, you willbe forgiven. But if you do not improve yourself, sin rests at your door. Itdesires you, but you can conquer it." The normal reading of the end of thisverse is that a Satan, or evil inclination,wants to ensnare you, but you canovercome it. However, Rabbi Hirschcontinues, quoting a midrashic idea,"Satan comes from G-d to tempt humanbeings; when they have yielded to histemptations, he goes up and complainsto G-d." Rabbi Hirsch's point is that thisSatan does not want us to fail; rather,his goal is to push us to levels wethought were beyond us, and cause usto conquer new challenges. [Note thatthe biblical term Satan, as seen inBamidbar 22:22, refers to anobstruction or hurdle.]Applying Rabbi Hirsch's idea toRamban's explanation of the goat of Azazel: On Yom Kippur we put our sinson this goat and push it over a cliff todemonstrate defeating Satan/Samael.Satan is happy to lose, and so, asRamban's midrash says, this is a gift forhim; his mission was to help us achieveour greatest potential. The ritual of thegoat of Azazel celebrates our greatestachievement. We have defeated theSatan and provided him the opportunity to sing our praise, and so we celebratethe heights we have achieved andpresent them to G-d on this holy day.
afrieberg@torontotorah.com 
Ramban’s Goat of Azazel: Devil Worship or Greatest Praise?
 
Adam Frieberg
 
To sponsor an issue of Toronto Torah, please call 647-234-7299 or email info@torontotorah.com.
There will be no Toronto Torah during Succot; look for us again for Parshat Noach 
 
Relating to the temple service, with itsmany sacrifices, is hard for many of usin the year 5774. The disconnect ishighlighted by the fact that much of our prayer service on Yom Kippur isdedicated to recounting, in greatlength and exquisite detail, the step-by -step procedure that the kohen gadolfollowed on this most holy day. Many of the actions of the kohen gadolrequire explanation and analysis
 – 
butthe "goat of Azazel" truly begs forfurther explanation. While we may notbe fully conversant in the laws of sacrifices, we know enough to realizethat throwing a goat, on which wehave confessed our sins, off a cliff, isnot a normal part of our sacrificialservice - but the Torah (Vayikra 16:22)obligates us to carry out thisprocedure on every Yom Kippur. Whatis this about?Ibn Ezra, despite providing a cryptichint, claims that the meaning of thispractice is hidden. Ramban then offersa lengthy explanation in which he saysthat he will be the "talebearer whoreveals his [Ibn Ezra's] secret." Heexplains that there is a celestial officernamed Samael who "rules in thedesolate places" and has the power tocause destruction and desolation. Thegist of Ramban's explanation is firstfound in a midrash (Pirkei d'RabbiEliezer HaGadol Chapter 46), whichdescribes the goat of Azazel as a bribethat the Jewish people give to Samaelon Yom Kippur "so that he not subverttheir offering" by prosecuting them inthe heavenly court. The midrashexplains that Samael will find no sinamongst the children of Israel, andtherefore he will compare them, inevery way, to angels, who neither eat
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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
avodah 
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.
torczyner@torontotorah.com 
2
We normally think of Yom Kippur in terms of itscontemporary mitzvot: Repenting and reciting the apologetic
viduy 
, 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
avodah 
[service] performedtherein, as described in Parshat Acharei Mot and ParshatPinchas and constituted in the Torah's 185
th
mitzvah.Per
Sefer haChinuch 
, 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
sa'ir la'azazel 
"scapegoat" sent out into the wilderness.In our temporary lack of a Beit haMikdash, the centralcomponent of the musaf amidah is a
 piyut 
which describeshow the kohen gadol carries out this service.
The Torah Reading of Yom Kippur
Rabbi Meir Lipschitz
 
Is
Azazel 
a person, place, or thing?(Vayikra 16:8)
Rashi
claims it is a strong, harshmountain, with a high cliff.
Ibn Ezra
explains that it is amighty mountain. He also cites oneopinion which suggests that it isnear Sinai.
Ramban
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.
 
Chizkuni
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
title,
shabbat shabbaton 
? (Vayikra16:31)
Ibn Ezra
notes that according tosome authorities the doubleexpression of 
Shabbat 
refers to arest for both the body and the soul,while others suggest that it meansthe highest level of 
shevitah 
.
Meshech Chochmah
suggests thatthe plural mention of 
shevitah 
hintsat the multiple behaviors fromwhich we refrain on Yom Kippur.As explained by Rabbeinu Nisim toYoma 74a, citing the Rambam, the Torah prescribed general
innui 
 (
oppression) for Yom Kippur, andleft it to the sages to define thespecific proscriptions which wouldcreate
innui 
:
bathing, anointing
one’s skin and marital relations.
 These are included in
shabbat shabbaton 
.
R’ S.R. Hirsch
explains thatrefraining from melachah onShabbat is an expression of G-
d’s
Kingship. On Yom Kippur, though,we express not only G-
d’s
sovereignty, but also our ownunworthiness for our gifts andexistence.
Shabbat 
highlights ourlack of justification for the powergiven to Man, and
shabbat shabbaton 
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
melachah 
, but also from eatingand drinking, our means of existing.
What is learned from the words
vachai bahem 
, “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.)
Onkelos
reads the phrase asreferring to life in the world to
come; you will “live” if you observe
the commandments.
Rashi
reads it as Onkelos does,
noting that it can’t refer to this
world since Man is destined to die.
Rashbam
, presumably in response
to his grandfather’s logical
argument above, suggests thatthis phrase
does 
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.
meir.lipschitz@gmail.com 
613 Mitzvot: #295-296
 
The Avodah of Yom Kippur
 
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
 
17) "If the Jewish people were to observetwo Shabbatot, they would be redeemedimmediately (Talmud Shabbat 118b)." Isaw in the book
Echad Kadosh Medaber 
,"This is when two Shabbatot coincide,which occurs when Yom Kippur arriveson Shabbat. The idea can be explainedalong the same lines as 'They gazed at G-d, and they ate and drank,' (Exodus24:11) which we translate as, 'they rejoiced that their sacrifices werefavourably accepted, so that it was as if they ate and drank.'"Yom Kippur is a day on which we neithereat nor drink and therefore [when it fallsout on Shabbat] there is no enjoyment of Shabbat. However, when the Yom Kippursacrifices are favourably accepted thereis enjoyment similar to eating anddrinking. In such a situation, there is theobservance of two Shabbatot: theobservance of Yom Kippur throughaffliction and the observance of Shabbatthrough eating.Similarly in our exile, when "our prayerscomplete the sacrifices" (Hosheia 14:3),when we are informed by G-d that ourprayers have been accepted with desirebefore G-d and He answers and recites "Ihave forgiven," the observance of twoShabbatot occurs, through affliction andpleasure, and we will be redeemedimmediately. May G-d say so speedily,in our days.18) The book
Ikkarei Dinim 
(OrachChaim 31:6) says, "One who fasts due toa [frightening] dream on Erev YomKippur must fast [again] to make up forhis [first] fast."
Masat Binyamin 
statesthat when a make-up fast is necessary,an existing communal fast [like YomKippur] cannot count for the make-up,but
Knesset haGedolah 
says that anexisting communal fast can count for themake-up.It appears to me, within this view [of 
Knesset haGedolah 
], that if one were to fastdue to a dream on Shabbat Shuvah on the eighth day of the Ten Days of Repentance, then he would not need to fast to make up for his [Shabbat] fast.Eating and drinking on Erev Yom Kippur is called 'fasting', as the Talmud(Berachot 8b) says, "One who eats and drinks on the ninth of Tishrei is as thoughhe had fasted on the ninth and tenth." If so, the ninth of Tishrei is equivalent to acommunal fast.It further appears to me that one who has a [frightening] dream on Erev YomKippur need not fast for the dream, for eating and drinking on this day is viewed,biblically, as an act of fasting.
Torah and Translation
Shabbat and Yom Kippur
Rabbi Zvi Elimelech Spira
Bnei Yissachar, Tishrei 6:17-18
Translated by Josh Gutenberg
Biography
Rabbi Zvi Elimelech Spira
 Josh Gutenberg
 
Visit us at www.torontotorah.com
 3
Rabbi Zvi Elimelech Spira was born inGalicia in 1783. As a student of bothRabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Horowitz (theChozeh of Lublin), and his uncle, RabbiElimelech of Lizhensk (author of 
Noam Elimelech 
), he learned with some of thegreatest Hasidic teachers of his time.Rabbi Spira served as Rabbi in severalPolish cities. While living in Munkacz,he forbade the practice of force-feedinganimals, upsetting many of the wealthy members of the community. Rabbi Spirawas compelled to leave the city, and hewent to Dinov, where he served as Rabbifor the remainder of his life. During hisrabbinic tenure, he was outspoken inopposing the Enlightenment movementthen spreading throughout Europe.Rabbi Spira wrote several books relatingto Jewish law and Hasidic thought. He isbest known for the book,
Bnei Yissaschar 
, the name by which he iscommonly known. The book is writtenbased on the events of the Jewishcalendar; it is divided into twelvesections, each section relating to one of the months of the year. He writes essays,interweaving both legal and kabbalisticconcepts, discussing the holidays andother important dates that fall out ineach month. He titled the book
Bnei Yissaschar 
, because the Chozeh of Lublin told him that he was adescendant of the tribe of Yissaschar,experts regarding matters dealing withthe calendar. Other books that he wroteinclude
Agra DeKallah 
, a commentary onthe torah, and
Derech Pikudecha 
, a workbased on mysticism and the 613 mitzvot.Rabbi Spira's descendants played animportant role in the Hasidiccommunity. His grandson, Rabbi ShlomoSpira, served as the rabbi of Munkaczsome fifty years after he left the city, andwas the founder and first rebbe of theMunkaczer Hasidim, who havecommunities in several cities around theworld.Rabbi Spira died in 1841, at the age of 58. His legacy remains strong, as
Bnei Yissaschar 
is still highly regarded by many Hasidic sects and is widely studieduntil today.
 jgutenberg@torontotorah.com  
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