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Andrei Orlov Yom Kippur in Apocalypse of Abraham

Andrei Orlov Yom Kippur in Apocalypse of Abraham

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01/10/2015

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Andrei A. Orlov
Milwaukee, WI
ESCHATOLOGICALYOM KIPPURIN THE
 APOCALYPSE OF ABRAHAM 
:
Pa
rt
I. Th
e
S
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ap
e
goa
t
R
it
ua
l
1
Intr
o
d
u
cti
o
n
In the second part of the
 Apocalypse of Abraham
 , a Jewish pseude-pigraphon wri
en in the
rst centuries of the Common Era, its hero —the patriarch Abraham — encounters an angelic being appointed byGod to be his celestial guide. This creature, named in the apocalypseas the angel Yahoel, ba
es the seer’s imagination with his enigmaticappearance. The text describes him as a composite pteromorphic be-ing with a body shining like sapphire
2
and a face resembling chryso-lite.
3
The wardrobe of the angel also appears wondrous. Dressed inpurple garments, he wears a turban reminiscent of “the bow in theclouds.”
4
Abraham also sees a golden sta
in the right hand of hiscelestial companion.Scholars have previously noted the sacerdotal signi
cance of theangel’s a
ire.
5
Thus, Martha Himmelfarb argues that Yahoel’s “ward-robe has strong priestly associations. The linen band around his head
(1) An expanded version of this article is forthcoming in
Henoch
.(2) Slav.
сапфиръ
. B. P
hilonenko
-S
ayar
 , M. P
hilonenko
 ,
L’Apocalypsed’Abraham. Introduction, texte slave, traduction et notes
(Paris: Librairie AdrienMaisonneuve, 1981) (Semitica, 31) 60.(3) Slav.
хрусолить
. Ibid.(4) “…and a turban (
кидарь
) on his head like the appearance of the bow in the clouds…” A. K
ulik
 ,
Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha: Towardthe Original of the Apocalypse of Abraham
(Atlanta: Scholars, 2004) (TCS, 3) 19;P
hilonenko
-S
ayar
 , P
hilonenko
 ,
L’Apocalypse d’Abraham...
 , 60.(5) Thus, Dan Harlow observes that “Yahoel’s clothing … indicates thathe is the heavenly high priest: he wears a ‘turban on his head like the appear-ance of the bow in the clouds,’ his garments are purple, and he has a goldensta
in his hand (11:2). These elements evoke the wardrobe and accoutrementof Aaron (Exodus 28; Numbers 17).” D. S. H
arlow
 ,
Idolatry and Otherness: Is-rael and Nations in the Apocalypse of Abraham
(forthcoming).
 
80Scrinium V (2009). Symbola Caelestis
recalls Aaron’s headdress
6
of
ne linen (Ex. 28:39).”
7
Other details ofthe angel’s appearance also reveal his connections with the priestlyo
ce. Himmelfarb reminds us that the purple of Yahoel’s robe betraysconnections to one of the colors of the high-priestly garments of Exo-dus 28.
8
The angel’s golden sta
also seems to have a sacerdotal mean-ing, invoking the memory of Aaron’s rod which miraculously sprout-ed in the wilderness a
er Korah’s rebellion “to indicate the choice ofAaron and his descendants as priests (Num. 17:16–26).”
9
Himmelfarb also brings a
ention to the rainbow-like appearance ofYahoel’s turban, which, in her opinion, “brings together the two cen-tral color schemes employed elsewhere in the description of God ashigh priest, whiteness and the multicolored glow.”
10
Indeed, the tradition about “the rainbow in the cloud” associatedwith the headgear of the highest ranking sacerdotal servant is knownfrom several texts, including the description of the high priest Simonin the Wisdom of Jesus ben Sira 50:7.
11
Later rabbinic traditions
12
de-
(6) Jacob Milgrom observes that the high priest’s head covering was aturban (
tpncm
) and not
tw(bgm
 , the simpler headdresses of the ordinarypriests (Exod. 28:39–40). J. M
ilgrom
 ,
Leviticus 1–16
(New York: Doubleday,1991) (Anchor Bible, 3) 1016.(7) M. H
immelfarb
 ,
 Ascent to Heaven in Jewish and Christian Apocalypses
 (New York—Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993) 62.(8) H
immelfarb
 ,
Ascent to Heaven...
 , 62.(9) Ibid., 62. Yahoel’s role as a heavenly high priest is also hinted at later inthe text (
 Apoc. Ab.
10:9) through his liturgical o
ce as choirmaster of the Liv-ing Creatures, which is reminiscent of the liturgical o
ce of Enoch-Metatronin the Merkabah tradition. Cf. A. O
rlov
 , Celestial Choirmaster: The Liturgi-cal Role of Enoch-Metatron in
2 Enoch
and the Merkabah Tradition,
 JSP
14.1(2004) 3–24.(10) H
immelfarb
 ,
Ascent to Heaven...
 , 62.(11) “Greatest of his brothers and the beauty of his people was Simeonthe son of Johanan the priest ... how honorable was he as he gazed forth fromthe tent, and when he went forth from the house of the curtain; like a star oflight from among clouds, and like the full moon in the days of festival; andlike the sun shining resplendently on the king’s Temple, and like the rainbowwhich appears in the cloud ….” C. N. R. H
ayward
 ,
The Jewish Temple: A Non-Biblical Sourcebook
(London: Routledge, 1996) 41–42.(12) One of the extensive descriptions of
Cyc
is found in the
Book of Zo-har
which describes its unusual luminosity: “[Rabbi Simeon] began quoting:‘And they made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, [and wrote upon ita writing, like the engravings of a signet: Holy to the Lord]’ (Exodus 39:30).Why was this plate called
Cyc
? It means ‘being seen, to be looked at.’ Since
 
81Andrei A. Orlov
scribe the high priest’s front-plate (
Cyc
), which he wore on his fore-head.
13
Made of gold and inscribed with the divine Name, the plateshone like a rainbow.
14
The priestly a
liations of Abraham’s celestial guide are not coin-cidental. He appears in the crucial juncture of the story at which theyoung hero of the faith has just le
his father’s destroyed sanctuarythat had been polluted by idolatrous worship and is now called byGod “to set a pure sacri
ce” before the deity. In this respect Yahoelappears to be envisioned in the text not merely as an
angelus interpres
whose role is to guide a visionary on his heavenly journey, but as apriestly
gure initiating an apprentice into celestial sacerdotal praxis.Scholars have previously re
ected on the peculiar cultic routine thatsurrounds the relationship between Abraham and his celestial guideas he explains to the seer how to prepare the sacri
ces, deliver praiseto the deity, and enter the heavenly Throne room. Indeed, the intensityof these sacerdotal instructions and preparations hints at the impor-tance of priestly praxis for the overall conceptual framework of thetext. It also appears that in the
 Apocalypse of Abraham
 , as in many other Jewish accounts, including
1 Enoch
14 and the
Testament of Levi
8 theentrance of a seer into the celestial realm reveals the cultic dimensionand is envisioned as a visitation of the heavenly temple. Thus, schol-ars have previously noted that the authors of the
 Apocalypse of Abra-ham
seem to view heaven as a temple.
15
This emphasis on the links of
it was there to be seen by people, it was called
Cyc
. Whoever looked uponthis plate was recognized by it. The le
ers of the holy name were inscribedand engraved upon this plate, and if the person who stood in front of it wasrighteous, the le
ers inscribed in the gold would stand out from bo
om to topand would shine out from the engravings, and illuminate the person’s face.”(
Zohar
II.217b) I. T
ishby
 ,
The Wisdom of the Zohar: An Anthology of Texts
 , 3 vols.(London: The Li
man Library of Jewish Civilization, 1989) Vol. 3. 920–921.(13) Ex 39:30–31 “They made the rose
e of the holy diadem of pure gold,and wrote on it an inscription, like the engraving of a signet, ‘Holy to theLord.’ They tied to it a blue cord, to fasten it on the turban above …”(14)
b.
Yoma 37a.(15) In this respect Himmelfarb observes that “the heaven of the
 Apoca-lypse of Abraham
is clearly a temple. Abraham sacri
ces in order to ascendto heaven, then ascends by means of the sacri
ce, and joins in the heavenlyliturgy to protect himself during the ascent. … The depiction of heaven as atemple con
rms the importance of the earthly temple. The prominence of theheavenly liturgy lends importance to the liturgy of words on earth, whichat the time of the apocalypse provided a substitute for sacri
ce, a substitute

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