Day of Atonement - Yom Kippur - כפור יום

By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)



I. Introduction. 1

Erev Yom HaKippurim.. 4

II. The AWESOME days. 4

III. The Number Ten. 5

IV. Events. 5

A Yom Teruah event: 8

A Yom HaKippurim event: 9

The Fast of Gedaliah. 11

Tishri Eight 11

V. Teshuva means “Return”. 11

VI. Definition: 12

VI. Names: 12

VII. Order of events: 13

VIII. Readings. 14

Yonah. 14

IX. The Fast 16

X. The Jubilee Freedom.. 18

XI. The Sacrifices: 19

The Bull: 27

The Sin Offering Goat: 28

The Goat for Azazel: 28

XII. Yom HaKippurim in post biblical writings: 33

XIII. The service of the High Priest: 33

XIV. Customs. 34

XV. Prayers. 37

XVI. Yom HaKippurim events. 38

XVII. The Number Five (5) 39

XVIII. Selected essays. 41

IX. From My Teacher 43



I. Introduction


The feast of the tenth day of the seventh month, the month of Tishri, is commonly called Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. The Torah calls this festival “Yom HaKippurim” or “Yom Kippurim” which means “Day of The Atonements” or “Day of Atonements”.


Yom Kippurim, the Day of Atonements, is the anniversary of the day Moses brought down the second set of Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai. This signified that HaShem forgave the Jewish people for the transgression of the Golden Calf. For all times this day was decreed to be a day of forgiveness for our mistakes. However, this refers to transgressions against HaShem. Transgressions against our fellow man require us to correct our mistakes and seek forgiveness. So, more than anything else, this is a day for confession and repentance. The whole liturgy of this day centers on these two aspects. Repentance was one of the seven things created before the world began:


Nedarim 39b Seven things were created before the world, viz., The Torah, repentance, the Garden of Eden, Gehenna, the Throne of Glory, the Temple, and the name of the Messiah. The Torah, for it is written, The Lord possessed me [sc. the Torah] in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.[1] Repentance, for it is written, Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world . . . Thou turnest man to destruction, and sayest, Repent, ye sons of men.[2] The Garden of Eden, as it is written, And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden from aforetime.[3] Gehenna, as it is written, For Tophet[4] is ordained of old.[5] The Throne of Glory, as it is written, Thy Throne is established from of old.[6] The Temple, as it is written, A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.[7] The name of the Messiah, as it is written, His name [sc. of Messiah] shall endure forever, and [has existed] before the sun![8]


This feast is initially described in:


Vayikra (Leviticus) 23: 26-32 HaShem said to Moses, “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to HaShem by fire. Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before HaShem your G-d. Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people. I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on that day. You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. It is a Sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your Sabbath.”


The word “Atonement” is defined by Strong’s as:


3725 kippur, kip-poor’; from 3722; expiation (only in plural):-atonement.


כפר, kippur, never occurs, in the Torah, in the singular. כפר, kippur, ONLY occurs in the plural as כפרים, kippurim.


In Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:27, this feast is called כפרים יום, Yom HaKippurim.


In Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:28, this feast is called כפרים יום, Yom Kippurim.


In Vayikra (Leviticus) 25:9, this feast is called הכפרים יום, Yom HaKippurim.


These three places are the only places where this feast is mentioned in the Torah.


The “atonements” that take place on Yom Kippur, in the Temple, will only be for sins committed in ignorance:


Bereans (Hebrews) 9:7 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.


The Kohen Gadol, the High Priest, chose two goats to be offered of Yom Kippur – one for HaShem and one for Azazel. The goat for Azazel is said to be an atonement for intentional sins.


Kippurim means to appease, make atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, be merciful, pacify, pardon, purge away, put off, and make reconciliation.


Yom HaKippurim is the actual scriptural name for this festival, which means the Day of the Atonements. The meaning has two connotations to it: One, that a person repents for his sins that he has committed against HaShem and asks HaShem for His forgiveness, and the other is to ask for repentance from your fellow man for the sins that you have committed against him.


There are two aspects of Yom HaKippurim for which everyone must strive on this sacred day: atonement and purity or cleansing [Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:30]. Atonement and purity are two processes. Our first goal on Yom HaKippurim is to earn HaShem’s merciful decision not to punish us for past misdeeds. That is atonement. It requires sincere teshuva (repentance). Purity is the pursuit of purpose for which HaShem created us. Man is called upon to endow his entire life with the attitude that every deed, morsel, and thought must be directed toward achieving that purpose. To be a wellspring of this purity is the function of Yom HaKippurim. It requires a renewed quest for purity and it provides the spiritual conditions that make it possible.


On Yom HaKippurim, there is a particular obligation to arouse one’s soul. Every sin consists of the deed and of the attitudes that underlie it. Just as man can more easily control his hands than his eyes, his actions than his imagination, so it is infinitely easier to avoid sinning in deed and to repent from sinful deeds than it is to avoid, and repent from sinful thoughts. Yom HaKippurim, the day of purity, calls for one to uproot those attitudes and thoughts.


What is there about Yom HaKippurim that proclaims purity? The Rambam provides us an insight: “There is a further positive commandment on Yom HaKippurim. It is to rest from eating and drinking. It is forbidden to bathe, to apply oil to the body, to wear shoes, or to cohabitate. It is a positive commandment to rest from all these just as it is to rest from eating.” [9]


The purpose of fasting on Yom HaKippurim is not self-affliction. Instead, eating, drinking, and other activities are ordeals from which one is freed on Yom HaKippurim. Indeed, if we understand Yom HaKippurim properly, then we realize that it is truly a day of rest. The activities on Yom HaKippurim represent the indulgence of the animal part of the body-soul partnership that is in man. “Purity” requires the supremacy of mind and soul; such indulgences stand in the way.


Viduy (confession) is inseparable from teshuva (repentance). The Torah’s commandment to repent makes explicit mention of confession, not of repentance (Bamidbar (Numbers) 5:6-7). There can be no repentance unless it is accompanied by a verbal confession. As an intelligent, thinking imaginative being, man has all sorts of thoughts flashing constantly through his mind. Even sublime thoughts of remorse and self-improvement are not strange to him, but they do not last. For his thoughts to have meaning, he must instill them into words, because the process of thought culminates when ideas are expressed and clarified. That is not as easy as it sounds. It is usually excruciatingly difficult for people to admit explicitly that they have done wrong. We excuse ourselves. We refuse to admit the truth. We shift blame. We deny the obvious. We excel at rationalizing. But the person who pauses, thinks, and wrenches from himself the unpleasant truth, “I have sinned,” has performed a great, meaningful act. That is why verbal confession is necessary before repentance can be regarded as complete.


Although sincere repentance suffices to obtain forgiveness for sins committed against HaShem, no amount of remorse can atone for sins committed against one fellow’s man. To gain atonement for sins against other human beings, one must first gain their forgiveness and repay them for any monetary damages and overdue debts. This should be done all through the year, but before Yom HaKippurim it is especially vital since there is no way to gain HaShem’s forgiveness for the interpersonal sins that are so prevalent, day in, day out. Even if someone has hurt his fellow through a ‘clever’ remark or an insulting comment, he must appease him.


If the aggrieved party refuses to forgive at the first request, the guilty party should ask a second and a third time. The requests should be made before three witnesses. If the aggrieved party still refuses to forgive, the offender need not pursue the matter further, but he should announce before ten people that he has made sincere attempt to gain forgiveness.


Someone who is asked to forgive should do so without harshness; not to forgive is cruel. The only justification for not forgiving are: a sincere desire to make the transgressor feel remorse and resolve not to repeat his misdeed; a fear that one will suffer further harassment if he is too forgiving; or if someone has been slandered and the public will not learn that the accusation was false.


Erev Yom HaKippurim


The day before Yom HaKippurim is a mixture of confident joy in HaShem’s mercy and forgiveness, and repentant preparation for the awesome judgment of Yom HaKippurim itself. The joyful aspect of the day is expressed scripturally by the commandment to feast as if it were a festival. Indeed, the sages teach that everyone who eats on erev Yom HaKippurim is rewarded as if pleasurable mitzva (commandment) were as painful and difficult as the fast of Yom HaKippurim.[10]


It is customary to eat two festive meals on Erev Yom HaKippurim, one at midday and the other called Seudah HaMafseket, meal before the fast. One should dip his challah in honey (or sugar) and eat fish and meat at the first meal. However, one should be careful to eat only easily digestible foods and refrain from eating hot foods, whose primary ingredient is milk, eggs, or garlic. Also, one should not overeat, so that he not approach Yom HaKippurim in a mood of arrogance and self-indulgence.


It is meritorious to invite the needy to join in the meals. Psalm 126 should be recited before Bircat HaMazon, grace after a meal, and the all the blessings during and after the meals should be recited with feeling and concentration, in view of the imminence of Yom HaKippurim.


It is the custom for men over the bar mitzva age (12 for girls, 13 for boys) to immerse themselves in a mikveh on Erev Yom HaKippurim. The best time to do so is close to Mincha (afternoon prayers) so the confession of the Shemoneh Esrei will be said in a state of spiritual purity. Women may immerse themselves also. No blessing is recited at this immersion.[11]


* * *


Rosh Hashanah, ushers in the Ten Days of Returning. Its message has nothing to do with compulsion or coercion, and everything to do with persuasion and potential. This is in consonance with our fundamental Jewish outlook.


HaShem created the world for it to be developed. And so, the biblical readings on Rosh Hashanah deal with the Divine compassion for Ishmael as well as for Isaac.


Our tradition requires blasts of the shofar in remembrance of the mourning mother of Sisera, arch-enemy of Israel,[12] and Yom Kippurim features the reading of the Book of Jonah, in which the prophet is sent to inspire the Assyrians (the nation responsible for the exile of our ten tribes) to repent before HaShem.


Our goal is that the wicked return to HaShem.


II. The AWESOME days


The Days of Awe are festivals of a special character, celebrated in the month of that feast which, among the feasts of the community, has as its content: arriving at rest. What distinguishes the Days of Awe from all other festivals is that here, and only here, does the Sephardic Jew kneel. He does not kneel to confess a fault or to pray for forgiveness of sins, acts to which this festival is primarily dedicated. He kneels only in beholding the immediate nearness of HaShem, hence on an occasion which transcends the earthly needs of today.


The congregation now rises to the feeling of HaShem’s nearness as it sees in memory the Temple service, and visualizes especially the moment when the High Priest, this once in all the year, pronounced the ineffable Name of HaShem, and the assembled people fell on their knees.


Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 45:22-25 “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am G-d, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In HaShem alone are righteousness and strength.’“ All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. But in HaShem all the descendants of Israel will be found righteous and will exult.


Romans 14:5-12 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to G-d; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to G-d. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Mashiach died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before G-d’s judgment seat. It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to G-d.’“ So then, each of us will give an account of himself to G-d.


Philippians 2:1-11 If you have any encouragement from being united with Mashiach, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Mashiach Yeshua: Who, being in very nature G-d, did not consider equality with G-d something to be grasped, But made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross! Therefore G-d exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, That at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, And every tongue confess that Yeshua Mashiach is Lord, to the glory of G-d the Father.


III. The Number Ten


The number ten symbolizes perfect holiness as the aim on the most sacred day of the year. The Ten Days of Repentance are concluded on the tenth of Tishri. The Viduy (Confession of Sins) begins with an immersion (baptism) of repentance, and is recited ten times on the Day of the Atonements to coincide with the tradition that the High Priest pronounced the name of HaShem ten times when he invoked divine pardon on Yom HaKippurim. Yom HaKippurim also recalls the Ten Commandments, which serve as advocates before the Supreme Judge in behalf of the children of Israel, who accepted them with love after the nations of the world refused them.


IV. Events


Yom Kippurim marks the last day of teshuva (repentance), the days from the beginning of Elul till Yom Kippurim. This is the last of the Yamim Noraim, the Awesome Days, the ten days between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement.


On this day, sometime soon, our Great High Priest, Yeshua, will go into the Temple made without hands and sprinkle His own blood on the mercy seat.[13] This will mark the beginning of the “new (new means renewed) covenant“. This covenant is a renewal of the covenant that HaShem made with us at Sinai.


The High Priest will completely eliminate sin, from Israel on this day.[14]


HaShem will forgive Israel of their sin in worshipping the golden calf.[15]


Today Moses will come down from Sinai for the third time.


The folks returning from seventy years of captivity in Babylon will fast today when they observe Yom HaKippurim.


Nabal will die today because of his sin against the HaShem’s anointed, David, who will soon rule over all of Israel. Nabal did not give David food, for the performance of the mitzva, to eat choice food and sweet drink on Yom Teruah (The Feast of Trumpets).


Two millennial days ago, when all the people were being baptized, Yeshua was baptized by Yochanan (John) the Baptist.


Luqas (Luke) 3:21-23 When all the people were being baptized, Yeshua was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened And the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Now Yeshua himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry…


Notice that this is from Luqas (Luke) who specifically wrote in chronological order (Luqas (Luke) 1:3-4). The idiom “was about thirty” means that He was exactly thirty years old from the time of His naming, His circumcision. Since His birthday was on Tishri fifteen (Succoth) and since Yom HaKippurim falls on the tenth of Tishri, we can see that this immersion (baptism) occurred on Yom HaKippurim.


Today is the beginning of the Jubilee year when all slaves are set free and return to their own land. One day soon, we will be free of sin and slavery forever!


Vayikra (Leviticus) 25:8-13 “‘Count off seven Sabbaths of years--seven times seven years--so that the seven Sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields. “‘In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to his own property.


Today the Great Shofar will be sounded throughout the land to proclaim liberty to all the inhabitants.


Today is a Sabbath of solemn rest for you. (Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:32), in contrast to the seventh day Sabbath which was called “a Sabbath of solemn rest to the Lord”.. This was to be a “lasting ordinance” (Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:31).


Luqas (Luke) 14:1 - 17:10 took place during this “appointed time“.


Today Yechezkel (Ezekiel) was brought to a very high mountain to measure and see a Temple that was like a city. This huge Temple has not yet been built. When this Temple is built, we will, again, have sin sacrifices (Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 40, 43:21). During the time of this Temple, HaShem’s people will sanctify HaShem’s Sabbaths and observe the Lord’s appointed feasts (Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 44:24)


The Temple observance of this feast is described in:


Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:2-34 HaShem said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die, because I appear in the cloud over the atonement cover. “This is how Aaron is to enter the sanctuary area: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bathe himself with water before he puts them on. From the Israelite community he is to take two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. “Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household. Then he is to take the two goats and present them before HaShem at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. He is to cast lots for the two goats--one lot for HaShem and the other for Azazel[16]. Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to HaShem and sacrifice it for a sin offering. But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before HaShem to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat. “Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering. He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before HaShem and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain. He is to put the incense on the fire before HaShem, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the Testimony, so that he will not die. He is to take some of the bull’s blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover. “He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it. In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the Tent of Meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness. No one is to be in the Tent of Meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel. “Then he shall come out to the altar that is before HaShem and make atonement for it. He shall take some of the bull’s blood and some of the goat’s blood and put it on all the horns of the altar. He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times to cleanse it and to consecrate it from the uncleanness of the Israelites. “When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites--all their sins--and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert. “Then Aaron is to go into the Tent of Meeting and take off the linen garments he put on before he entered the Most Holy Place, and he is to leave them there. He shall bathe himself with water in a holy place and put on his regular garments. Then he shall come out and sacrifice the burnt offering for himself and the burnt offering for the people, to make atonement for himself and for the people. He shall also burn the fat of the sin offering on the altar. “The man who releases the goat as a scapegoat must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp. The bull and the goat for the sin offerings, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, must be taken outside the camp; their hides, flesh and offal are to be burned up. The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp. “This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work--whether native-born or an alien living among you-- Because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before HaShem, you will be clean from all your sins. It is a Sabbath of rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance. The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments And make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the people of the community. “This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.” And it was done, as HaShem commanded Moses.


Ethiopian Jewry have a tradition that the day when Joseph reconciled with his father, Jacob, after 22 years of estrangement was the 10th of Tishri, the future date of Yom Kippur. The thematic link is clear. Father represents tradition, the past, the world of roots. If I can traverse the distance between myself and my father, then the Jewish people can traverse the distance between themselves and HaShem, ending estrangement. And HaShem, our heavenly Father, is always ready to forgive. His arms are constantly outstretched, and the gates of heaven are always open wide to receive His errant children.


A Yom Teruah event:


I Shmuel (Samuel) 25:1-37 Now Shmuel (Samuel) died, and all Israel assembled and mourned for him; and they buried him at his home in Ramah. Then David moved down into the Desert of Maon. A certain man in Maon, who had property there at Carmel, was very wealthy. He had a thousand goats and three thousand sheep, which he was shearing in Carmel. His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband, a Calebite, was surly and mean in his dealings. While David was in the desert, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep. So he sent ten young men and said to them, “Go up to Nabal at Carmel and greet him in my name. Say to him: ‘Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours! “‘Now I hear that it is sheep-shearing time. When your shepherds were with us, we did not mistreat them, and the whole time they were at Carmel nothing of theirs was missing. Ask your own servants and they will tell you. Therefore be favorable toward my young men, since we come at a festive time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them.’“ When David’s men arrived, they gave Nabal this message in David’s name. Then they waited. Nabal answered David’s servants, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?” David’s men turned around and went back. When they arrived, they reported every word. David said to his men, “Put on your swords!” So they put on their swords, and David put on his. About four hundred men went up with David, while two hundred stayed with the supplies. One of the servants told Nabal’s wife Abigail: “David sent messengers from the desert to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them. Yet these men were very good to us. They did not mistreat us, and the whole time we were out in the fields near them nothing was missing. Night and day they were a wall around us all the time we were herding our sheep near them. Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household. He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him.” Abigail lost no time. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. As she came riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, there were David and his men descending toward her, and she met them. David had just said, “It’s been useless--all my watching over this fellow’s property in the desert so that nothing of his was missing. He has paid me back evil for good. May G-d deal with David, be it ever so severely, if by morning I leave alive one male of all who belong to him!” When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. She fell at his feet and said: “My lord, let the blame be on me alone. Please let your servant speak to you; hear what your servant has to say. May my lord pay no attention to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name--his name is Fool, and folly goes with him. But as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my master sent. “Now since HaShem has kept you, my master, from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, as surely as HaShem lives and as you live, may your enemies and all who intend to harm my master be like Nabal. And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my master, be given to the men who follow you. Please forgive your servant’s offense, for HaShem will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my master, because he fights HaShem’s battles. Let no wrongdoing be found in you as long as you live. Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my master will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by HaShem your G-d. But the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. When HaShem has done for my master every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him leader over Israel, My master will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when HaShem has brought my master success, remember your servant.” David said to Abigail, “Praise be to HaShem, the G-d of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. Otherwise, as surely as HaShem, the G-d of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.” Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, “Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.” When Abigail went to Nabal, he was in the house holding a banquet like that of a king. He was in high spirits and very drunk. So she told him nothing until daybreak. Then in the morning, when Nabal was sober, his wife told him all these things, and his heart failed him and he became like a stone.


 A Yom HaKippurim event:


I Shmuel (Samuel) 25:38-42 About ten days later, HaShem struck Nabal and he died. When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Praise be to HaShem, who has upheld my cause against Nabal for treating me with contempt. He has kept his servant from doing wrong and has brought Nabal’s wrongdoing down on his own head.” Then David sent word to Abigail, asking her to become his wife. His servants went to Carmel and said to Abigail, “David has sent us to you to take you to become his wife.” She bowed down with her face to the ground and said, “Here is your maidservant, ready to serve you and wash the feet of my master’s servants.” Abigail quickly got on a donkey and, attended by her five maids, went with David’s messengers and became his wife.


It has been expounded: The ten days are the ten days of Teshuva during which the judgment of Nabal was withheld by heaven, with the hope that he might do Teshuva.[17]


Rosh HaShana 18a R. Shmuel b. Inia said in the name of Rab: Whence do we know that the final sentence on a community is never sealed? — Never sealed , [you say]? Is it not written, Thine iniquity is marked before me?[18] What he should say is, [How do we know that] although it is sealed it can yet be rescinded? Because it says, as the Lord our G-d is whenever we call upon him.[19] But it is written, Seek ye the Lord while he may be found?[20] — This verse speaks of an individual, the other of community. When can an individual [find G-d]? — Rabbah b. Abbuha said: These are the ten days between New Year and the Day of Atonement.


And it came to pass after the ten days that the Lord smote Nabal.[21] How come these ten days here? — Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: They correspond to the ten dishes which Nabal gave to the servants of David.[22] R. Nahman said in the name of Rabbah b. Abbuha: These are the ten days between New Year and the Day of Atonement.


I see the goal of Yom HaKippurim as a return to the garden of Eden. This return to Eden is highlighted by the mikveh (immersion) in water. Water was one of the two things which came out of the garden (the other thing was sinful people). The atonement wrought for us on this day is also indicative of our state while we lived in the garden. During this feast we symbolically rehearse our return to HaShem who walked with us in the garden of Eden.


It is customary not to perform weddings during these Days of Awe[23], but there is no support for this practice anywhere in the words of the early Hakhamim.[24]


There is a Talmudic dictum that “when a man marries his sins are forgiven.” Hence a wedding day is equated with Yom HaKippurim. As Yom HaKippurim atones for sins, so matrimony is a bridge to forgiveness and atonement. To emphasize the nexus between Yom HaKippurim and their wedding day, the bridegroom and bride fast on that day. In the afternoon service, the bridegroom recites the Viduy, the solemn Yom HaKippurim confession. As it is customary to wear white on the Day of Atonements as a symbol of purity, so it is traditional for the bride to wear a white gown and for the bridegroom to be clad in a kittel (white robe). Ashkenazim wear a kittle when Sephardim do not have this tradition.


This “wedding rehearsal“, of Yom HaKippurim, is meant to prepare us for the wedding of the Lamb which will take place on Yom HaKippurim sometime in the future:


Revelation 19:9 Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’“ And he added, “These are the true words of G-d.”


During these Days of Awe, many people make it a practice to study the entire Tanach. One ought to make the principle part of his study the tractate Yoma and it’s commentaries, to understand the service of Yom HaKippurim as it was in the Temple. Our sages have said, “Whoever engages in Torah is considered as one who has sacrificed a burnt offering“.[25]


Let every man examine his actions and turn from those of them that are evil; that which is a questionable transgression requires more Teshuva than that which is certain transgression, for a man regrets his actions more when he knows them than when he does not[26].


The Fast of Gedaliah


II Melachim (Kings) 25:22-26 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, to be over the people he had left behind in Judah. When all the army officers and their men heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah as governor, they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah--Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, Jaazaniah the son of the Maacathite, and their men. Gedaliah took an oath to reassure them and their men. “Do not be afraid of the Babylonian officials,” he said. “Settle down in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you.” In the seventh month, however, Ishmael son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, who was of royal blood, came with ten men and assassinated Gedaliah and also the men of Judah and the Babylonians who were with him at Mizpah. At this, all the people from the least to the greatest, together with the army officers, fled to Egypt for fear of the Babylonians.


On the third of Tishri falls the fast of Gedaliah, which coming at the close of Yom Teruah, is also called the Fast of the Seventh, after the seventh month, when Gedaliah the son of Ahikam was killed and the last ember of Israel was extinguished; and this was the cause of the ultimate exile.[27]


Tishri Eight


The eighth of Tishri, which is the eighth of the ten days of Teshuva, is called the “Thirteen Qualities,” after the hymn which Rabbi Amittai (ben Shefatiah, ca.900) composed on the thirteen divine qualities. People rise earlier to pray on that day than at other times.


V. Teshuva means “Return”.


Devarim (Deuteronomy) 30:1-10 When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come upon you and you take them to heart wherever HaShem your G-d disperses you among the nations, And when you and your children return to HaShem your G-d and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, Then HaShem your G-d will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there HaShem your G-d will gather you and bring you back. He will bring you to the land that belonged to your fathers, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. HaShem your G-d will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. HaShem your G-d will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. You will again obey HaShem and follow all his commands I am giving you today. Then HaShem your G-d will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. HaShem will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers, If you obey HaShem your G-d and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to HaShem your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul.


Eichah (Lamentations) 3:31-50 For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men. To crush underfoot all prisoners in the land, To deny a man his rights before the Most High, To deprive a man of justice--would not the Lord see such things? Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come? Why should any living man complain when punished for his sins? Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to HaShem. Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to G-d in heaven, and say: “We have sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven. “You have covered yourself with anger and pursued us; you have slain without pity. You have covered yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can get through. You have made us scum and refuse among the nations. “All our enemies have opened their mouths wide against us. We have suffered terror and pitfalls, ruin and destruction.” Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed. My eyes will flow unceasingly, without relief, Until HaShem looks down from heaven and sees.


Hoshea (Hosea) 3:1-5 HaShem said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as HaShem loves the Israelites, though they turn to other G-ds and love the sacred raisin cakes.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you.” For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek HaShem their G-d and David their king. They will come trembling to HaShem and to his blessings in the last days.


The Haftarah portion for the Sabbath during the Awesome days: Hoshea (Hosea) 14:1-9


The Haftarah portion for the Sabbath during the Awesome days:

Yoel (Joel) 2:11-27

Micah 7:18-20.


VI. Definition:


Yom HaKippurim - Day of Atonements


3725 kippur, kip-poor’; from 3722; expiation (only in plur.):-atonement.


--------------- Dictionary Trace --------------

3722 kaphar, kaw-far’; a prim. root; to cover (spec. with bitumen); fig. to expiate or condone, to placate or cancel:-appease, make (an) atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, be merciful, pacify, pardon, purge (away), put off, (make) reconcile (-liation).


VI. Names:


Yom HaKippurim (Day of the Atonements - this is the biblical name. Notice the similarity to Purim. In fact Ki is a causative prefix often found in the scriptures. Note that on both days the pur or lot is cast.) So, Yom Kippurim can mean the “Day of Atonements”, or it can mean a “Day like Purim”. The Vilna Gaon compared Purim to Yom HaKippurim as two halves of the same day. It would seem, then, that the two holidays are not only related but, in some way, Purim is even greater (Yom Kippurim is “like” but not as an “equal”)!


Yom Kippurim and Purim both serve to reconnect us to the highest Source of spirituality. However, on Yom Kippurim we abandon the physical while on Purim we embrace it. Thus the greatness of Purim is the unique opportunity for both body and soul to revel in the hidden spirituality of the physical world.


Here are some of the names given to Yom HaKippurim:


Yom Kippurim

Day of Atonements

Yom Kippur

Day of Atonement


Talmud - “The Day”

Yom ha-Asor

The Tenth Day

White Fast

Tisha B’Av was

the “Black Fast”

Yoma Rabbah

In Babylon - “Great Day”

Tzoma Rabbah

In Israel - “Great Fast”

The fast

II Luqas (Acts) 27:9



VII. Order of events:


Yoma 39b Our Rabbis taught:[28] Ten times did the high priest pronounce the [Ineffable] Name on that day: Three times at the first confession, thrice at the second confession, thrice in connection with the he-goat to be sent away, and once in connection with the lots. And it already happened that when he pronounced the Name, his voice was heard even unto Jericho.[29]


* * *


Yoma 32a Our Rabbis taught: And Aaron shall come into the tent of meeting[30] For what purpose does he enter? For no other purpose than that of taking out the censer and the coal-pan, the whole portion being reported in right order with the exception of this passage.[31] For what reason?[32] — R. Hisda said: There is a tradition: Five immersions and ten sanctifications did the high priest undergo on that day. If he had performed them in the order mentioned in the scriptures there could have been no more than three immersions and six sanctifications.[33]


It was taught: R. Judah said: Whence do we know of the five immersions and ten sanctifications which the high priest had to undergo on that day? To teach us that it is said: And Aaron shall come into the tent of meeting, and shall put off the linen garments . . . and he shall wash his flesh in water in a holy place and put on his other vestments and come forth and offer [his burnt-offering].[34] Thus you infer that whenever one changes from one service to another,[35] an immersion is required. Rabbi said: Whence do we know that the high priest had to undergo five immersions and ten sanctifications on that day? Because it is said: He shall put on the holy linen tunic, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with the linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired; they are the holy garments; and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and put them on.[36] Hence you learn that whosoever changes from service to service requires an immersion. Moreover, it says, ‘They are the holy garments’, thus putting all the garments on the same level. Now there are five services;[37] The continual offering of dawn, [performed] in the golden garments: the service of the day [the Day of Atonement], in linen garments; of his [the high priest’s] and the people’s ram, in the golden garments; [the taking out] of the censer and coal-pan, in white garments; the continual evening offering in the golden garments — Whence do we know that every immersion required two sanctifications? For it is written: And he shall put off . . . and he shall wash; and he shall wash and he shall put on.[38] — R. Eliezer b. Simeon said: This can be inferred a minori ad majus: If in a case where no immersion is required,[39] sanctification is yet required,[40] how much more, in a place in which immersion is required,[41] is sanctification also required — But [perhaps let us also infer] that as there only one sanctification is required, here, too, one only would be necessary? Therefore Scripture says: And Aaron shall come into the tent of meeting, and shall put off the linen garments which he put on — what is the meaning of ‘which he put on’? Does not a man put off but that which he did put on? Rather [are these superfluous words written] to put the putting off on the same level with the putting on of the garments; just as the putting on of the garments requires sanctification,[42] so does the putting off of the garments require it.


 [The master said]:[43] ‘R. Judah said: Whence do we know of the five immersions and ten sanctifications which the high priest had to undergo on that Day? To teach us that Scripture says: “And Aaron shall come into the tent of meeting . . . and shall wash his flesh in water in a holy place.” Thus you infer that whenever one changes from one service to another, an immersion is required.’ We found [this rule] for the change from the white garments to the golden ones.[44] Whence do we know [that it also applies] for the change from the golden to the linen ones?


VIII. Readings


Festival Torah Cycle:


Morning:         Vayikra (Leviticus) 16: 1-34

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29: 7-11


Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 57:14 - 58:14


Mincha:          Vayikra (Leviticus) 18: 1-30

Jonah (the whole book)

Micah 7:18-20


Iyov (Job) is read by some early in the afternoon.




Ironically Jonah was the only successful prophet in scripture! The only one whom people listen to and who causes them to actually change their ways. Yet it is his knowledge that he will succeed, not doubts about a possible failure, that causes Jonah to flee. Jonah is not afraid that the people of Nineveh will dismiss him as a quack; rather, he knows that they will repent. As he says:


Jonah 4:2 He prayed to HaShem, “HaShem, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate G-d, slow to anger and abounding in love, a G-d who relents from sending calamity.


There is also a deep Kabalistic understanding that the story of Yonah is the story of a neshama (soul) being sent to the earth. It is clothed in a body which is represented by the ship. The rest of the book deals with the mission of the neshama after it is clothed in a body.


The tenth day of the seventh month is:


I Melachim (Kings) 8:2 All the men of Israel came together to King Solomon at the time of the festival in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month.


The seventh month is called Ethanim and is also known as Tishri.


* * *


Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:26-32 HaShem said to Moses, “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to HaShem by fire. Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before HaShem your G-d. Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people. I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on that day. You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath.”


You must deny yourself.

It is a lasting ordinance.

You shall do no work.


Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:32 It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath.”


Shabbat Shabbaton means Sabbath of solemn rest


Someone asked the pious Rabbi Zevi ha-Kohen of Rymanov: Wherein lies the superiority of Yom HaKippurim, that it is called “a Sabbath of Sabbaths”? Is not the Sabbath also written of as “a Sabbath of Sabbaths unto the lord”?


Shemot (Exodus) 35:1-3 Moses assembled the whole Israelite community and said to them, “These are the things HaShem has commanded you to do: For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to HaShem. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death. Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.” Moses said to the whole Israelite community, “This is what HaShem has commanded:


He replied to him who asked: I see that you do not read the portion of the week with care. Indeed, of the Sabbath it is written, “a Sabbath of Sabbaths unto the Lord,” but of Yom HaKippurim it is written, “A Sabbath of Sabbaths unto you”


For on Yom HaKippurim we draw the sanctity of the superior realm down nearer to us.[45]


Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:32 It [shall be] unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth [day] of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.


7677shabbathown, shab-baw-thone’; from 7676; a sabbatism or special holiday:- rest, sabbath.


--------------- Dictionary Trace ----------------

7676shabbath, shab-bawth’; intens. from 7673; intermission, i.e. (spec.) the Sabbath:-(+ every) sabbath.


Hebrew definition and rendering to English deny


H6031 `anah, aw-naw’; a prim. root [possibly rather ident. with 6030 through the idea of looking down or browbeating]; to depress lit. or fig., trans. or intrans. (in various applications, as follow):-abase self, afflict (-ion, self), answer [by mistake for 6030], chasten self, deal hardly with, defile, exercise, force, gentleness, humble (self), hurt, ravish, sing [by mistake for 6030], speak [by mistake for 6030], submit self, weaken, X in any wise.


IX. The Fast


The Torah teaches us that “You must deny yourself”:


Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:29 “This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work--whether native-born or an alien living among you.


Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:31 It is a sabbath of rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance.


Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:27 “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to HaShem by fire.


Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:29 Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people.


Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:32 It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath.”


Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:7 “‘On the tenth day of this seventh month hold a sacred assembly. You must deny yourselves and do no work.


You must do no work! It is a lasting ordinance.

You must fast, don’t even drink,

no love making,

no bathing,

do not anoint your body with oil, and

do not wear leather shoes.[46]


As you can see, the body is quite deprived on Yom HaKippurim. Such abstention is not meant to be a sick kind of torture. Though abstention from each item on the above list has its own reason behind it, collectively, the five are meant to draw us away temporarily from our bodiesdesires. As a result, we can focus more pointedly on our soul. Just for the day.


(By the way - notice I say bodily “desires” and not “needs.” If someone has a medical NEED to eat or drink or bathe, etc..., then they must go ahead and do so (Consult a Hakham if there is any doubt.). But your average healthy adult can survive the twenty-five hours without these things. True, it’s not comfortable, but it is livable.)


A sick person is fed at the word of experts. If there are no experts present, he is fed if he wishes, until he says, Enough![47]


Where the law allows a sick man to eat, and he does not wish to, that is a foolish kind of piety, of which it was said:


Bereshit (Genesis) 9:5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.


It is also said:


Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 7:16 Do not be over righteous, neither be over wise--why destroy yourself?


So the sick man is fed against his will.[48]


Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:29 And [this] shall be a statute forever unto you: [that] in the seventh month, on the tenth [day] of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, [whether it be] one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you:


2708 chuqqah, khook-kaw’; fem. of 2706, and mean. substantially the same:- appointed, custom, manner, ordinance, site, statute.


-------------- Dictionary Trace -----------------

2706 choq, khoke; from 2710; an enactment; hence an appointment (of time, space quantity, labor or usage):-appointed, bound, commandment, convenient, custom, decree (-d), due, law, measure, X necessary, ordinance (-nary), portion, set time, statute, task.


Rosh Hashanah 9a-b Whence then does R. Ishmael derive the rule that an addition is to be made from the profane on to the holy? From what has been taught: And ye shall afflict your souls on the ninth day of the month in the evening from evening to evening, shall ye keep your Sabbath (Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:32). I might think literally on the ninth day. It therefore says, In the evening. If in the evening, I might think, after dark? It therefore says, on the ninth day [and after dark would be on the tenth]. What then am I to understand? That we begin fasting while it is yet day; which shows that we add from the profane on to the holy. I know this so far only in regard to the inception of the holy day; how do I know it in regard to its termination? Because it says, from evening to evening. So far I have brought only the Day of Atonement under the rule, how do I know that it applies to Sabbaths also? Because it says, ye shall rest. How do I know that it applies to festivals? Because it says, your Sabbath. How am I to understand this? That wherever there is an obligation to rest, we add from the profane on to the holy.


What then does R. Akiba make of this, and ye shall afflict your souls on the ninth day? He requires it for the lesson learnt by R. Hiyya b. Rab from Difti. For R. Hiyya b. Rab from Difti learnt: “And ye shall afflict your souls on the ninth day”. Do we then fast on the ninth day? Is it not on the tenth day that we fast? We do; but the use of this word indicates that if a man eats and drinks on the ninth day, the scripture accounts it to him as if he fasted on both the ninth and the tenth days.


Shemot (Exodus) 30:1-10 “Make an altar of acacia wood for burning incense. It is to be square, a cubit long and a cubit wide, and two cubits high--its horns of one piece with it. Overlay the top and all the sides and the horns with pure gold, and make a gold molding around it. Make two gold rings for the altar below the molding--two on opposite sides--to hold the poles used to carry it. Make the poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. Put the altar in front of the curtain that is before the ark of the Testimony--before the atonement cover that is over the Testimony--where I will meet with you. “Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps. He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before HaShem for the generations to come. Do not offer on this altar any other incense or any burnt offering or grain offering, and do not pour a drink offering on it. Once a year Aaron shall make atonement on its horns. This annual atonement must be made with the blood of the atoning sin offering for the generations to come. It is most holy to HaShem.”


II Luqas (Acts) 27:9 speaks of Paul’s sailing during “the fast”. “The Fast” was another name given to the Day of Atonement. Curiously, the Tanach does not command a fast, but rather to “deny yourselves”. It is only in the oral law (Mishna Yoma) that we find that this “deny yourselves” includes a fast.


II Luqas (Acts) 27:1-10 When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us. The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs. From there we put out to sea again and passed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us. When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia. There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board. We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone. We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea. Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Fast. So Paul warned them, “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.”


X. The Jubilee Freedom


The Yovel, or Jubilee, year begins on Yom HaKippurim:


Vayikra (Leviticus) 25:8-18 “‘Count off seven sabbaths of years--seven times seven years--so that the seven sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields. “‘In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to his own property. “‘If you sell land to one of your countrymen or buy any from him, do not take advantage of each other. You are to buy from your countryman on the basis of the number of years since the Jubilee. And he is to sell to you on the basis of the number of years left for harvesting crops. When the years are many, you are to increase the price, and when the years are few, you are to decrease the price, because what he is really selling you is the number of crops. Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your G-d. I am HaShem your G-d. “‘Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land.


The Sages teach that the slave go free on the tenth of Tishri, but the Yovel year begins on the first of Tishri:


Rosh HaShana 8b AND FOR JUBILEE YEARS. [is the New Year for] Jubilees on the first of Tishri? Surely [the New Year for] Jubilees is on the tenth of Tishri, as it is written, on the day of atonement shall ye make proclamation with the horn?[49] — What authority is here followed? R. Ishmael the son of R. Johanan b. Beroka, as it has been taught: And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year.[50] What is the point of these words? [It is this]. Since it says, On the day of atonement [ye shall make proclamation ],[51] I might think that the year is sanctified only from the Day of Atonement onwards. Therefore it says, And ye shall sanctify the fiftieth year. This teaches that it is sanctified from its inception. On this ground R. Ishmael the son of R. Johanan b. Beroka laid down that from New Year to the Day of Atonement slaves were neither dismissed to their homes nor subjected to their masters, but they ate and drank and made merry, wearing garlands on their heads.[52] When the Day of Atonement came, the Beth din sounded the horn; slaves were dismissed to their homes and fields returned to their original owners. And the Rabbis [ — what do they make of this verse]? — [They say it teaches that] you are to sanctify years but not months.[53]


Rashi indicates that we have the beginning of a Yovel year in:


Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 40:1 In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the fall of the city--on that very day the hand of HaShem was upon me and he took me there.


This is derived from:


Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 1:1-3 In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of G-d. On the fifth of the month--it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin-- The word of HaShem came to Yechezkel (Ezekiel) the priest, the son of Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. There the hand of HaShem was upon him.


The thirtieth year ... from the Jubilee...


XI. The Sacrifices:


Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:7-11 ‘On the tenth day of this seventh month hold a sacred assembly. You must deny yourselves and do no work. Present as an aroma pleasing to HaShem a burnt offering of one young bull, one ram and seven male lambs a year old, all without defect. With the bull prepare a grain offering of three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil; with the ram, two-tenths; And with each of the seven lambs, one-tenth. Include one male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the sin offering for atonement and the regular burnt offering with its grain offering, and their drink offerings.


* We are to hold a sacred assembly.




The burnt offering was:


Seven (7) male lambs, each a year old with it’s grain and drink offering.

One (1) young bull with it’s grain and drink offering.

One (1) ram with it’s grain and drink offering.


The seven male lambs were offered only at:


Rosh Chodesh

Bamidbar (Numbers) 28:11,

The Feast of Unleavened Bread

Bamidbar (Numbers) 28:19,



Yom Teruah

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:2,

Yom HaKippurim

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:8,

The seventh day of Succoth

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:32, and

The eighth day of Succoth

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:36.


The one (1) young bull was offered at:


As a regular burnt offering

Vayikra (Leviticus) 1:5,



Consecrate the priests

Shemot (Exodus) 29:1, Bamidbar (Numbers) 8:8,

The dedication of the altar that Solomon built

Bamidbar (Numbers) 7:15,

Yom Teruah

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:2, and

Yom HaKippurim

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:8.


The ram was used to / at:


Consecrate the priests

Shemot (Exodus) 29:1, Bamidbar (Numbers) 8:8,



The dedication of the altar that Solomon built

Bamidbar (Numbers) 7:15,

On seven of the eight days of Succoth

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:13,14,17,20,23,26,29,32.


The sin offering was: One (1) male goat


When a leader sins unintentionally

Vayikra (Leviticus) 4:23,

general sin offering

Vayikra (Leviticus) 9:3,



Dedication of the altar

Bamidbar (Numbers) 7:15 et.al.,

for unintentional sin

Bamidbar (Numbers) 15:24,

Rosh Chodesh

Bamidbar (Numbers) 28:15,

the Feast of Unleavened Bread

Bamidbar (Numbers) 28:22,

Yom Teruah

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:5,

Yom HaKippurim

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:11,


Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:16,

daily sin offering in Yechezkel (Ezekiel)’s temple

Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 43:25,

Passover in Yechezkel (Ezekiel)’s temple

Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 45:23.


The grain offering, associated with the burnt offering, was 3/10 of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil.


The three-tenths of an ephah is associated with any bull burnt offering these feasts had a single bull:


Yom Teruah

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:1-3,

Yom HaKippurim

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:7-9


This offering is associated with the lamb burnt offering. It was required only on:


The Sabbath

Bamidbar (Numbers) 28:9,

Rosh Chodesh

Bamidbar (Numbers) 28:12,

The Feast of Unleavened Bread

Bamidbar (Numbers) 28:20,


Bamidbar (Numbers) 28:28,

Yom Teruah

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:3,

Yom HaKippurim

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:9, and


Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:14,


The grain offering was:

 With the one (1) bull: three-tenths (3/10) of an ephah mixed with oil,

 with the one (1) ram: two-tenths (2/10) of an ephah mixed with oil,

 with the seven (7) lambs: one-tenth (1/10) of an ephah mixed with oil.


Atonement (covering):

 one (1) male goat.


The atonement goat was required exclusively at:


The Feast of Unleavened Bread

Bamidbar (Numbers) 28:22,


Bamidbar (Numbers) 28:30,

Yom Teruah

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:5

Yom HaKippurim

Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:11.


Bamidbar (Numbers) 28:1-2 HaShem said to Moses, “Give this command to the Israelites and say to them: ‘See that you present to me at the appointed time the food for my offerings made by fire, as an aroma pleasing to me.’


This is the “moed“, the appointment.


Bereans (Hebrews) 8:1 - 9:15 The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, And who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man. Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” But the ministry Yeshua has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises. For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But G-d found fault with the people and said: “The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their G-d, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” By calling this covenantnew,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear. Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lamp stand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, Which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now. When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings--external regulations applying until the time of the new order. When Mashiach came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Mashiach, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to G-d, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living G-d! For this reason Mashiach is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance--now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.


The time is coming...it was future to the writer. It was for sins committed in ignorance. Yeshua is our atonement for sin:


Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 53:4-12 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by G-d, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and HaShem has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was HaShem’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though HaShem makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of HaShem will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light [of life] and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.


Romans 3:23-26 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of G-d, And are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Mashiach Yeshua. G-d presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-- He did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Yeshua.


I Yochanan (John) 2:1-2 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Yeshua Mashiach, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.


Bereans (Hebrews) 2:16 - 3:1 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to G-d, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Yeshua, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.


When did Yeshua enter the most holy place with His blood?


Bereans (Hebrews) 9:7-8 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper.


The bull for the High Priest and the Goat for HaShem were both burned on top of The Mount of Olives (see EAST). This is also the place where Mashiach was crucified. This is the only place where you can be outside the camp, outside the city, and see the curtain in the Holy of Holies. This is a significant and vital link between what Messiah did on the eve of Passover and what happens on Yom HaKippurim.


Bereans (Hebrews) 10:15-25 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Yeshua, By a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, And since we have a great priest over the house of G-d, Let us draw near to G-d with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.


What day? The Day of Atonement? Is this the blood that initiate the “newcovenant?


* * *


Revelation 1:4-6 Yochanan (John), To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, And from Yeshua Mashiach, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, And has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his G-d and Father--to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.


Revelation 5:7-10 He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for G-d from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our G-d, and they will reign on the earth.”


I suspect that Luqas (Luke) 14:1 - 17:10 took place on the Sabbath between Yom Teruah and Yom HaKippurim.


Luqas (Luke) 14:1-35 One Sabbath, when Yeshua went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy. Yeshua asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him away. Then he asked them, “If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?” And they had nothing to say. When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Then Yeshua said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, And you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Yeshua, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of G-d.” Yeshua replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’“ Large crowds were traveling with Yeshua, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, Saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”


Luqas (Luke) 15:1-32 Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Yeshua told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders And goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of G-d over one sinner who repents.” Yeshua continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’“


Luqas (Luke) 16:1-31 Yeshua told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’ “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg-- I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’ “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ “‘Eight hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied. “The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred.’ “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’ “‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied. “He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’ “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both G-d and Money.” The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Yeshua. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but G-d knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in G-d’s sight. “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until Yochanan (John). Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of G-d is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law. “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores And longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, For I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’“


Luqas (Luke) 17:1-10 Yeshua said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. “Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat‘? Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’“


Revelation 3:1-6 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of G-d and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my G-d. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.


The Bull:


1. Called a “sin offering“.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:3

2. Aaron’s own sin offering.

            Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:6, 16:11 (3 times)

3. Used to make atonement for Aaron and his house.

            Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:6, 16:11 (3 times)

4. Sprinkle blood on the front of the atonement cover.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:14

5. Sprinkle blood with his finger, seven times before the atonement cover.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:14

6. He is to make atonement for the altar by putting it on all the horns of the altar.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:18

7. He is to sprinkle some blood seven times, with his finger, to cleanse it and to consecrate it from all the uncleanness of the Israelites.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:19

8. Along with the goat this makes atonement for the altar, the Holy of Holies, and the Tent of Meeting.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:20

9. The rest of the bull is to be burned completely, outside the camp.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:27

10. The one who burns up the bull must baptize himself and his clothes before he can return to the camp.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:28


The Sin Offering Goat:


1. To be presented to the Lord at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:7

2. The High priest is to cast lots for the goat “for the Lord”.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:8

3. Aaron is to sacrifice it as a sin offering.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:9

4. It is to be slaughtered after the bull.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:15

5. It’s blood is to be sprinkled, seven times, on the front of the Atonement cover just as the bull’s blood was.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:15

6. It is used to atone for the most Holy Place, and the Tent of Meeting, because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:16

7. It is to be mixed with the blood of the bull and applied to the horns of the altar of incense.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:18

8. The mixed blood is to be sprinkled seven times on the altar of incense, to cleanse it and consecrate it from the uncleanness of the Israelites.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:19

9. Aaron is to burn it’s fat on the altar.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:25

10. The hide, flesh, and offal is to be burned outside the camp.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:27

11. The man who burns it up must bathe himself and his clothes before he can return to the camp.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:28


The Goat for Azazel:


1. It is part of the sin offering from the Israelites.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:5

2. It is to be presented to the Lord before the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:7

3. It is to be chosen by lot, for Azazel.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:8

4. It is to be presented to the Lord alive.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:10

5. It is used for making atonement by send it into the desert as Azazel.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:10

6. Aaron is to lay both hands on it and confess on it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:21

7. All the sins of the Israelites are to be put on the goat’s head.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:21

8. The goat is to be sent into the desert by a man appointed for the task.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:21

9. The goat will carry on itself all the sins of the Israelites to a solitary place.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:22

10. It is to be released in the desert.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:22

11. The man who releases the goat must wash his clothes and bathe before he can return to the camp.

                                    Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:26


KI_PURIM and PURIM are related.




6499 par, par; or par, pawr; from 6565; a bullock (appar. as breaking forth in wild strength, or perh. as dividing the hoof):-(+ young) bull (- ock), calf, ox.


------------- Dictionary Trace -----------------

6565 parar, paw-rar’; a prim. root; to break up (usually fig., i.e. to violate, frustrate):-X any ways, break (asunder), cast off, cause to cease, X clean, defeat, disannul, disappoint, dissolve, divide, make of none effect, fail, frustrate, bring (come) to nought, X utterly, make void.


The first usage of bull:


Bereshit (Genesis) 32:13-15 He spent the night there, and from what he had with him he selected a gift for his brother Esau: Two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, Thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys.


The first usage of the blood of bulls:


Shemot (Exodus) 24:4 Moses then wrote down everything HaShem had said. He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to HaShem. Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything HaShem has said; we will obey.” Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that HaShem has made with you in accordance with all these words.”




5795 `ez, aze; from 5810; a she-goat (as strong), but masc. in plur. (which also is used ellipt. for goats’ hair):-(she) goat, kid.


------------ Dictionary Trace -----------------

5810 `azaz, aw-zaz’; a prim. root; to be stout (lit. or fig.):-harden, impudent, prevail, strengthen (self), be strong.


The first usage of goat and ram:


Bereshit (Genesis) 15:9-21 So HaShem said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.” Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away. As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then HaShem said to him, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day HaShem made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates-- The land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”


The first use of goat’s blood:


Bereshit (Genesis) 37:31 Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. They took the ornamented robe back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.” He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.”




352 ‘ayil, ah’-yil; from the same as 193; prop. strength; hence anything strong; spec. a chief (politically); also a ram (from his strength); a pilaster (as a strong support); an oak or other strong tree:-mighty (man), lintel, oak, post, ram, tree.

----------------- Dictionary Trace ----------------------

193 ‘uwl, ool; from an unused root mean. to twist, i.e. (by impl.) be strong; the body (as being rolled together); also powerful:-mighty, strength.




8081 shemen, sheh’-men; from 8080; grease, espec. liquid (as from the olive, often perfumed); fig. richness:-anointing, X fat (things), X fruitful, oil ([-ed]), ointment, olive, + pine.


Bereshit (Genesis) 28:10-22 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of G-d were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood HaShem, and he said: “I am HaShem, the G-d of your father Abraham and the G-d of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely HaShem is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of G-d; this is the gate of heaven.” Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If G-d will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear So that I return safely to my father’s house, then HaShem will be my G-d And this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be G-d’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”


DRINK offering:


5262 necek, neh’-sek; or necek, nay’-sek; from 5258; a libation; also a cast idol:-cover, drink offering, molten image. ^ nicman. See 5567.


---------------- Dictionary Trace ---------------------

5258 nacak, naw-sak’; a prim. root; to pour out, espec. a libation, or to cast (metal); by anal. to anoint a king:-cover, melt, offer, (cause to) pour (out), set (up).


5567 caman, saw-man’; a prim. root; to designate:-appointed.


The first usage of a drink offering:


Bereshit (Genesis) 35:9-15 After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, G-d appeared to him again and blessed him. G-d said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.” So he named him Israel. And G-d said to him, “I am G-d Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from your body. The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.” Then G-d went up from him at the place where he had talked with him. Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where G-d had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. Jacob called the place where G-d had talked with him Bethel.




3532 kebes, keh-bes’; from an unused root mean. to dominate; a ram (just old enough to butt):-lamb, sheep.


The first usage of lamb:


Shemot (Exodus) 12:3-11 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire--head, legs and inner parts. Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is HaShem’s Passover.


So, each of these offerings seems to point back to a covenant that HaShem made with men. Hmmm...


There is also a reminder of HaShem’s promise to multiply.


We also see goats for Esau.


Several of the events happened at or near Mt. Zion.


The first time we see two goats is in:


Bereshit (Genesis) 27:1-10 When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he called for Esau his older son and said to him, “My son.” “Here I am,” he answered. Isaac said, “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death. Now then, get your weapons--your quiver and bow--and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.” Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau left for the open country to hunt game and bring it back, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, ‘Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of HaShem before I die.’ Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.”


The word ‘hairy’ in:


Bereshit (Genesis) 27:11 Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I’m a man with smooth skin.


and the word ‘goat’ in:


Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:7 Then he is to take the two goats and present them before HaShem at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.


“Hairy” and “goat” are the same Hebrew word.


From an audience of the Lubavitcher Rebbe with a group of Jewish students:


The Ten Days of Teshuva (Repentance) which begin with the two days of Rosh HaShana and continue through their culmination, the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, are the ten days of the inauguration of the new year. Between these three solemn days of the year we are given a period of seven days, containing every day of the week; one Sunday, one Monday, and so forth. This complete week, neither more nor less, is given to us to enable us to atone and repent for any wrong deeds accounted for during the previous year, and to better our way of life in the new year. That we have been given a complete week in which to accomplish this is significant: Spending Sunday of this week as we should, and making the most of the time, serves as a repentance and atonement especially for all the wrong done on all the Sundays of the previous year; the same may be done on the Monday of this week for all the Mondays of the past year, and so on.


However, repentance implies two essential conditions: regret for the past and resolution for the future. Therefore, this seven-day period is also a means of planned preparation for the forthcoming year. On the Sunday of this week we should think in particular of bettering the Sundays of the upcoming new year. This will give us the strength and ability to carry out and fulfill our obligations on the Sundays to come. Likewise, with regard to all the other days of this as regards the forthcoming year.


Yom HaKippurim is the actual scriptural name for this festival which means the Day of Atonements. The meaning has two connotations to it: one, that a person repents to HaShem for his sins that he has committed and ask HaShem for his forgiveness and the other is to ask for repentance from your fellow man for the sins that you have committed against him.


Since the beginning of time HaShem has designated and sanctified this day for our atonement. The following events happened on Yom HaKippurim:


(1) Moses came down from Mount Sinai carrying the second Tablets of the Law.


(2) Also the Kohen Gadol was permitted to enter the Holy of Holies, the only time any human being was permitted to enter that holiest of all places.


(3) Lastly, Yeshua came down to Yochanan (John) the Baptist (Dipper) to do the mikveh.


Moses’ descent from Sinai was one of the supreme moments in Jewish history, because it signified that HaShem had forgiven Israel for the grievous sin of the Golden Calf. It should not be forgotten that eighty days before that first day of atonement, the very existence of the nation was in doubt. Moses had found them prancing around the Golden Calf and he had smashed the first Tablets. HaShem had expressed His intention to exterminate the nation and begin a new Jewish race with Moses’ offspring. Only Moses’ prayers and then the people’s repentance had saved them from destruction, and his descent from the mountain with the second Tablets guaranteed that HaShem had indeed forgiven and renewed His intimacy with Israel, as it were. A renewed closeness had been achieved and with Moses as it’s agent, the Jewish people had united with HaShem. On every Yom HaKippurim thereafter, the Kohen Gadol would enter the Holy of Holies, only one day a year and only one representative of the nation, entering the place where the Tablets were kept and which represents the Oneness of the majesty of HaShem. The service of Yom HaKippurim brings out some essential truths. The Sages teach us that the Kohen Gadol’s incense service in the Holy of Holies provided atonement for the sin of gossip, slander, and rumors and the service of the he-goat to Azazel signified that our sins are the fault of external factors, the evil that is represented by Esau. All of this is brought out by the uniqueness of Yom HaKippurim, the day that was created for atonement, where Satan is stripped of his power, and when everyone can raise to the level of the angels.


In Matityahu (Matthew) 3, Yeshua went up from the water when ‘the heavens were opened up and the He saw the Spirit of HaShem descending as a dove, and coming upon Him, and behold a voice out of the heavens, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”‘


There is coming a day that is called the “great and terrible day of HaShem[54] where Yeshua is going to take us all out into the wilderness execute judgment and give out the punishment to both the Jews and Gentiles.[55] Daniel 7:9-10 says that “I kept looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames. Its wheels were a burning fire. A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him; thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; the court sat and the books were opened.” In Revelation 11:17-19, tells us that ‘“Lord G-d, the Almighty, who art and who wast, because Thou has taken Thy great power and hast begun to reign. And the nations were enraged, and Thy wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to give their reward to Thy bond-servants the prophets and to the saints and to those who fear Thy name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.” And the temple of HaShem which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.’ Chapter 20 shows the judgment of HaShem is being taken place after the 1,000 years were completed of Sabbath rest, the book of life was opened and all the people were judged according to their deeds. Those that were not found in the book of life were thrown into the lake of fire with Satan, the beast and the false prophet. When the new heaven and the new earth comes down out of heaven there will be nothing unclean and no one practicing abomination and lying for only those who are written into the book of life will be able to enter into it.


XII. Yom HaKippurim in post biblical writings:


Book of Jubilees 34:10-19 He [Jacob] sent Joseph to learn about the welfare of his brothers from his house in the land of Shechem and he found them in the land of Dothan. And they dealt treacherously with him, and formed a plot against him to slay him, but changing their minds, they sold him to Ishmaelite merchants, and they brought him down into Egypt, and they sold him to Potiphar, the eunuch of Pharaoh, the chief of the cooks, priest of the city of Elev. And the sons of Jacob slaughtered a kid, and dipped the coat of Joseph in the blood and sent [it] to Jacob their father on the tenth of the seventh month. And he mourned all that night, for they had brought it to him in the evening, and he became feverish with mourning for his death, and he said: “An evil beast hath devoured Joseph”; and all the members of his house were grieving and mourning with him all that day. And his sons and daughter’s rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted for his son. And on that day Bilhah heard that Joseph had perished, and she died mourning him, and she was living in Qafratef, and Dinah also, his daughter, died after Joseph had perished. And there came these three mournings upon Israel in one month. And they buried Bilhah over against the tomb of Rachel, and Dinah also, his daughter, they buried there. And he mourned for Joseph one year, and did not cease, for he said, “Let me go down to the grave mourning for my son.” For this reason it is ordained for the children of Israel that they should afflict themselves on the tenth of the seventh month [Yom HaKippurim] - on the day that the news which made him weep for Joseph came to Jacob his father - that they should make atonement for themselves thereon with a young goat on the tenth of the seventh month, once a year, for their sins; for they had grieved the affection of their father regarding Joseph his son. And this day has been ordained that they should grieve thereon for their sins, and for all their transgressions and for all their errors, so that they might cleanse themselves on that day once a year.


XIII. The service of the High Priest:


A prominent element of the Yom HaKippurim service is the avodah, the poetic description of the tasks of the High Priest in the Beit HaMikdash on Yom HaKippurim.


Recounting the service in the Beit HaMikdash remains profoundly significant for us, since the offering of a sacrifice was far more than a physical activity.


Every activity carried out in the Beit HaMikdash is paralleled within the spiritual sanctuary of every Believer’s heart.


The physical procedure of offering a sacrifice, for example, is an external manifestation of a certain process of spiritual growth.


Although the sacrifices bore spiritual significance throughout the year, their effect was heightened on Yom HaKippurim, when they were offered by the High Priest as the emissary of the entire congregation:


Seven days before Yom HaKippurim the high priest was taken away from his home and placed in the Chamber of the Counselors, and another priest was prepared to take his place, in case something should happen to him and he should become unfit for the service.


The complete service with all its details is available at: KOHEN.


XIV. Customs


The Recitation of Selichot - Penitential Prayers


In the Shulchan Aruch we have the following:


Orech Chayim 581 We have a custom to rise before dawn to say penitential prayers and supplications starting from Rosh Chodesh (the beginning of the month of) Elul and continuing until Yom Kippur.”


This is the custom of Sephardi Jews. Ashkenazi Jews begin saying Selichot the Sunday before Rosh HaShana. However, if Rosh HaShana falls out on either Monday or Tuesday (as it does this year), They start saying Selichot from the Sunday of the week preceding Rosh HaShana.


Why is there a custom to say Selichot, and why begin with Rosh Chodesh?


The Mishna Berurah writes that Moshe went up to Mt. Sinai on Rosh Chodesh Elul to receive the second set to Luchot, the tablets upon which the ten commandments were inscribed. Moshe then spent the next forty days on the mountain, returning to the nation on Yom HaKippurim. The fact that the nation of Israel received this second set demonstrated that HaShem had once again found the nation worthy of receiving them, after they had sinned and worshipped the Golden Calf when Moshe went to receive the first set of Tablets. Because HaShem showed favor to the Jewish people then, it is considered a favored time, and one in which our prayers are readily listened to and answered by HaShem. We therefore say Selichot during this time, asking HaShem for forgiveness and to find favor with us, so we can start the new year off positively.


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Rabbi Ami taught: “The numerical value of the word HaSatan, meaning ‘the Satan’ in Hebrew is 364 (heh=5, shin=300, tet=9, nun=50, for a total of 364).” Explains the Ran: “The days of the solar year are 365; there is one day where the Satan has no permission to do his thing; that day is Yom HaKippurim”.[56]



* * *


One of the most interesting of the Yom HaKippurim customs, is the custom of touching the sefer Torah, the Torah scroll, at the neilah, the closing, service. It is the chance for HaShem’s people to connect with the sign of the covenant, the Torah. Since the essence of the judgment of Yom HaKippurim is: Did we keep His covenant with us, then we want to show that we value and keep that covenant by actually touching the sefer Torah.


All of HaShem’s people will be “denying themselves” through fasting, sexual abstinence, not wearing leather shoes, and focusing on HaShem to the exclusion of all else. HaShem’s people will spend all of Yom HaKippurim worshipping their creator (Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:27).


It is a mitzva to eat and drink heartily (twice the normal amount) on erev Yom HaKippurim. This mitzva is based on:


Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:32 It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening shall you celebrate your Sabbath.


A corollary to this mitzva is the custom to eat fish at breakfast time on erev Yom HaKippurim.


The Talmud[57] states that just as it is a mitzva to fast on the tenth of Tishri (Yom HaKippurim), so it is a mitzva to eat on the ninth. This is derived from:


Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:32 It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath.”


The meal immediately preceding Yom HaKippurim should be big and joyous. The challot (braided egg bread) baked for this meal are often formed in the shape of birds with wings (or to have this figure on top of the challot) to go along with:


Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 31:4-5 This is what HaShem says to me: “As a lion growls, a great lion over his prey--and though a whole band of shepherds is called together against him, he is not frightened by their shouts or disturbed by their clamor--so HaShem Almighty will come down to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights. Like birds hovering overhead, HaShem Almighty will shield Jerusalem; he will shield it and deliver it, he will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it.”


Yom HaKippurim never falls on Sunday, Tuesday, or on Friday, but always on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, or on the Sabbath. Rabbi Isaac Eisik of Koretz, author of Berit Kehunat Olam, wrote: We have learned in the Mishna[58] that some of the things created on the first, third, and sixth days can become ritually unclean, while nothing created on the second, fourth, and fifth days can become ritually unclean.


On the first day of Creation, the earth and water were created, and earthenware vessels and liquids can become ritually unclean. On the second day, the firmament, in which there is no ritual uncleanliness, was created. On the third day, the trees were created and wooden vessels can become ritually unclean. On the fourth day, the lights were suspended in the sky; they have no ritual uncleanliness. On the fifth day the birds and fish were created, and vessels made from them cannot become ritually unclean. On the sixth the beasts and the animals and the creeping things and man were created; and vessels made of their bones and of their skin can become ritually unclean. Therefore Yom HaKippurim, which is all purity, falls only on one of the days of cleanliness and purity.[59]


The customary greeting for the day is:


Gemar Hatimah Tovah.

May you be finally sealed for good

(in the Book of Life).


Every Jew is required to immerse himself in a mikveh on Erev Yom HaKippurim in respect for the sanctity of the day and so as to repent and be purified of sin. This practice dates back to the time of the prophets.


It is preferable to put on white clothing to resemble the ministering angels.[60]


It is also customary to put on a kittel, which is white and clean, and the garment worn by the dead, as well. With this example before him, a man’s heart becomes submissive and broken.[61]


When we light the candles for Yom HaKippurim we say the blessing for lighting the candles and the Shehekiyanu blessing.


The shofar is blown to mark the end of Yom HaKippurim, at the end of Neilah - The Closing Service.


This is the final sealing of the heavenly gates.


It is customary to begin your sukkah right after Yom HaKippurim.


In places where citron sellers are to be found, pious men are accustomed to buy themselves citrons, palm leaves, and myrtle branches during the Days of Awe for use during Succoth.


* * *


The following section was sent to me by Hakham Dr. Yoseph ben Haggai:


The following comments are from HaRav Nebenzahl: There are a few ways that Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippurim differ from other Yom Tovim, festivals. The “shalmei simcha” sacrifices are not brought on Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur. The Gemara relates to us that Hallel is not recited as well: “The ministering angels said before HaShem, ‘why do not the Jewish people sing a song before You on Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur?’“, “He answered them: ‘would it be possible that the King sits on the throne of judgment with the books of those destined to live and destined to die before Him and the people of Israel singing a song before Me?’“[62].


On Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippurim we do not recite: “bestow upon us, O HaShem, our G-d, the blessing of Your appointed festivals for life and for peace, for gladness and for joy”. Rav Kook did not greet others with “chag sameach” on Rosh HaShana and certainly not on Yom Kippur, as we do not find the term “chag” associated with them anywhere in the Torah.


There is, however, a commandment to rejoice on these days, the “Shaagat Aryeh” has a lengthy discourse on this subject based on a derivation in the text of the Rambam. One of the reasons offered by Rabbenu Yona for the requirement to eat on Erev Yom Kippurim is to fulfill the mitzva of “Simchat Yom Tov”, rejoicing on the festival. The time to fulfill the mitzva should be on Yom Kippur, yet since we are not permitted to eat then, we do so on Erev Yom Kippur. In addition to the regular mitzva of “Simchat Yom Tov”, we rejoice on Yom Kippurim because we are forgiven for our sins. This joy shows that our sins worried us, that we are pained by them, that alone is a reason for HaShem to forgive us. The Zohar notes that the Erev Yom Kippurim meal is a form of “simcha”.


Despite this, excessive joy on Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippurim is forbidden. The joy must be in the form of “vegilu birada” “rejoice with trembling” (Tehillim 2:11). An individual must be concerned with what has been decreed for him, for his immediate surroundings, and for the Jewish nation as a whole. Rosh HaShana is also a time when we must be concerned whether or not the land of Israel will be usurped from us, G-d forbid. Anyone who is not concerned lacks a basic fundamental belief in HaShem. If we truly felt that on Rosh HaShana we are standing in judgment, that our lives and those of our families are at stake, we would not be able to eat. Nevertheless, the Torah commands us to eat in joy. We rejoice that we are cleaving to HaShem and that we are crowning Him as our King and too at the promise that the Jewish nation will emerge from judgment with a positive verdict. We are also happy at the prospect of our sins being forgiven and at our extra closeness to HaShem: “Seek HaShem when He can be found; call upon Him when He is near” (Yeshayahu 55:6), therefore together with all the trembling there has to be joy.



Yom Kippur


The Aqedah of Yishaq Abinu took place on the tenth of Tishri at Minha time, which is Minha time of Yom Kippur, as is written:


Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:7 And the tenth day of this seventh month shall be a holy convocation to you and you shall afflict your souls, no manner of work shall you do.


For this reason, it is of great importance to read the portion of the Aqedah at the commencement of the Minha prayer on the day of Yom Kippur. In Imrei Sasson it is written that whoever reads the Aqedah with great intent, to serve his Creator as did Yishaq Abinu, will have all his sins forgiven.


During the last hours of the night, the day before Yom Kippur, Kapparoth, a formula of atonement, is made using chickens or money.


On Ereb Yom Kippurim we prepare ourselves for the awe-filled day ahead of us. The following are some of the preparations:


If possible, we should eat twice the amount of food we normally would on one day. It is good to eat fish in the morning.


Both men and women go to the Miqweh.


Hattarath Nedarim is made.


Forgiveness is asked of one’s parents, teachers, spouse and acquaintances.


On Yom Kippur, eating and drinking, bathing, anointing, wearing (leather) shoes, and marital relations are prohibited.


The wearing of white clothes is again prescribed for Yom Kippurim and Sephardim should make every effort to adhere to this. We are filled with faith and confidence that, through His abundant mercy, our repentance will be accepted and we will come out of this day clean and pure like angels. Many Ashkenazim have the Minhag of wearing a white shroud (as a reminder of the day of death) over their regular clothes. Sephardim do not have this custom.


The evening services start before sunset so that the Berakha on the tzitzith may be pronounced. In addition, the Kol Nidre service must be recited before sunset, as the absolution of vows cannot take place after that time.


Kol Nidre only annuls vows (which for reasons out of one’s control one was unable to keep) between man and HaShem and not man and his neighbor. Similarly, Yom Kippurim is atonement for sins between man and his Creator only. As such, prior to Kol Nidre, the Hazzan should ask the congregation to forgive one another, to which all reply “Mahalnu”, (“We have forgiven”).


The Halakhoth connected with Yom Kippurim are many and far too numerous to be mentioned here. One who has questions concerning this awesome day and the fast itself should consult a Hakham.


The entire day should be spent in prayer and repentance. The prayers that one utters should be said with understanding and one who is unable to do so should, at least, recite them in a tearful voice.


At the conclusion of the fast, after the blowings of the Shofar, Arbith should be prayed carefully and slowly. Every effort must be made not to rush it (in order to get home and eat) and make this the first sin after our cries and supplications for forgiveness.


Many communities recite Birkath Hallebanah (the blessing for the moon) prior to Yom Kippurim and not after the fast. There are several reasons for this: one of them being the tendency of some congregations to rush it in order to get home. In addition, Birkath Hallebanah should be recited after one has tasted some food.


Taken from the writings of Hakham Ya’aqob Manasseh.


© All portions copyright 1997-1998 Midrash BEN ISH HAI. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.


XV. Prayers


In the Yom HaKippurim prayer service we say the Viduy, a confession, and the Al Chet, a list of transgressions between man and HaShem and between man and man. It is interesting to note two things. First, the transgressions are listed in alphabetical order (in Hebrew). This not only makes a comprehensive list, but gives a framework to include whatever transgression you wish to include under the proper letter.


Secondly, the Viduy and Al Chet are stated in the plural. This teaches us that we are one interwoven people responsible for each other. Even if we did not commit a particular offense we carry a certain measure of responsibility for those who transgressed, especially if we could have prevented the transgression.




XVI. Yom HaKippurim events


Tishri 10 - Yom HaKippurim

 Period of teshuva / repentance day 40.

 The Awesome Days / Yamim Noraim, day 10.

 G-d is reconciled to the Israelites after the golden calf. Devarim (Deuteronomy) 9:18 / Shemot (Exodus) 34

 Moses returns from his third, forty day trip up Mount Sinai with the second set of tablets. (2449)

 High Priest atones for the sins of the people. Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:1-34

 Nabal dies after refusing to feed David’s men. 1 Shmuel (Samuel) 25:36-39

 Ninevites repent and fast after Jonah preaches. Jonah 3:1-10

 Yechezkel (Ezekiel) measures the future Temple. Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 40:1-5

 People, returning from Babylon, fast. Zechariah 7:3

 Israel is commanded to “deny themselves” (five kinds of fasting.) Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:27

 The shofar is sounded to announce the beginning of the Jubilee year. Vayikra (Leviticus) 25:8-13

 Pharisees question Yochanan (John) the Baptist on why he is baptizing. Yochanan (John) 1:24-28



This section was written by: Burt Yellin


The scriptural statutes for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, are found in Vayikra (Leviticus) 16. The High Priest was to offer up a bull for himself, and then a goat for the sins of the people. There was a second goat that the High Priest was to lay hands on, thereby laying the sins of the nation of Israel upon this goat. Tradition states that he would then tie a cord of red wool upon the horn of this goat, and it was let go in the wilderness. When the red wool turned white, it was a sign that G-d forgave the people’s sin. It is this wool that Yeshayahu (Isaiah) speaks of in 1:18,


“`Come and let us reason together’ saith the L-rd `though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’“


There is an interesting story in the Talmud that connects this scapegoat and the destruction of the Temple.


Our Rabbis taught: At first they used to bind a shining crimson strip of cloth on the outside door of the Temple. If the strip of cloth turned into the white color, they would rejoice; if it did not turn white they were full of sorrow and shame.[63]


Yoma 67a WHAT DID HE DO? HE DIVIDED THE THREAD OF CRIMSON WOOL: But let him tie the whole [thread] to the rock? — Since it is his duty [to complete his work with] the he-goat, perhaps the thread might become fast white, and he would be satisfied.[64] But let him tie the whole thread between its horns? — At times its head [in falling] is bent and he would not pay attention.[65] Our Rabbis taught:[66] In the beginning they would tie the thread of crimson wool on the entrance of the Ulam[67] without: if it became white they rejoiced; if it did not become white, they were sad and ashamed. Thereupon they arranged to tie it to the entrance of the Ulam within. But they were still peeping through and if it became white, they rejoiced, whereas, if it did not become white, they grew sad and ashamed. Thereupon they arranged to tie one half to the rock and the other half between its horns. R. Nahum b. Papa said in the name of R. Eleazar ha-Kappar: Originally they used to tie the thread of crimson wool to the entrance of the Ulam within, and as soon as the he-goat reached the wilderness, it turned white. Then they knew that the commandment concerning it had been fulfilled, as it is said: If your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white wool.[68]


Vayikra (Leviticus) chapter 16 tells us that the Shechinah Glory of HaShem dwelt in the cloud over the mercy seat. The Talmud tells us that the Shechinah glory of HaShem left the Temple forty years prior to its destruction. The first evidence of this was that the western candle of the menorah refused to burn continually. The second sign was that the doors of the Temple would open of themselves. Thirdly, the red wool no longer turned white supernaturally. The third sign is important, for it indicated that HaShem was no longer forgiving the sins of His people.


Yoma 39b Our Rabbis taught: During the last forty years before the destruction of the Temple the lot [‘For the Lord’] did not come up in the right hand; nor did the crimson-coloured strap become white; nor did the westernmost light shine; and the doors of the Hekal would open by themselves, until R. Johanan b. Zakkai rebuked them, saying: Hekal, Hekal, why wilt thou be the alarmer thyself?[69] I know about thee that thou wilt be destroyed, for Zechariah ben Ido has already prophesied concerning thee:[70] Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars.[71]


How does this story in the Talmud support this? Historically we know the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE. According to the Talmud, the Shechinah Glory of HaShem left forty years prior to that, which would place its departure at 30 CE, the very year Yeshua started His ministry, the very year that the blood of bulls and goats was no longer accepted as a sacrifice for the atonement of sin, an interesting coincidence!


XVII. The Number Five (5)


On Yom HaKippurim we fast from five things (shoes, bathing, marital relations, anointing, and eating and drinking). Each of these five things corresponds to one of the five levels of the soul. Each of these five is designed to help us separate the soul from the body. We must return the state we had in Eden where we mostly soul with only a wisp of a body. This is the opposite of what we are today where we are mostly body with only a wisp of soul. Each of the these five ‘fasts’ are designed to address each of the five parts of our soul, and to help us reestablish the soul’s supremacy. The following charts details the ‘fasts’ and the parts of the soul that are affected.


The five names by which the soul is known:


Soul Part

Yom Kippurim Prayer Service

Yom Kippurim Prohibition




Eating and drinking




Anointing oneself with perfumes or lotions

Life (Force)


Arbit (Maariv)

Marital relations




Washing (for pleasure)




Wearing leather shoes

(that which has come to) Rest


* * *

a) The five names by which the soul is known - nefesh, ruach, neshama, chaya, yechida.


b) The five times the word נפש - nefesh (soul) is used in the parasha of the Yom Kippurim service.[72]


c) The five times the Kohen Gadol immersed himself in the mikveh on Yom Kippurim.


d) The five tefilot of the day - Maariv, Shacharit, Mussaf, Mincha and Neilah.[73]


* * *


Yom Kippurim is the only day of the year with five prayer services. On a regular weekday we pray Shacharit in the morning, Mincha in the afternoon, and Maariv at night. On Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh, and Yom Tov, the Mussaf (additional) prayer is added. Neilah, however, is said only on Yom Kippur.


According to Chasidut, these five prayer services correspond to the five levels of the Jewish soul: “nefesh,” “ruach,” “neshama,” “chaya” and “yechida.”


In simplified terms: The lowest level, “nefesh,” animates the body, enabling the Jew to keep Torah and mitzvot.


“Ruach” is associated with the emotions, and allows the Jew to experience love and awe of HaShem.


“Neshama” relates to the soul’s intellectual powers. It enables us to understand HaShem’s greatness, which results in a longing and desire to cleave to Him.


These three levels are the “visible” (and therefore limited in expression) aspects of the soul. However, the Jewish soul transcends the limitations of both intellect and emotion. The higher levels of “chaya” and “yechida” are associated with the soul’s super-intellectual qualities, which are limitless and infinite. “Chaya” relates to the “pull” a Jew feels from Above, an attraction to the Infinite that cannot be explained rationally.


The highest level of “yechida” is identified with the soul’s essence. Because it is so sublime, it cannot be perceived by the senses.


The aspect of “yechida” is so-called as it is completely united with HaShem, Who is termed “Yachid,” meaning singular and alone. Immutable and unchanging, the level of “yechida” exists above all external influences, and cannot be damaged or affected by sin. A Jew’s “yechida” is always bound to HaShem, regardless of his actions.


In general, the level of “yechida” is rarely manifested, bursting forth only when a Jew’s essential connection to HaShem is threatened (such as when a Jew is asked to deny his Jewishness). Indeed, it is this aspect of the soul that explains why a Jew is willing to give up his life for the sake of heaven.


On Yom Kippur, however, the “yechida” is openly revealed, particularly during the Neilah service. In fact, when the Jew proclaims, “Hear O Israel” and “HaShem is the L-rd” at the conclusion of the service, this highest level of his soul is revealed and illuminates.


XVIII. Selected essays


P A R A S H A - P A G E

by Mordecai Kornfeld

of Har Nof, Jerusalem



====================================PARASHAT ACHAREI MOT 5757



From the People of Israel [Aharon] shall take two male goats for a sin offering.... Aharon shall place lots on the two goats: one lot shall be drawn for HaShem and one lot shall be drawn for Azazel.... The goat upon which the lot for Azazel was drawn shall stand alive before HaShem for him to confess over it and to send it to the Azazel [cliff], towards the Desert.[74]


On Yom Kippur, the Jews would offer a “bribe” to the Satan so that he should not prevent their offerings to HaShem from being accepted, as the verse says, “One lot shall be drawn for HaShem and one lot shall be drawn *for Azazel* [i.e., the Satan].”[75]


This is the meaning of the Midrash (quoted above): In ancient times, idolaters worshipped the angels. They would bring offerings to the angels, which the angels would accept... The Torah entirely forbids accepting any angel as a godly being or serving one in any way. However, HaShem commanded that on Yom Kippurim we send a goat to the desert, meaning, to the angelic power which is appointed over places of desolation. We offer a goat because among the beasts, the goat is associated with this power of desolation and barrenness, which is the source of all bloodshed and wars....


It is not intended, G-d forbid, that the “scapegoat” be accepted as an offering from us to that angel. Rather, we are offering the scapegoat to the Satan because HaShem commanded us to do so (i.e., and not because we chose on our own to serve the Satan in this manner). This can be compared to a person who prepared a large meal for a great officer. The officer asked the host to give a nice portion to one of his servants as well. The host is not offering a portion to the servant of his own initiative; he is simply honoring the officer’s wish. It is the officer, the servant’s master, who is actually offering the portion to his servant through the host, in order that his servant, too, should enjoy the meal and should speak well of the host.[76]


The scapegoat which is hurled to its death from atop a high cliff on Yom Kippurim stands at the head of an esoteric and mysterious rite. According to the Ramban, we are in a sense “throwing a bone to the dog” to keep it from barking. HaShem ordered us to offer this goat to the prosecuting angel so that he should not speak up against the Jews on the Day of Judgment. Such an explanation certainly leaves much to be explained. Is not the Satan one of HaShem’s angels? Angels do not have free will, they must perform the will of HaShem. If HaShem does not want the Satan to prosecute, then he should not; if He does want him to, then he should, what does it accomplish to offer it a goat? Besides, what does it help to keep the Satan quiet? Since HaShem still knows all the sins of which the Jews are guilty, why should he no longer take those sins into account when judging the people? Undoubtedly, a fuller understanding of this enigmatic subject must be left to the realm of the Kabbalists. Let us try, however, to understand at least an inkling of this mystery, based on the less covert Midrashic and Talmudic sources.




Rashi tells us[77] that it was on the tenth day of the month of Tishri that HaShem forgave the Jewish people for the terrible sin of worshipping the Golden Calf. HaShem would have destroyed the entire nation, had not Moshe Rabbeinu interceded and begged for their forgiveness. It took 120 (three forty day periods) days until HaShem forgave them completely. The date of their forgiveness was designated to be Yom Kippur, a Day of Atonement for all future generations. As Rashi tells us, however[78], HaShem told the nation that their sin was not entirely forgotten. True, they were not to be punished for it at the moment, but “every future punishment to come upon the Nation of Israel will include some measure of punishment for the Sin of the Golden Calf along with it.” This may be understood in the following manner: Had the Jews had not sinned through the Golden Calf, neither they nor any of their descendants would ever have sinned. After receiving the Torah and perceiving HaShem’s Presence more clearly than any prophet, they could not possibly have sinned. As the Gemara tells us[79], had the Jews not sinned with the Golden Calf, they would have lived forever. They would have been returned to a state in which there was no place for death or sin, just as the world was meant to be when HaShem created Adam. After the nation sinned, it became possible for them, and for us, their descendants, to stray from the path of HaShem and sin. For this reason, every misdeed since the time of the Sin of the Golden Calf contains an element of that early sin, since, in a sense, it is that sin which brought about all the later sins. Rashi tells us that after HaShem forgave the people for their sin on the tenth day of the month of Tishri, he designated that day to be a day of forgiveness for all of Israel throughout the generations[80]. On that date each year, HaShem once again forgives the Sin of the Calf. By doing so, He automatically commits Himself to forgiving *all* the sins we have done. If no punishment is dealt which does not contain an element of punishment for that sin, then the inverse corollary is that if the Sin of the Calf is forgiven, there is no place for punishment for all other sins, which are simply offshoots of that original sin.




How does HaShem forgive the Sin of the Golden Calf on Yom Kippurim each year? He does so through the sending of the goat to Azazel, as the verse says explicitly[81]. How does that work? The Ramban explains[82] why Aharon chose to specifically make a Golden Calf when the people sought a replacement for Moshe (who they thought would never return from Mt. Sinai). Moshe Rabbeinu’s assignment was to lead the Jews through the desert until they arrived at the land of Israel. His replacement would have to be able to complete this task. The form of an ox which appears on the left side of the Divine Chariot of HaShem represents the powers with which HaShem administers destruction and desolation -- the powers appropriate to the task of guiding a nation through the desolation of the Wilderness, the Ramban explains. The ox of the Chariot, and consequently the Golden Calf, thus represents the same concept that the goat represents among the animals of the wild: the forces of destruction and barrenness. This may be the meaning of our “sending the scapegoat to the Satan.” On Yom Kippur, HaShem commands us to do an act which, if not commanded by Him, would undoubtedly be a grave act of idol worship: making an offering to the force that HaShem uses to control barrenness and desolation. In this case, though, because HaShem did, in fact, command us to do so, we are simply performing His will, like the host who sends a portion to the servant in the Ramban’s metaphor. By performing this commandment, we somewhat lessen the severity of the sin that involved a very similar act: the Sin of the Golden Calf. That sin involved offering sacrifices to the power which HaShem uses for controlling desolation, but without HaShem Himself telling us to do so. On Yom Kippur, HaShem is commanding us to perform exactly the same act, demonstrating that such an act can indeed be done to serve HaShem, under the proper circumstances. (In the language of the Gemara, this is known as “Hutar Michlalo”, Yoma 81a etc. A prohibited act which is “Hutar Michlalo” is deemed less severe than one which is prohibited without exception. Another example found in the Gemara of such a concept is the fact that although a Kohen must perform the sacrificial service with his right hand, according to some authorities if he uses his left hand the service is still valid and need not be repeated. The reason for this is that HaShem did command that one particular service is to be done with the left hand. Because of this, any other service which is done with the left is acceptable, post facto.[83]




We can understand now what it means that the prosecuting angel is silenced on Yom Kippurim through the rite of the scapegoat. Certainly, it is our own sins which arouse prosecution Above. On Yom Kippur, however, the very act of sending the goat to the Satan “silences him,” i.e., it causes the severity of our sins to be diminished. This is what the Midrash means when it says that we are “quieting the prosecuting angel.” By performing this service, we are appealing to HaShem to grant us forgiveness for the Sin of the Golden Calf, which, after having been “reduced” in this manner, is fit to be forgiven. Once HaShem forgives us for the Sin of the Calf, there is no more need for punishment for the rest of our sins which, as we explained (section II), are all offshoots of that early sin.


May HaShem help us to use all of our powers for serving Him wholeheartedly, and may He grant us insight into his timeless teachings.



IX. From My Teacher

Hakham Dr. Yosef ben Haggai

Some interesting parallels in the readings for Rosh HaShanah and Yom HaKippurim




according to HaShem’s instruction

according to Sarah’s instruction

takes his son



to be sacrificed (on Mt Moriah)

to be sent into the desert

He rises early in the morning and

loads his donkey

‘loads’ Hagar

The act of death is imminent, when an angel of HaShem calls from heaven


lifts up his eyes,


has her eyes opened,

and sees the instrument of salvation

- the ram

- the water

HaShem blesses


who returns (vayashav)

to Be’er Sheva


who lives (yayeshev)

in the desert of Paran


Sarah, his wife,

Isaac’s mother,

is waiting for him

his mother

takes a wife

for him


Aaron is to take two he-goats

One for HaShem

to be sacrificed

(on Mt Moriah)

One for “Azazel”

to be sent

into the desert


about two Messiahs who are but one

Mashiach ben David

for the Jews

comes riding on a horse

at the end of days as

King and Chief Hakham

Mashiach ben Yosef

for the Gentiles

comes riding on a donkey as a Hakham

savior to the Gentiles

Who accept him as Mashiach ben David and Nasi


Yom Kippurim - Prayer & Themes


1. Forgiveness & Purification


For on this day [of Yom Kippur, HaShem] will forgive you, to cleanse you from all your sins, before HaShem you will be cleansed. (Leviticus 16:30) Purify our hearts to serve You …You are the Forgiver of the tribes of Yeshurun … (Yom Kippurim Amidah [Prayer of Silent Devotion])


Forgiveness and spiritual purity form the recurrent theme of the Yom Kippurim prayer services. What are the precise meanings of these two terms and why is forgiveness alone insufficient?


Kapparah (Forgiveness)


Kapparah, the Hebrew equivalent to “forgiveness,” is part of HaShem’s system of reward and punishment. Rabbi Shlomo’s (Rashi) definition of the word clarifies the role of Kapparah in our relationship to HaShem:


In the context of sin, the term Kapparah means “clearing away” or “removal” [HaShem removes the punishment that the sinner requires].


When a person sins, he incurs a liability to HaShem for misusing something of HaShem’s world. In HaShem’s system of reward and punishment for proper or improper use of the world, punishment is a payment that HaShem exacts in order to withdraw a liability. With His expression of immeasurable loving-kindness, HaShem grants Kapparah (removal) of man’s liabilities when man performs teshuva. HaShem releases man from the need for punishment.


Taharah (Spiritual Purification)


Hosea 14:2,6 Return, O Israel, to HaShem, your L-rd, for you have stumbled in your sins… I will heal your backsliding….


Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 6:10 The heart of the people is obstructed [from the truth]…let its heart understand, perform teshuva, and be healed.


The Torah and prophets compare the effects of sin to a physical illness. Just as a physical illness impairs the body’s ability to function, so too does sin impair a person’s spiritual integrity. Many of the symptoms of physical illnesses (irritability, denial, and desire for return to normalcy) are equally prevalent after a person sins, if not more so. Sin makes us spiritually lethargic and weakens our ability to act righteously. Improper habits and attitudes are established and perpetuated by recurring sins. Though we may be hard-pressed to define the results of sin as clearly as we define physical ailments, we can sense its adverse effects on our moral and spiritual lives.


Example: Adam and Eve and the results of sin


Adam and Eve’s reaction to their sin of eating from the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge illustrates the automatic reaction that overcomes a person who sins:


Bereshit (Genesis) 3:6-8 The woman saw that the fruit was good to eat and desirable to the eyes… She also gave some to her husband, and he ate it…They heard G-d’s voice moving about in the garden… and the man and his wife hid themselves from G-d among the trees of the garden.


The Torah describes Adam and Eve’s reaction to sin as an unidentified feeling of discomfort and shame at their lost moral and spiritual integrity. Before the sin, Adam enjoyed direct communication with HaShem[84]; after the sin, he futilely sought to escape from HaShem’s presence.


Taharah, the Hebrew word for “purification“, is the corrective influence that HaShem imbues the sinner. HaShem restores a person’s spiritual vitality by erasing the detrimental effects of sin. Yom Kippurim is our greatest opportunity of the year for spiritual rejuvenation.


Viduy: Opening the Gates of Heaven


The Talmud (Tractate Yoma) records a rabbinical legislation to recite ten Viduy admissions during the Yom Kippurim services, roughly two Viduy admissions for each of the five Yom Kippurim services. What is the benefit of numerous admissions? Would not a lesser number interspersed at greater intervals in the services evoke a greater sentiment toward the prayer? To answer these questions, we need to understand the attitude with which we should be approaching HaShem for our Viduy admission.


A Metaphor: The Gates of Heaven


All believe that He answers prayers; He opens the gate to those who knock in repentance. [Yom Kippurim Mussaf (Afternoon) Service] Open the gate for us at the time of their closing, for the [Yom Kippur] day is ending. [Yom Kippurim Neilah (Closing) Service]


What is meant by the metaphor of “heavenly gates?” Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik (1903-1993, Poland - United States) explains this to mean that a Viduy admission requires concerted effort. Rabbi Soloveitchik said:


G-d is described as “He who opens the gates for those who come knocking” - and not for those who do teshuva or come to do teshuva. Unless one knocks loudly and continuously on the gates, teshuva and Viduy are impossible… It is only at the Neilah (Closing) Service, after twenty-four consecutive hours of fasting and prayer, of knocking at the gate that we can enter the open gates - for if not now, when?


HaShem desires to grant us forgiveness and to grant us a new start in our relationship with Him. However, we must view these gifts as a privilege to be earned. Multiple Viduy admissions are the means for acquiring these Divine gifts. With each Viduy repetition, we become more aware of the need to exert greater effort at achieving our goal of returning to HaShem.


Anecdote: A visit to Fort Dix, New Jersey (USA)


Young Moses Levine was visiting a boyhood friend, who had joined the United States Army. He had never been on an army base and he was curious to explore some of its facilities. Entering what appeared to be an ordinary mini-department store, Moses was surprised at the exceptionally low prices on all the items. Not one to ask questions, Moses quickly began filling a shopping cart with as much merchandise as he could take home with him. The thought of making a little profit off reselling some of the goods that he would purchase made his trip to the base additionally satisfying.


Arriving at the checkout counter, Moses was still thinking about his good fortune at having chanced upon these unprecedented bargains, until the cashier asked to see his army identification card. Moses quickly realized that he would have to join the army if he were to benefit from purchasing discounted merchandise.




We should also realize that there no “bargains” in forgiveness from HaShem. Each of us must exert himself to do teshuva. Only after a long day of fasting, praying and admitting sins can we hope to be granted forgiveness and connection to HaShem.




Sefer Yonah (The Book of Jonah) and Yom HaKippurim - Part I

By: Hakham Yitzchak Etshalom


Edited, adapted and expanded by Hakham Dr. Yosef ben Haggi


In Memory of Hakham Aaron M. Wise, HK”M




The book of Yonah comprises the bulk of the Haftarah (Lesson from the Prophets) read at Mincha (Afternoon service) on Yom HaKippurim (most communities add the last three verses of Mikhah (Micah) as an “epilogue” to the Haftarah). In anticipation of Yom haRachamim (The Day of Mercy), we would like to examine this Sefer (Book) with an eye to understanding both its own message as well as its relevance to Yom HaKippurim (Day of Atonements).


The story is, itself, a simple one that is unquestionably complex. The simplicity lies in the very human responses on the part of the main characters (Yonah, the sailors, the people of Nineveh); the complexity grows as we hold these reactions up to the greater contextual framework of Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and some theological tenets to which we hold fast.


For example, Yonah’s flight from HaShem is the well-known premise for his sea voyage. We can understand, in human terms, shirking responsibility (although why Yonah doesn’t want to heed the call of HaShem it is not at all clear from the text). The complexity begins when we recognize that a prophet is a man (or woman) of great spiritual, emotional and intellectual stature (see, inter alia, Moreh Nevukhim II: 32-34). How could someone like that with such an intimate knowledge of HaShem and His Torah even consider running away from HaShem? Is there anywhere that is out of His (HaShem’s) reach? As it is said by King David:


Tehillim (Psalms) 139:7-10 Where shall I go from your spirit? Where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend up to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there shall your hand lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.


We also find it hard to understand Yonah’s bitter reaction to the success of his mission - when the people of Nineveh repent and HaShem annuls His decree, the prophet is embittered “until death”. We will return to the text and its difficulties - but, first, let’s place Sefer Yonah in its proper context on Yom HaKippurim.




On Shabbat and Festival mornings (along with Tisha B’Av morning), as well as fast days at Mincha (Afternoon Services), a selection from the Neviim (Prophets) is read immediately after the conclusion of the Torah reading. Although the exact origin of this practice is unclear, the sources indicate that at some point during the times of the Second Temple, a decree was issued forbidding the Jews to engage in the public reading of the Torah. In response, parallel selections from the Neviim (Prophets) were selected and read in lieu of the “missed” Torah reading. Although a few of the selections are mentioned in the Talmuds, most of the occasions for reading from the Neviim (Prophets) allowed for enough flexibility that the specific selection was not codified until much later. (For the most part, the festival readings were fixed earlier. As to why certain Torah readings (e.g. Shabbat mornings) “merited” the “reading-in-lieu” from the Neviim - and others (e.g. Rosh Chodesh and Chanukah morning) did not, is a discussion that belongs to a different shiur (lesson). In any case, even after the decree was rescinded, the custom remained in practice and, to the consternation of many a 12-year old, remains so until today.


In sum, we read a selection from the Neviim (“Haftarah”) as a parallel to the Torah reading. The usual minimum of Pesukim (verses) to be read - 21 - parallels the absolute minimum readable at a Shabbat morning reading (seven Aliyot times three verses, as to why we don’t allow for a shorter reading on Festivals, when there are fewer Aliyot - is a matter to be discussed in another forum). [In the Triennial cycle of readings there is a phenomenon known as “jumping” by which some of the verses in the mandatory twenty-one of the Haftarah are “skimmed” or passed over.] Indeed, the reason that the person called up to read the Haftarah first reads from the Torah (“Maftir”) is to show honor to the Torah, as it would be degrading to ignore the Torah and only read from the Neviim.[85]


In the case of the festivals, as opposed to an association with the content of the Torah reading, the Haftarah usually has a direct association with the festival itself, either historic (e.g. the first day of Pesach) or meta-historic (e.g. the Haftarot of the last day of Pesach and Shabbat hol haMoed Succoth, The Sabbath of the Week of the Festival of Tabernacles).


The Gemara[86] reports that on Yom HaKippurim in the morning, we read “Aharei Mot” (Vayikra / Leviticus 16) and the Haftarah is from Yeshayahu / Isaiah 57-58. Both of these readings “make sense” within the general context of Festival readings; Vayikra chapter 16 details the Avodah (worship) performed by the Kohen Gadol on Yom HaKippurim in the Mishkan (Tabernacle - later to be applied to the Bet HaMiqdash, Temple). The selection from the Prophet Yeshayahu contains the famous phrase detailing the “true” fast:


“Is such the fast that I have chosen? A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to HaShem? Is not this rather the fast that I have chosen? to loose the chains of Wickedness (Lawlessness), to undo the bands of the yoke [of sin - transgression of the Torah], and to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring the poor, who are cast out, to your house? When you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you hide not yourself from your own flesh?”


It is abundantly clear why this reading “fits” Yom HaKippurim, lest we get carried away with our own piety in our fasting and confessing, the Navi (Prophet) reminds us that the real purpose of fasting is to effect a spiritual metamorphosis within us, making us more sensitive to the poor and needy.


The Gemara goes on to detail the readings at Mincha (Afternoon Service) on Yom HaKippurim:


“At Mincha we read the section of Arayot (forbidden sexual liaisons) and for Haftarah the book of Yonah.”[87]


As much as the relevance of the morning readings is easy to understand, the aptness of these readings is difficult to decipher. Why do we read the list of forbidden relationships at Mincha on Yom HaKippurim? Some of the Rishonim address this (see, e.g. Rashi and Tosafot ad loc.), noting that this is an auspicious time to commit to avoiding these heinous sins; yet, we must admit, these sort of transgressions are not usually on most people’s minds after fasting most of the day.


The Haftarah of Yonah is even harder to figure. To begin with, the story itself is hard to properly explicate. In addition, we never hear the content of Yonah’s call to the Ninevites to repent, only the fact of that call and their (surprising?) reaction. There are so many powerful passages in the Neviim (Prophets) that could inspire us to do Teshuva/Returning at this sober moment, what is it about Yonah that earns it the honored Haftarah of Yom HaKippurim afternoon?


Before addressing the text itself, we would like to propose a theory which, a priori, may sound radical, yet, we believe, is borne out by the sources.


As pointed out above, the Haftarah is always attached to an occasion of K’riat haTorah (Reading from the Torah) - and usually comprises some parallel story to either the Torah reading or the “Inyanei d’Yoma” (matters related to the “day” - i.e. the festival). Whether parallel to the K’riah ha Torah or the Yom, however, the Haftarah always is occasioned by the K’riah ha Torah, in other words, the Haftarah only occurs as a result of the K’riah and as an ancillary reading to that occasion.


As pointed out above, the Torah reading in the afternoon seems to have little to do with Yom HaKippurim (see, however, the explanation of the G’onim quoted in a number of Rishonim). Perhaps the most reasonable choice would have been the section of Yom HaKippurim in Vayikra/ Leviticus 23, which was read by the Kohen Gadol - High Priest[88].


Gabba’im (Announcers of readings) and Ba’alei K’riah (Assigned Readers) know the simplest connection - the K’riah (reading) of Mincha (Afternoon Service) comes almost immediately after the K’riah (Reading) of Shacharit (Morning Service). Indeed, in many communities in the Middle Ages, the morning reading included Vayikra/Leviticus 17 (cf. Shibbolei haLeket #320); i.e. the Mincha reading was simply a continuation of the morning reading. (In other communities, they would only read the “middle section” of Vayikra chapter 17 when Yom HaKippurim occurred on Shabbat, necessitating an additional Aliyah; see, inter alia, Or Zarua’ II:393.[89]


In general, this afternoon K’riat haTorah (Reading of the Torah) is puzzling. If we are regarding this part of the day as a “Taanit” (as we do with the afternoon of Tisha B’Av), why don’t we read the section from Shemot/Exodus 33/34, which is read on every other fast day in the afternoon? This would be an appropriate K’riah (Torah Reading), since those events culminated (according to tradition) on the very first Yom HaKippurim, when the second tablets were carved by Moshe. If, on the other hand, we continue to regard the day as “special”, i.e. not within the general category of “Taanit”, then why have a reading at all? We don’t find a Torah reading in the afternoon (besides fast days) except on Shabbat, why do we read now?


We would like to suggest that Yonah is an exception to the rule; the motivating factor in the reading at Mincha (Afternoon Service) on Yom HaKippurim is the book of Yonah (as opposed to the Torah reading from Vayikra/Leviticus 18). In other words, we cannot simply read from the Neviim (Prophets) without a K’riat haTorah (as cited above from the Gemara), due to honor for the Torah. Since the book of Yonah should be read, we first take out the Torah and “pick up” from the morning’s reading, fulfilling the minimal reading of three Aliyot (readers), which allows us to publicly read the story of Yonah.


Although we may have solved one problem, we now have to find a strong motivating factor for reading Yonah at Mincha (Afternoon Service), so strong, that we effect a K’riat haTorah just in order to read this story. In order to find that factor, we must first (finally) analyze the story itself and address some of the difficulties within the text.




The first problem in assessing the story of Yonah is, as mentioned above, Yonah’s reticence to accept HaShem’s task. Besides the preposterous attempt to “flee from HaShem’s face”, why is Yonah so bothered by this mission?


A number of answers have been suggested over the years, answers which end up addressing the greater question of the message of this Sefer. We will assay them further on. In addition to this “overview” question, Yonah’s behavior both on the ship and in the belly of the fish are hard to understand.


When the ship is threatened, and Yonah knows that it is due to HaShem’s displeasure with him - Yonah goes to sleep in the hold while all of the sailors pray fervently “each man to his own god”. Once in the belly of the fish, he is silent for three days. At that point, instead of praying to be saved, he offers a psalm of thanksgiving to HaShem for having saved him, confident that “yet I will look again toward Your Holy Temple.”


There is one glaring problem in the Sefer. The response of the Ninevites to Yonah’s call is twofold:


1)   And the people of Nineveh believed HaShem, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. And word came to the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he took off his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying: Neither man, beast, herd or flock should taste anything! They should not feed nor drink water... (3:5-7)


2)   ...let them turn everyone from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if HaShem may yet turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, so that we perish not? And HaShem saw their doings, that they turned from their evil way; (3:8-10)


In other words, the people of Nineveh both practiced the form of fasting (e.g. sackcloth, ashes) as well as repenting from the sinful behavior which got them into trouble in the first place. This second response, as noted in the verse, is the action which earns a reprieve from HaShem’s decree.[90]


We would then expect HaShem to “explain” His forgiving the Ninevites based on their behavior modification, yet the Sefer ends with an enigmatic phrase, in which HaShem “defends” His compassion for the Ninevites:


“And should I not spare Nineveh, that great city, where there are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?”


Who are these people who “cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand”, i.e. do not know right from wrong? If this is a description of the populace of Nineveh, then how can their teshuva be of any value? The basic premise of teshuva is free will[91]. Some have suggested that this is a reference to the children of Nineveh, but the use of Adam as a reference specifically to children has no support from any other passage in Tanach. In addition, why are the cattle included here - they did not “repent” (nor did they sin!). This brings us back to the description of the behavior of the Ninevites: Why did they force the animals to wear sackcloth and fast?




In sum, we have raised several major questions (there are countless other “detail” questions on this Sefer, some of which will be addressed in our analysis):


1) What is Yonah’s dispute with HaShem?

2) Why does he think that he can flee from HaShem?

3) How can we understand his behavior on the ship?

4) How can we explain the content of his “prayer“ in the belly of the fish?

5) Why do the Ninevites include their animals in the fast?

6) What causes HaShem to forgive them, their behavior or His compassion?

7) Who are the people who “do not know their right hand from their left”?

8) From what “evil” is the Kikayon (castor oil) plant meant to save Yonah? (4:6)





The questions asked here, along with the Yom-Kippur-connection problem, are not new, many solutions have been offered over the years. Many of the answers focus on Yonah’s complaint (4:2) that HaShem is compassionate, forbearing and long-suffering - violating, as it were, the notion of Divine Justice. Yonah is a man of strict justice who is offended by HaShem’s compassion.


Although the explicit verse cited above does much to recommend this approach, there are far too many questions left unanswered as a result. First of all, why would Yonah, a prophet of