Yom Kippur and reconciliation between man and his fellow man

Published date03 October 2022
Publication titleIsrael National News (Israel)
Why were the bull and the goat whose blood was sprinkled in the Kodesh HaKodeshim (Holy of Holies) and afterwards in the Kodesh (Inner Sanctuary), intended only to atone for iniquities of the Mikdash, whereas the goat for Azazel alone atoned for all the remaining sins

This however represents a very important idea: the root of all sins stems from our failing to fully identify with the sacred values. Consequently, atonement is mainly dependent on the tikkun (rectification) of our relation to sacred values, and after this pivotal tikkun is made, of its own accord, it becomes clear that all of the sins are superficial, and one can release himself from them with relative ease. And this is why we were commanded to atone for all the rest of the sins with the goat sent to Azazel – to desolation.

The Fault of the People's Leaders

Our Sages also said: "Everything that the great ones do, the generation does. How? The Nasi (Prince of the Sanhedrin) permits, and the Av Beit Din (head of the court) says: The Nasi permits, and I prohibit? The judges say: The Av Beit Din permits, and we prohibit? And the rest of the generation says: The dayanim (judges) permit, and we prohibit?! Who caused the entire generation to sin? The Nasi who sinned first! Rabbi Simlai said: It is written, 'In that their mother has played the harlot, she that conceived them has acted shamelessly' (Hosea 2:7), that they put their words to shame before the amei ha'aretz (uneducated Jews).

How? The chacham (sage) sits and preaches in public: 'Do not lend money and exact interest', and he lends and exacts interest. He says 'You shall not defraud' – and he defrauds. He says 'You shall not steal' – and he steals. Rabbi Brechiya said: There was a case of a man whose tallit was stolen and he went to complain to the dayan about it – and found it spread out on his bed… A case of one man whose kettle was stolen and he went to the dayan to complain about it – and found it on his oven." (Deuteronomy Rabbah 2:19).

Similarly, our Sages said about the law of the Torah, that involuntary murderers should find refuge in the ir miklat (city of refuge) until the death of the High Priest, because "they should have pleaded for mercy for their generation, and they did not plead" (Makkot 11a). In other words, had the High Priest entirely fulfilled his role, there would have been no cases of accidental murder.

The tikkun to this is that when a Nasi sins, he must confess and offer a sacrifice for his atonement (Leviticus...

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