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Yom Kippur Aliyah Summary

Yom Kippur Aliyah Summary

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Morning Reading (Leviticus 16:1-34; Numbers 29:7-11):

General Overview: The Yom Kippur morning Torah reading discuses the special Holy Temple service for this holiest day of the year. The highlights of the service were the High Priest's confession on behalf of Israel, his entry into the Holy of Holies amid a cloud of incense, and the dispatch of the Azazel Goat.

First Aliyah: After the demise of Nadab and Abihu, Aaron's two eldest sons, G‑d instructed Aaron on the proper procedure for entering the Holy of Holies, once annually on Yom Kippur. On this day, the High Priest must don pristine white garments, and immerse in a mikvah (ritual pool). The High Priest's personal sacrifice, a bullock, was brought forth, and upon it he confessed, atoning for sins which he may have committed, as well as the sins of his household.

Second Aliyah: Two goats were then brought. Upon them the High Priest randomly placed two lots, one marked "For G‑d," and the other "For Azazel." The one earmarked "for G‑d" was designated as a sin-offering, while the other was prepared to be sent to "Azazel" (as will be described later). Aaron then confessed once again over his bullock, this time for the sins of the priestly tribe of Levi, and offered the bullock as a sin-offering.

Third Aliyah: The High Priest then entered the Holy of Holies chamber of the Holy Temple amid a cloud of burning incense. The bloods of the sacrificed bullock and goat were also sprinkled in the Holy of Holies as well as in the adjoining Holy chamber.

Fourth Aliyah: The High Priest concluded his service in the sanctuary of the Holy Temple. He then confessed over the Azazel Goat for the sins committed by all of Israel. This goat, which carried on its shoulders the sins of an entire nation, was then dispatched to the desert where it was thrown off a cliff. Aaron then donned his regular golden High Priest vestments, and offered two rams as burnt-sacrifices.

Fifth Aliyah: The individual who took the Azazel Goat to the wilderness needed to purify himself and his garments before returning to the Holy Temple. The same applied to those who burned the sin-offerings outside the Temple confines. The Torah then establishes an "eternal statute": on the tenth day of the seventh month (Yom Kippur) we must afflict ourselves and abstain from work. For on this day G‑d atones for us, purifying us from all our sins.

Sixth Aliyah: Yom Kippur is dubbed the "Shabbat of Shabbats," the once-a-year opportunity to atone for all our sins.

Note: The same reading is read if Yom Kippur falls on Shabbat, however it is then divided into seven aliyot (sections) instead of six.

Maftir: The maftir reading details the various sacrifices offered in the Holy Temple on Yom Kippur -- in addition to those described in the previous reading -- along with the accompanying wine libations, oil and meal offerings.


Afternoon Reading (Leviticus 18:1-30):

General Overview: The Yom Kippur afternoon reading focuses on forbidden sexual relations. The lesson is twofold: a) It is intended to encourage anyone guilty of such transgressions to repent. b) It is a reminder that we must remain vigilant against indulging our temptations even when we are in a heightened state of spirituality and inspiration, and seemingly impervious to such base desires.

First Aliyah: G‑d instructs the Israelites not to follow the immoral practices of the Egyptians and Canaanites. Instead, they are to observe His commandments, which bring their followers reward and life.

Second Aliyah: Continuing on the above theme, the Torah provides a list of prohibited sexual relationships. The list includes adultery, cohabiting with a menstruating woman, and incestuous relationships.

Third Aliyah (Maftir): The prohibitions against homosexuality and bestiality are mentioned. The Jews are warned that engaging in these forbidden relationships will result in their expulsion from the Land of Israel -- a holy land which cannot tolerate immoral behavior.

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Eliyahu McKeefe September 1, 2010

Yup I also recall learning that the Red Heifer was burnt outside the camp on the Mount of Olives. But where did you see that the animals of Yom Kippur were burnt outside the gate? Reply

Vern G. Swanson Springville, Utah August 12, 2010

burning of he-goat and bullock Am I correct to understand that the burning of parts of the he-goat and bullock outside the gate took place on the Mount of Olives just before dusk? Was this at the same place of burning that the Red Heifer was sacrificed? Reply

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