According to some codifiers of Jewish law (Even Ha’ezer 61:1, Rama), the Chatan and Kallah fast the day of their wedding since in honor of the wedding their sins are forgiven and it is thus their Yom Kippur. Since this week’s Torah reading discusses the Yom Kippur service in detail, it is propitious to draw a lesson from Yom Kippur for the Chatan and Kallah.

Among the services performed by the Kohen Gadol was the one involving the two he-goats. One was slaughtered, after which its blood was sprinkled in the Holy and also the Holy of Holies. On the other he-goat the Kohen Gadol recited a confession and begged forgiveness for the iniquities of the entire community of Israel. Afterwards, he handed it over to be led to the precipice of Azazeil, a steep mountain approximately eight miles away from Jerusalem. There, it was pushed over the cliff, and before it reached halfway down the mountain, it was torn apart by the sharp rocks and the speed of its descent. This was an analogy to the prayers for the sins of the Jews to be discarded.

According to the Gemara (Yoma 62a) the he-goat for Azazeil, which was to be thrown over the cliff, and the one offered in the Beit Hamikdash to Hashem were to be identical in color, height, and value.

This rule seems difficult to comprehend. Why was it necessary to spend extra sums of money on a he-goat that would be thrown over the cliff in any event? One can easily understand that the he-goat for Hashem, which is offered in the Holy Beit Hamikdash on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, should be of the best quality possible. But why do the Sages dictate that also the one going for Azazeil should be of comparable value and not allow the use of the least expensive and poorest quality goat that can be found?

In this rabbinic dictum our Sages are perhaps conveying to us an important lesson as to how an individual should spend his money.

The money we spend can be divided into two categories. One goes to spiritual matters such as tzedakah — charity — to the needy, purchasing items required for performance of Torah commandments such as tefillin, Pesach and Sukkot supplies, etc., and tuition so that our children may receive a Torah education.

The other category is our expenditures for physical necessities and personal pleasures. In retrospect, we often feel that money spent on pleasures has been wasted. However, money spent on the spiritual has an everlasting effect.

There are many people who are blessed with affluence and spend freely on personal amenities. They seem to have no shortage of funds to beautify their homes, live a luxurious lifestyle, and go on vacations. Yet they plead poverty when it comes to spending on spiritual matters. There are many examples of such misplaced priorities, but we will merely cite a few.

Parents often spend huge sums of money for a lavish party to celebrate their son’s Bar Mitzvah. “This is a once in a lifetime event,” they tell the professional party planner, “and we want it to be a most memorable affair.” However, they will not buy the boy a good quality pair of tefillin and suffice with the least expensive and sometimes, unfortunately, no tefillin at all. Little do they realize that the party is short-lived, and much of the food will end up in the garbage, while the tefillin will unite the boy with Hashem for his entire life.

Many refrain from sending their children to a Yeshivah — Hebrew Day School — because of the high cost of tuition. Nevertheless, these people have no problem with the high cost of camps, vacations, cars, and other amenities.

The two he-goats, the one designated for Hashem and the other for Azazeil, can serve as metaphors for the above-mentioned two categories of expense.

Hashem, in His benevolence, has blessed us with financial resources. Like a loving father, He does not mind how much money we spend or waste on our personal pleasures. He requests, however, that at least an equal amount of money (and perhaps more) be spent on spiritual matters. If one has money for “Azazeil” — to throw over the cliff — one should not plead poverty when it comes to spending for Hashem.

My dear Chatan and Kallah, throughout your married life please bear in mind the lesson of the two he-goats. Treat G‑d no worse than you treat yourself. In return, He will reciprocate by showering you lavishly with the means to meet your physical needs and desires, and grant you a happy and healthy marriage.


"מצא אשה מצא טוב - ומוצא אני מר ממות את האשה"
“One who finds a wife has found goodness” (Proverbs 18:22) “And I have discovered more bitter than death, the woman.” (Ecclesiastes 7:26)

QUESTION: How can the two statements be reconciled?

ANSWER: When seeking a wife, one should not place an emphasis on extraneous matters such as money and yichus — pedigree. Rather, one should look for a woman who is G‑d fearing and who possesses qualities and character that are the products of her achievement.

The Gemara (Pesachim 22b) says that the word “et” is superfluous, and it comes to include something subordinate or auxillary to the principal issue in the pasuk.

Thus, King Shlomo is teaching that when matza ishah” — one found a woman — i.e. one is simply attracted to the woman for her intrinsic qualities, such a marriage is “matza tov” — “a good find” — and will be a pleasant one all the years of the couple. However, when the man did not choose the woman for her own achievements, but et ha’ishah” — her extraneous possessions, such as money or pedigree — such a marriage may be more bitter than death.

(פרח לבנון)