The Scapegoat

Parashat Achrei Mot

General Overview: This week’s reading, Acharei, begins with a detailed description of the service of the High Priest on Yom Kippur. The Torah then discusses prohibitions against offering sacrifices outside the Temple, consuming blood, and incestuous, adulterous, or other forbidden relationships.

First Aliyah: The High Priest is instructed to only enter the Holy of Holies chamber of the sanctuary once a year, on Yom Kippur; and even on this holiest day of the year, the entry into the Temple’s inner sanctum must be accompanied by a special service and specific offerings which are detailed in this reading. The High Priest was only permitted to enter amidst a cloud of burning incense. Also, special white garments were worn by the High Priest on this day. While offering the day’s sacrifices, the High Priest would “confess” on behalf of the entire nation, attaining atonement for the past year’s sins.

Second Aliyah: This section continues the description of the special Yom Kippur service. The procedure of the “scapegoat” ceremony is described in this aliyah.

Third Aliyah: After concluding the order of the Yom Kippur service in the Temple, the Torah instructs us to observe Yom Kippur as a Day of Atonement when we must abstain from work and “afflict” ourselves.

Fourth Aliyah: The Jews are forbidden to offer sacrifices anywhere other than the Tabernacle or Temple.

Fifth Aliyah: We are enjoined not to consume blood. When slaughtering fowl or undomesticated animals, we are commanded to cover their blood with earth. The Jews are admonished not to follow the depraved ways of the Egyptians and Canaanites.

Sixth 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 forbidden close relatives.

Seventh Aliyah: The prohibitions against homosexuality and bestiality are mentioned. The Jews are then 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.

The content on this page is produced by and courtesy of  chabad.org.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments