Published Date: September 19, 2017
In this Shabbat’s weekly Torah portion Yom Kippur Leviticus 16:1-34; 18:1-30, the Torah reading for Yom Kippur morning describes the service performed on this day by the Kohen Gadol (high priest) in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
A special feature of the Yom Kippur service was the casting of lots over two he-goats — equal in age, size and appearance — to determine which shall be offered to God in the Holy Temple, and which shall be dispatched to carry off the sins of Israel to the wilderness.
In this week’s Haftara Prophets reading Isaiah 57:14-58:14, discusses the concepts of repentance and fasting, the theme du jour of Yom Kippur.
The prophecy begins with the words “Pave, pave, clear the way; remove the obstacles from the way of My people.” A reference to the Yetzer Hara (“evil inclination”) which must be removed to pave the way for sincere repentance. God assures that He will not be forever angry at those who repent, and that instead He will heal them and lead them. The wicked, on the other hand, are compared to a turbulent sea: “there is no peace for the wicked.”