Community Rabbi Corner, May 3, 2019

Rabbi Richard Mayer
Upper School Judaics Faculty
Parashat Acharei Mot

In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Acharei Mot, we learn about the work that the priests had to do in the Tabernacle, and later the Temple, on Yom Kippur. One of these services was the selection of the scape goat. There were 2 lots cast - one goat being selected to be “Kodesh Ladonai” (holy to God), and one being selected for Azazel, the scape goat. The Medieval Commentator the Kli Yakar, Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim Luntschitz, mentions that these 2 goats remind us of the goats that Jacob prepared for Isaac when Jacob stole the first born blessing. With one of the goats, Jacob made a dish for Isaac to eat, which Isaac greatly enjoyed, and caused him to bless Jacob. The other goat became the Passover sacrifice as, according to the Midrash, the day on which this event happened was the first day of Passover. The Kli Yakar explains that for all future generations, these 2 goats would play an important role for us, the Jewish people. One goat is a merit for us to receive all the blessings of God, and the other is for us to always receive the atonement we need at the appropriate time.

May we always merit to receive the great blessings of God and find favor in His eyes in our times of need.

Shabbat Shalom.