Just Don't Look BackThe Curious Ritual Ubiquity of the Scapegoat

The Avodah Service for Yom Kippur

THE SECOND CONFESSION

He walked to the east of the courtyard, where two goats alike in form and size stood ready, as the sacrificial offering for the consequences of sin. He grabbed the gold lots, pulled them from the urn, and cast them: "for heaven" and "for the wilderness." He called out for the one: "A purification offering unto HaShem." Those who heard him responded by praising God's name. On the head of the goat that was to be sent out, he tied a crimson thread, directing the goat toward its destination.

THE COMPLETION OF THE CEREMONY

He sent out the goat to the harsh desert, accompanied by the appointed priest.

(א) שְׁנֵי שְׂעִירֵי יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים, מִצְוָתָן שֶׁיִּהְיוּ שְׁנֵיהֶן שָׁוִין בְּמַרְאֶה וּבְקוֹמָה וּבְדָמִים וּבִלְקִיחָתָן כְּאֶחָד. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינָן שָׁוִין, כְּשֵׁרִין. לָקַח אֶחָד הַיּוֹם וְאֶחָד לְמָחָר, כְּשֵׁרִין. מֵת אֶחָד מֵהֶן, אִם עַד שֶׁלֹּא הִגְרִיל מֵת, יִקַּח זוּג לַשֵּׁנִי. וְאִם מִשֶּׁהִגְרִיל מֵת, יָבִיא זוּג אַחֵר וְיַגְרִיל עֲלֵיהֶם בַּתְּחִלָּה, וְיֹאמַר, אִם שֶׁל שֵׁם מֵת, זֶה שֶׁעָלָה עָלָיו הַגּוֹרָל לַשֵּׁם יִתְקַיֵּם תַּחְתָּיו. וְאִם שֶׁל עֲזָאזֵל מֵת, זֶה שֶׁעָלָה עָלָיו הַגּוֹרָל לַעֲזָאזֵל יִתְקַיֵּם תַּחְתָּיו. וְהַשֵּׁנִי יִרְעֶה עַד שֶׁיִּסְתָּאֵב, וְיִמָּכֵר וְיִפְּלוּ דָמָיו לִנְדָבָה, שֶׁאֵין חַטַּאת צִבּוּר מֵתָה. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, תָּמוּת. וְעוֹד אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוּדָה, נִשְׁפַּךְ הַדָּם, יָמוּת הַמִּשְׁתַּלֵּחַ. מֵת הַמִּשְׁתַּלֵּחַ, יִשָּׁפֵךְ הַדָּם:

(ב) בָּא לוֹ אֵצֶל שָׂעִיר הַמִּשְׁתַּלֵּחַ וְסוֹמֵךְ שְׁתֵּי יָדָיו עָלָיו וּמִתְוַדֶּה. וְכָךְ הָיָה אוֹמֵר, אָנָּא הַשֵּׁם, עָווּ פָּשְׁעוּ חָטְאוּ לְפָנֶיךָ עַמְּךָ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל. אָנָּא בַּשֵּׁם, כַּפֶּר נָא לָעֲוֹנוֹת וְלַפְּשָׁעִים וְלַחֲטָאִים, שֶׁעָווּ וְשֶׁפָּשְׁעוּ וְשֶׁחָטְאוּ לְפָנֶיךָ עַמְּךָ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל, כַּכָּתוּב בְּתוֹרַת משֶׁה עַבְדֶּךָ לֵאמֹר (ויקרא טז), כִּי בַיּוֹם הַזֶּה יְכַפֵּר עֲלֵיכֶם לְטַהֵר אֶתְכֶם מִכֹּל חַטֹּאתֵיכֶם לִפְנֵי יְיָ תִּטְהָרוּ. וְהַכֹּהֲנִים וְהָעָם הָעוֹמְדִים בָּעֲזָרָה, כְּשֶׁהָיוּ שׁוֹמְעִים שֵׁם הַמְפֹרָשׁ שֶׁהוּא יוֹצֵא מִפִּי כֹהֵן גָּדוֹל, הָיוּ כּוֹרְעִים וּמִשְׁתַּחֲוִים וְנוֹפְלִים עַל פְּנֵיהֶם, וְאוֹמְרִים, בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד:

(ג) מְסָרוֹ לְמִי שֶׁהָיָה מוֹלִיכוֹ. הַכֹּל כְּשֵׁרִין לְהוֹלִיכוֹ, אֶלָּא שֶׁעָשׂוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים גְּדוֹלִים קֶבַע וְלֹא הָיוּ מַנִּיחִין אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל לְהוֹלִיכוֹ. אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי, מַעֲשֶׂה וְהוֹלִיכוֹ עַרְסְלָא, וְיִשְׂרָאֵל הָיָה:

(ד) וְכֶבֶשׁ עָשׂוּ לוֹ מִפְּנֵי הַבַּבְלִיִּים, שֶׁהָיוּ מְתַלְּשִׁים בִּשְׂעָרוֹ, וְאוֹמְרִים לוֹ, טֹל וָצֵא, טֹל וָצֵא. מִיַּקִּירֵי יְרוּשָׁלַיִם הָיוּ מְלַוִּין אוֹתוֹ עַד סֻכָּה הָרִאשׁוֹנָה. עֶשֶׂר סֻכּוֹת מִירוּשָׁלַיִם וְעַד צוּק, תִּשְׁעִים רִיס, שִׁבְעָה וּמֶחֱצָה לְכָל מִיל:

(ה) עַל כָּל סֻכָּה וְסֻכָּה אוֹמְרִים לוֹ, הֲרֵי מָזוֹן וַהֲרֵי מַיִם. וּמְלַוִּין אוֹתוֹ מִסֻּכָּה לְסֻכָּה, חוּץ מֵאַחֲרוֹנָה שֶׁבָּהֶן, שֶׁאֵינוֹ מַגִּיעַ עִמּוֹ לַצּוּק, אֶלָּא עוֹמֵד מֵרָחוֹק וְרוֹאֶה אֶת מַעֲשָׂיו:

(ו) מֶה הָיָה עוֹשֶׂה, חוֹלֵק לָשׁוֹן שֶׁל זְהוֹרִית, חֶצְיוֹ קָשַׁר בַּסֶּלַע וְחֶצְיוֹ קָשַׁר בֵּין שְׁתֵּי קַרְנָיו, וּדְחָפוֹ לַאֲחוֹרָיו, וְהוּא מִתְגַּלְגֵּל וְיוֹרֵד, וְלֹא הָיָה מַגִּיעַ לַחֲצִי הָהָר עַד שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה אֵבָרִים אֵבָרִים. בָּא וְיָשַׁב לוֹ תַּחַת סֻכָּה אַחֲרוֹנָה עַד שֶׁתֶּחְשָׁךְ. וּמֵאֵימָתַי מְטַמֵּא בְגָדִים, מִשֶּׁיֵּצֵא חוּץ לְחוֹמַת יְרוּשָׁלַיִם. רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, מִשְּׁעַת דְּחִיָּתוֹ לַצּוּק:

(ז) בָּא לוֹ אֵצֶל פָּר וְשָׂעִיר הַנִּשְׂרָפִין. קְרָעָן וְהוֹצִיא אֶת אֵמוּרֵיהֶן, נְתָנָן בְּמָגֵיס, וְהִקְטִירָן עַל גַּבֵּי הַמִּזְבֵּחַ. קְלָעָן בְּמִקְלָעוֹת, וְהוֹצִיאָן לְבֵית הַשְּׂרֵפָה. וּמֵאֵימָתַי מְטַמְּאִין בְּגָדִים, מִשֶּׁיֵּצְאוּ חוּץ לְחוֹמַת הָעֲזָרָה. רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, מִשֶּׁיִּצַּת הָאוּר בְּרֻבָּן:

(ח) אָמְרוּ לוֹ לְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל, הִגִּיעַ שָׂעִיר לַמִּדְבָּר. וּמִנַּיִן הָיוּ יוֹדְעִין שֶׁהִגִּיעַ שָׂעִיר לַמִּדְבָּר, דַּרְכִּיּוֹת הָיוּ עוֹשִׂין, וּמְנִיפִין בַּסּוּדָרִין, וְיוֹדְעִין שֶׁהִגִּיעַ שָׂעִיר לַמִּדְבָּר. אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוּדָה, וַהֲלֹא סִימָן גָּדוֹל הָיָה לָהֶם, מִירוּשָׁלַיִם וְעַד בֵּית חִדּוּדוֹ שְׁלשָׁה מִילִין. הוֹלְכִין מִיל, וְחוֹזְרִין מִיל, וְשׁוֹהִין כְּדֵי מִיל, וְיוֹדְעִין שֶׁהִגִּיעַ שָׂעִיר לַמִּדְבָּר. רַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל אוֹמֵר, וַהֲלֹא סִימָן אַחֵר הָיָה לָהֶם, לָשׁוֹן שֶׁל זְהוֹרִית הָיָה קָשׁוּר עַל פִּתְחוֹ שֶׁל הֵיכָל, וּכְשֶׁהִגִּיעַ שָׂעִיר לַמִּדְבָּר הָיָה הַלָּשׁוֹן מַלְבִּין, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה א), אִם יִהְיוּ חֲטָאֵיכֶם כַּשָּׁנִים כַּשֶּׁלֶג יַלְבִּינוּ:

(1) The two [sacrificial] goats of Yom Kippur, it is a mitzvah that they be equal in appearance, height, value and be bought at the same time. But even if they are not equal, they are kosher. If one was bought one day, and another the next day, they are kosher. If one [of the goats] dies, if it dies before the lots were drawn, a partner for the second should be bought. If it dies after the lots were drawn, then another pair [of goats] should be brought and lots drawn over them as before, and [the one drawing lots] should say, if [the goat that was intended] for Hashem died, "Let the one for which the lot 'for Hashem' is drawn be established in its place." And if [the goat that was intended for] Azazel died, "Let the one for which the lot "for Azazel" is drawn be established in its place." The second [remaining goat] is left to graze until it develops a blemish, and then is sold, and its monetary value [is used to buy] free-will offerings, for we do not leave a communal chattat [sin] offering to die. Rabbi Yehuda says, We leave it to die. Rabbi Yehuda also said, if [the goat for Hashem's] blood spilled [before it could be sprinkled], the goat sent [to Azazel] is left to die [and another pair are brought]. If the goat sent [to Azazel] has died [first], then the blood [of the goat for Hashem] must be poured out [i.e., discarded, and another pair are brought].

(2) [The High Priest] would come to the goat for Azazel and place his two hands on it, and confess. And this is what he would say: "Please God, we, Your people the House of Israel, have committed wrongdoing, transgressed, and sinned before You. Please God, please forgive the wrongdoing, transgressions and sins that we, Your people the House of Israel, have committed, transgressed, and sinned before You. As it is written in the Torah of Moses Your servant (Leviticus 16:30), 'On this day, you will be forgiven and cleansed from all your sins—before Hashem you will be cleansed.'" Then, the priests and the people standing in the courtyard, when they heard the explicit Name from the mouth of the High Priest, would bend their knees, bow down and fall on their faces, and they would say, "Blessed be the Honored Name of His Sovereignty forever."

(3) They turned over [the goat sent to Azazel] to the person leading it [out to the wilderness]. Anyone could lead the goat out; however, the leading priests fixed a procedure [that a priest would lead it out] and would not allow a Yisrael [Jew not a member of the tribe of Levi] to lead it out. Rabbi Yose says, It once happened that Arsala led it out and he was a Yisrael.

(4) They made a special ramp for him [who led the goat out], because of the Babylonians who used to pull at his hair, and say to him, Take [our sins] and go quickly, take [our sins] and go quickly. The leading citizens of Jerusalem would accompany him to the first booth. There were ten booths from Jerusalem to Tzuk [the cliff to which the goat was taken], a distance of ninety ris [2/15 of a mil], seven and a half ris per mil [two thousand cubits, for a total distance of twelve milin].

(5) At every booth, they would say to him, Here is food and water. And they would accompany him from one booth to the next, except for the last one, since the escort would not go with him all the way to the cliff, but rather, he would watch his actions from a distance.

(6) What did he do [when he reached the cliff]? He divided the thread of the crimson wool, tied half to the rock, and tied the other half between its horns, and he pushed it from behind. It went rolling down, and before it reached half-way downhill, it was dashed to pieces. He returned and sat in the last booth until it became dark. And at what point did his garments become impure? From the moment he left the walls of Jerusalem. Rabbi Shimon says: from the moment he pushed it off the cliff.

(7) He [the High Priest] would go to the bull and the goat for the burnt offering [after sending off the goat to Azazel]. He would split [their carcasses] and remove their fats, place them on a tray and offer them on the altar. He reassembled the carcasses and took them out to the place of burning. And at what point would his clothing become impure? From the moment he went outside the walls of the Temple court. Rabbi Shimon says: From the moment the fire took hold in the majority [of the carcasses].

(8) They would say to the High Priest: The goat [for Azazel] has reached the wilderness. And how did they know that the goat had reached the wilderness? They used to set up towers and wave signal cloths, and thus they would know that the goat had reached the wilderness. Rabbi Yehuda says: But did they not have an obvious sign? The distance from Jerusalem to the place where the goat was pushed [off the cliff] was three milin. They could thus walk a mil, return a mil, and wait the amount of time it would take to walk a mil, and thus, they would know that the goat had reached the wilderness. Rabbi Yishmael says: But did they not also have another sign? They had a strip of crimson wool tied to the door of the Heikhal, and when the goat reached the wilderness, the crimson wool turned white, as it is written, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (Isaiah 1:18).

(ו) וְהִקְרִ֧יב אַהֲרֹ֛ן אֶת־פַּ֥ר הַחַטָּ֖את אֲשֶׁר־ל֑וֹ וְכִפֶּ֥ר בַּעֲד֖וֹ וּבְעַ֥ד בֵּיתֽוֹ׃ (ז) וְלָקַ֖ח אֶת־שְׁנֵ֣י הַשְּׂעִירִ֑ם וְהֶעֱמִ֤יד אֹתָם֙ לִפְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֔ה פֶּ֖תַח אֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵֽד׃ (ח) וְנָתַ֧ן אַהֲרֹ֛ן עַל־שְׁנֵ֥י הַשְּׂעִירִ֖ם גּוֹרָל֑וֹת גּוֹרָ֤ל אֶחָד֙ לַיהוָ֔ה וְגוֹרָ֥ל אֶחָ֖ד לַעֲזָאזֵֽל׃ (ט) וְהִקְרִ֤יב אַהֲרֹן֙ אֶת־הַשָּׂעִ֔יר אֲשֶׁ֨ר עָלָ֥ה עָלָ֛יו הַגּוֹרָ֖ל לַיהוָ֑ה וְעָשָׂ֖הוּ חַטָּֽאת׃ (י) וְהַשָּׂעִ֗יר אֲשֶׁר֩ עָלָ֨ה עָלָ֤יו הַגּוֹרָל֙ לַעֲזָאזֵ֔ל יָֽעֳמַד־חַ֛י לִפְנֵ֥י יְהוָ֖ה לְכַפֵּ֣ר עָלָ֑יו לְשַׁלַּ֥ח אֹת֛וֹ לַעֲזָאזֵ֖ל הַמִּדְבָּֽרָה׃ (יא) וְהִקְרִ֨יב אַהֲרֹ֜ן אֶת־פַּ֤ר הַֽחַטָּאת֙ אֲשֶׁר־ל֔וֹ וְכִפֶּ֥ר בַּֽעֲד֖וֹ וּבְעַ֣ד בֵּית֑וֹ וְשָׁחַ֛ט אֶת־פַּ֥ר הַֽחַטָּ֖את אֲשֶׁר־לֽוֹ׃
(6) Aaron is to offer his own bull of sin offering, to make expiation for himself and for his household. (7) Aaron shall take the two he-goats and let them stand before the LORD at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting; (8) and he shall place lots upon the two goats, one marked for the LORD and the other marked for Azazel. (9) Aaron shall bring forward the goat designated by lot for the LORD, which he is to offer as a sin offering; (10) while the goat designated by lot for Azazel shall be left standing alive before the LORD, to make expiation with it and to send it off to the wilderness for Azazel. (11) Aaron shall then offer his bull of sin offering, to make expiation for himself and his household. He shall slaughter his bull of sin offering,

(י) וַיִּשְׁלַ֤ח אַבְרָהָם֙ אֶת־יָד֔וֹ וַיִּקַּ֖ח אֶת־הַֽמַּאֲכֶ֑לֶת לִשְׁחֹ֖ט אֶת־בְּנֽוֹ׃ (יא) וַיִּקְרָ֨א אֵלָ֜יו מַלְאַ֤ךְ יְהוָה֙ מִן־הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וַיֹּ֖אמֶר אַבְרָהָ֣ם ׀ אַבְרָהָ֑ם וַיֹּ֖אמֶר הִנֵּֽנִי׃ (יב) וַיֹּ֗אמֶר אַל־תִּשְׁלַ֤ח יָֽדְךָ֙ אֶל־הַנַּ֔עַר וְאַל־תַּ֥עַשׂ ל֖וֹ מְא֑וּמָּה כִּ֣י ׀ עַתָּ֣ה יָדַ֗עְתִּי כִּֽי־יְרֵ֤א אֱלֹהִים֙ אַ֔תָּה וְלֹ֥א חָשַׂ֛כְתָּ אֶת־בִּנְךָ֥ אֶת־יְחִידְךָ֖ מִמֶּֽנִּי׃ (יג) וַיִּשָּׂ֨א אַבְרָהָ֜ם אֶת־עֵינָ֗יו וַיַּרְא֙ וְהִנֵּה־אַ֔יִל אַחַ֕ר נֶאֱחַ֥ז בַּסְּבַ֖ךְ בְּקַרְנָ֑יו וַיֵּ֤לֶךְ אַבְרָהָם֙ וַיִּקַּ֣ח אֶת־הָאַ֔יִל וַיַּעֲלֵ֥הוּ לְעֹלָ֖ה תַּ֥חַת בְּנֽוֹ׃ (יד) וַיִּקְרָ֧א אַבְרָהָ֛ם שֵֽׁם־הַמָּק֥וֹם הַה֖וּא יְהוָ֣ה ׀ יִרְאֶ֑ה אֲשֶׁר֙ יֵאָמֵ֣ר הַיּ֔וֹם בְּהַ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה יֵרָאֶֽה׃

(10) And Abraham picked up the knife to slay his son. (11) Then an angel of the LORD called to him from heaven: “Abraham! Abraham!” And he answered, “Here I am.” (12) And he said, “Do not raise your hand against the boy, or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your favored one, from Me.” (13) When Abraham looked up, his eye fell upon a ram, caught in the thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering in place of his son. (14) And Abraham named that site Adonai-yireh, whence the present saying, “On the mount of the LORD there is vision.”

תחת בנו. מֵאַחַר שֶׁכָּתוּב וַיַּעֲלֵהוּ לְעֹלָה, לֹא חָסֵר הַמִּקְרָא כְּלוּם, מַהוּ תַּחַת בְּנוֹ? עַל כָּל עֲבוֹדָה שֶׁעָשָׂה מִמֶּנּוּ הָיָה מִתְפַּלֵּל וְאוֹמֵר יְהִי רָצוֹן שֶׁתְּהֵא זוֹ כְּאִלּוּ הִיא עֲשׂוּיָה בִּבְנִי, כְּאִלּוּ בְּנִי שָׁחוּט, כְּאִלּוּ דָּמוֹ זָרוּק, כְּאִלּוּ הוּא מֻפְשָׁט, כְּאִלּוּ הוּא נִקְטָר וְנַעֲשֶׂה דֶּשֶׁן:
תחת בנו IN THE STEAD OF HIS SON — Since it is written, “He offered it up for a burnt offering”, surely nothing is missing in the text; what then is the force of “in the stead of his son”? At every sacrificial act he performed on it he prayed saying, “May it be Thy will that this act may be regarded as having been done to my son — as though my son is being slain; as though his blood is being sprinkled; as though his skin were being flayed; as though he is being burnt and is being reduced to ashes” (Genesis Rabbah 56:9).
מִנְהָגָן שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל לְהַתְחִיל לִתְקֹעַ מֵרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ אֱלוּל, שֶׁהוּא שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם קֹדֶם רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה — דִּמְיוֹן בַּעַל חוֹב, שֶׁנּוֹתְנִין לוֹ זְמַן בֵּית דִּין שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם לְהַמְצִיא מָעוֹת, כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּשַׁלֵּם לְבַעֲלֵי חוֹבוֹת — כֵּן בְּדִמְיוֹן זֶה נוֹתְנִין לוֹ לָאָדָם בְּבֵית דִּין שֶׁל מַעְלָה בַּעֲשִׂיַּת תְּשׁוּבָה, תְּפִלָּה וּצְדָקָה — לְהַעֲבִיר מֵעָלָיו רֹעַ גְּזֵרָה. וְהַשּׁוֹפָר בָּא לְעוֹרֵר, כִּי הוּא מְרַמֵּז עַל קֶרֶן יִשְׂרָאֵל וְרוֹמֵז עַל קֶרֶן שֶׁל עֲקֵדַת יִצְחָק, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בּוֹ: אַיִל אַחַר נֶאֱחַז בַּסְּבַךְ בְּקַרְנָיו. וְאִיתָא בַּמִּדְרָשׁ, שֶׁיִּהְיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל נֶאֱחָזִים בַּעֲבֵרוֹת, אֲבָל סוֹפָן לְהִגָּאֵל בְּקַרְנָיו שֶׁל הָאַיִל, הֲדָא הוּא דִּכְתִיב: בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִתָּקַע בְּשׁוֹפָר גָּדוֹל, לְפִי שֶׁאַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ רָאָה אֶת הָאַיִל נוֹטֵשׁ וְחוֹרֵשׁ. רָצָה לוֹמַר: שֶׁהָיָה אַיִל בְּצַעַר מֵחֲמַת קְשִׁי הַשִּׁעְבּוּד שֶׁל אַרְבַּע גָּלֻיּוֹת. אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא: הָאַיִל זֶה הוּא סִימָן לְבָנֶיךָ לְהִסְתַּבֵּךְ מִמַּלְכוּת בָּבֶל לְמַלְכוּת מָדַי, וּמִמָּדַי — לְיָוָן, וּמִיָּוָן — לְיִשְׁמָעֵאל וֶאֱדוֹם, וְסוֹפָן לְהִגָּאֵל בְּקַרְנָיו שֶׁל הָאַיִל. זֶהוּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַה' אֱלֹהִים בְּשׁוֹפָר יִתְקַע, ה' צְבָאוֹת יָגֵן עֲלֵיהֶם. לָכֵן מִי הָאִישׁ, אֲשֶׁר חָרֵד לִדְבַר ה' — כְּשֶׁשּׁוֹמֵעַ קוֹל הַשּׁוֹפָר, יֶחֱרַד לִבּוֹ וְיִתְמַלֵּא רֶתֶת וּרְעָדָה מִפְּנֵי פַּחַד ה' וּמֵהֲדַר גְּאוֹנוֹ.
It is a custom of Israel to begin blowing the shofar on the first day of the month of Elul, that is, thirty days before Rosh HaShannah. This can be likened to a debtor whom the court grants thirty days to raise the funds to pay his creditors. In the same way the Heavenly court grants a person thirty days to repent so that he may clear himself in their eyes through acts of penitence, prayer and charity, which together avert the evil decree. The shofar is meant to awaken us it because reminds us of the horn of Israel and the horn of the Binding of Yitzchak, as it is written, “There was a ram behind him entangled in the thicket by its horns” (Bereishis 22:13). According to the Midrash (Yalkut Bereishis 101) this indicates that although Israel are entangled in sin they are destined to be redeemed by the horns of this ram, as it is written, “On that day He will blow upon a great shofar” (Yeshayahu 27:13). Thus Avraham observed the ram freeing himself only to become entangled once more. He observed its suffering [symbolizing the suffering Israel was to endure in the course of the four exiles]. Hashem said to him, “This ram represents Your children who will become free of the kingdom of Babylon only to become entangled in the kingdom of Media. Then from Media they will pass to Greece and from Greece to Yishmael and Edom. Yet they are destined to be redeemed by the horns of this ram, as it is written, ‘And Hashem, God, will blow upon a shofar; Hashem of Hosts will protect them’ (Zecharyah 9:14- 15).” Therefore, whoever trembles at the word of Hashem must also tremble when he hears the sound of the shofar. Let him shudder and quake with fear of Hashem and His exalted majesty.

The Scapegoat in Other Cultures

The Golden Bough - Sir George James Frazer

Again, on one day of the year the Bhotiyas of Juhar, in the Western Himalayas, take a dog, intoxicate him with spirits and bhang or hemp, and having fed him with sweetmeats, lead him round the village and let him loose. Then they chase and kill him with sticks and stones, and believe that, when they have done so, no disease or misfortune will visit the village during the year. In some parts of Breadalbane it was formerly the custom on New Year's Day to take a dog to the door, give him a bit of bread, and drive him out, saying, "Get away, you dog! Whatever death of men or loss of cattle would happen in this house to the end of the present year, may it all light on your head!"

Amonst the Dinkas, a pastoral people of the White Nil, each family possesses a sacred cow. When the country is threatened with war, famine, or any other public calamity, the chiefs of the village require a particular family to surrender their sacred cow to serve as a scapegoat. The animal is driven by the women to the brink of the river and across it to the other bank, there to wander in the wilderness and fall a prey to ravening beasts. Then the women return in silence and without looking behind them; were they to cast a backward glance, they imagine the ceremony would have no effect.

In 1857, when the Aymara Indians of Bolivia and Peru were suffering from a plague, they loaded a black llama with the clothes of the plague-stricken people, sprinkled brandy on the clothes, and then turned the animal loose on the mountains, hoping that it would carry the pest away with it.

מתני׳ חטאת ואשם ודאי מכפרין מיתה ויוה"כ מכפרין עם התשובה תשובה מכפרת על עבירות קלות על עשה ועל לא תעשה ועל החמורות הוא תולה עד שיבא יוה"כ ויכפר האומר אחטא ואשוב אחטא ואשוב אין מספיקין בידו לעשות תשובה אחטא ויוה"כ מכפר אין יוה"כ מכפר עבירות שבין אדם למקום יוה"כ מכפר עבירות שבין אדם לחבירו אין יוה"כ מכפר עד שירצה את חבירו
MISHNA: A sin-offering, which atones for unwitting performance of transgressions punishable by karet, and a definite guilt-offering, which is brought for robbery and misuse of consecrated items, atone for those sins. Death and Yom Kippur atone for sins when accompanied by repentance. Repentance itself atones for minor transgressions, for both positive mitzvot and negative mitzvot. And repentance places punishment for severe transgressions in abeyance until Yom Kippur comes and completely atones for the transgression. With regard to one who says: I will sin and then I will repent, I will sin and I will repent, Heaven does not provide him the opportunity to repent, and he will remain a sinner all his days. With regard to one who says: I will sin and Yom Kippur will atone for my sins, Yom Kippur does not atone for his sins. Furthermore, for transgressions between a person and God, Yom Kippur atones; however, for transgressions between a person and another, Yom Kippur does not atone until he appeases the other person.