21st Century P’shat: 1-2 minute divrai Torah for each aliyah

Yom Kippur

  1. The Holy of Holies is referenced as being within the Parochet/curtains or the House of Parochet/Curtains. The woven curtains cross between the outside world and the holiness of the Mishkan and the Holy places and the Holy of Holies. The inner curtains are a point of crossover between the timeless and the point of conversion of creative energy. Yom Kippur is about crossing that divide – about crossing over to a timeless world we cannot exist in.
  2. Of all the items of clothing, the coat is singled out for special consideration as individually holy. The word used for coat is ketonet. It is not beged, which implies deception. When we approach Hashem we cover our raw nakedness – but we do not clothe ourselves in untruth.
  3. Azazel seems like another being – a boogieman in the uninhabited desert. We assign one goat to Hashem and one to Azazel. The name for Hashem used is the word of timelessness – not elokim which identifies power. Something that goes to Hashem is timelessly preserved. Az-Azael literally means goat of disappearance. Things that go to Azazel vanish from time – as if they never existed. It is null – like the disappearance of an undeveloped soul.
  4. To protect ourselves from the anan or cloud of Hashem we create our own anan from incense. It covers the witness (the word used for the Aron). But how can we cover the witness with incense? Why would this work? Why isn’t this deceptive? The key is that the incense is Hashem’s recipeBy using His tools we earn a covering of our sins. It is part of his mercy that he allows us to do this. Yom Kippur is such a tool.
  5. The blood (or spirit) of the offerings is used for a particular act – purifying the altar. These offerings repair our connection to Hashem. Only after that connection is repaired do we have the ability to make our sins vanish from this world.
    1. My brother Isaiah points out that the bull may atone for the golden calf (Aaron’s sin) while the goats atone for Yisrael (Yaacov) using goats to deceive his father.
  6. We are commanded to afflict ourselves. The literal word means impoverish. As mentioned in a previous dvar, you are impoverished when you feel a lack of something. To impoverish your soul is to make yourself aware that there is a gap that needs filling – and enabling Hashem to fill it.
  7. In this final reading we see that the Yom Kippur role is not tied to individuals, but to the position of the Kohen Gadol. We can perform an impoverishment within ourselves – but repairing the powerful connection to the divine represented by the mizbeach (altar) is the act of a nation.