Our Man In Heaven: APPENDIX V: THE RITUAL OF THE DAY OF ATONEMENT

The following account of the Jewish observance of the Day of Atonement is that of Moses ben Maimon., a Jewish philosopher and codifier of the 12th century A.D. Maimonides (as he is often called) was born in Cordova, Spain on March 30, 1135, and he died in Cairo, Egypt, December 13, 1204.

Maimonides set out to compile all the Jewish traditions of past centuries in an orderly form. His great work which emerged is known as the Mishneh Torah {Repetition of the Law) or the Yad Hahazakah (Strong Hand). “For systematic structure and logical presentation” the work “has no equal in Jewish literature,” according to The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia.

The account of Maimonides does not purport to describe the Old Testament observance of the Day of Atonement, but it is the most authoritative record available today of the observance after Old Testament days, including the period after Christ which saw the writing of The Epistle to the Hebrews. He divides his account into four sections, each further broken down into individual halacha, or precepts of the rabbis.

I have eliminated all unnecessary Hebrew words, several technical footnotes and certain of the author’s scholarly asides, but otherwise the following is as it appears in English at the end of the great commentary by Delitzsch which is listed in my bibliography.

THE RITUAL OF THE DAY OF ATONEMENT

FIRST SECTION

Halacha 1. On the day of the fast the morning and evening sacrifice is offered just as on any other day, and also the oblation of the day, — a bull, a ram, and seven lambs, all of them burnt-offerings, and a he-goat as a sin-offering, the blood of which was sprinkled in the outer place {of the sanctuary!, the flesh being eaten in the evening.

But in addition to these (regular) sacrifices, there were also offered a young bull as a sin- offering, which was consumed, and a ram as a burnt-offering, both of which the high priest had to provide out of his own means. But the ram, which was provided out of the public means . . . is that which is reckoned in Numbers among the sacrifices of the feast, and is called the ram of the people. Lastly, two he-goats were provided by the public means; one of which was offered as a sin-offering, and consumed by fire, and the other was to be driven away as the scapegoat.

The whole number of the sacrificial victims for this day was therefore fifteen: two daily sacrifices, one bull, two rams, and seven lambs, all burnt-offerings in addition to these, two goats as sin-offerings, one of which was eaten in the evening, the blood being sprinkled without; the other, the blood of which was sprinkled within, was burnt: lastly, the high priest’s bull as a sin-offering, which was burnt.

Halacha 2. The service as regards all the fifteen victims on this day was performed by the high priest alone, either by him who was anointed with the anointing oil [at the time of the first temple] or by him who was (merely) distinguished for the occasion by wearing the official garments [at the time of the second temple]. And if it was a Sabbath, no one but the high priest offered the Sabbath oblation Likewise, in respect of the other ministries of this day — such as the daily fumigation and cleaning of the lamps — all was done by the high priest, who was a married man, as it is written (Leviticus 16:6), “And he shall make an atonement for himself and for his house,” that is, for his wife.

Halacha 3. Seven days before the Day of Atonement the high priest is removed from his own house to his chamber in the sanctuary: this is handed down from Moses our teacher. He must also for these seven days keep away from his wife, for it might happen unto her according to the custom of women, and he might then become unclean and unfit for the divine service for seven days. A deputy high priest is also to be previously appointed; so that, in case any legal hindrance set the high priest aside from the ministry, the other might act in his stead. Should any hindrance prevent the high priest from ministering before the daily morning sacrifice, or even after he had offered his own sacrifice, he that officiates in his place needs no special consecration; but his ministerial action supplies the consecration, and he begins with that act of the service at which the other left off. When the Day of Atonement is over, the first returns to his ministry, and the second leaves it. All the precepts of the law regarding the high priest apply to him, although in case of necessity it is valid; and if the first high priest is removed by death, the second is instituted in his place.

Halacha 4. During these seven days he is sprinkled with the ashes of a heifer, — on the third day after his separation, and on the seventh, that is, on the day of preparation for the feast of atonement; for he might unwittingly have made himself unclean. If either of these days falls upon a Sabbath, the sprinkling is omitted.

Halacha 5. During these seven days he is to exercise himself in all the performances of the service: he sprinkles the blood, takes care of the fumigation, cleanses the lamps and brings the pieces of the daily sacrifice to the altar-fire so that he may be accustomed to the service on the Day of Atonement. He has associated with him elders of the high court, who read to him, and instruct him in the ritual and ordinances of worship of the day, and address him: “My lord! high priest! Read thou with thy mouth; perhaps thou hast forgotten or never learnt this point.” And on the day of preparation for the Day of Atonement, early in the morning, he is made to take his stand in the eastern gates and bulls, rams, and lambs were led by in front of him so that he might become experienced and versed in the service.

Halacha 6. During the whole of the seven days meat and drink were not withheld from him; but after nightfall, on the day of preparation for the day of atonement, he was not permitted to eat much, because food tends to make one drowsy; and he was not allowed to sleep, lest any impurity might affect him. Of course he was not allowed to eat things which might cause pollution, such as eggs, warm milk, etc.

Halacha 7. In the days of the second temple a free-thinking spirit flourished in Israel; and the Sadducees arose — may they soon disappear! — who do not believe oral teaching. They said that, on the day of atonement, the incense was to be lighted in the temple outside the veil, and that when the smoke ascended there from it was to be carried inside into the holiest of holiest The reason for this is, that they explain the words of Scripture (Leviticus 16:2, “For I will appear in the cloud on the mercy-seat”) as referring to the clouds proceeding from -the incense But sages have learnt by tradition that the frankincense was first lighted in the holy of holies facing the ark, as it is written (Leviticus 16:13), “And he shall put the incense upon the fire before Jehovah.” Now, because in the second temple they entertained the apprehension that the then existing high priest might incline to the free-thinking party, they therefore, on the preparation day for the Day of Atonement, conjured him, saying: “My lord! high priest! We are delegates of the high court, but thou art delegate both for us and the high court; we conjure thee by Him who causes His name to rest upon this house, we conjure thee to make no change in anything that we have said to thee.” Thereupon he goes away and weeps because they had suspected him of free-thinking, and they go away and weep because they had entertained a suspicion against a person whose conduct was unknown to them; for perhaps he had nothing of the kind in his thoughts.

Halacha 8. The whole night before the Day of Atonement the priest sits and gives didactic expositions, that is, if he be a sage; if he be only a disciple, doctrinal expositions are addressed to him. If he be practiced in reading, he reads out; if not, some one reads out to him, lest he should fall asleep. And what is it that is read from? From the Holy Scriptures. If he is disposed to fall into a slumber, the Levitical youths suddenly touch him with the middle finger, and say to him, “My lord! high priest! Stand up, and refresh thyself a little by walking on the floor, lest thou sleepest.” And thus employment was found for him until the hour for slaying the victims drew near; but they did not slay them until they were certainly convinced that morning twilight had broken, lest they should slay them by night.

SECOND SECTION

Halacha l. All sacrificial actions, as regards both the daily offerings and also the oblations, are performed by the high priest on the same day, clothed in the golden robes. The ritual peculiar to the day is, however, performed in the white robes. The service peculiar to the day consists in the dealings with the bull of the high priest and the two goats, one of which was to be the scapegoat, and in the fumigation with frankincense in the holy of holies, and all these matters were performed in the white clothing.

Halacha 2. As often as he changes his clothes, taking some off and putting others on, he must bathe himself; for it is written (Leviticus 16:23-24), “He shall put off the linen garments . . . and he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place, and put on his garments.”

The priest is to undergo five baths and ten washings of consecration on the same day. And how does this take place? Firstly, he takes off his ordinary clothes which he had on, and then, having bathed himself, stands up and dries himself, he then puts on the golden robes, and having consecrated his hands and feet, slays the daily sacrifice, performs the daily morning fumigation, cleanses the lamps, brings the pieces of the daily sacrifice to the fire on the altar, together with the meat-offering and the drink-offering, and offers the bull and the seven Iambs for the feast-offering of the day. After this he consecrates his hands and his feet, puts off the golden robes, and having bathed, stands up and dries himself; he then puts on the white robes, consecrates his hands and feet, and performs the service of the day — the collective confession of sins, the drawing lots, the sprinkling of the blood of the sacrifice in the inner places, and the fumigating with frankincense in the holy of holiest He then gives up the goat to him who is to lead it away to Azazel [tradition takes Azazel to be the name of the place to which the goat was driven away], and severing the sacrificial portions from the bull and goat which were to be burnt, delivers up the rest of them to be consumed. After this he consecrates his hands and his feet, and takes off the white robes and after bathing, he stands up and dries himself, and puts on the golden robes. He next consecrates his hands and feet, and offers the atonement-goat, which formed a part of the oblation of the day, his own ram and the ram of the people, which are burnt-offerings; and placing on the altar-fire the sacrificial portions of the bull and goat which were to be burnt, he offers the daily evening sacrifice. After that he consecrates his hands and feet, and takes off the golden robes; and after hashing, he stands and dries himself, and puts on the white robes. He consecrates his hands and feet, and entering the holiest of holies, takes there from the spoon and the censer. Next he consecrates his hands and feet, and takes off the white robes; and after bathing, he stands up and dries himself and puts on the golden robes: he consecrates his hands and feet, and performs the daily evening fumigation; and after seeing to the care of the evening lights, consecrates his hands and feet; then, taking off the golden robes, he puts on his ordinary clothes, and goes out.

Halacha 3. These baths and consecrating washings were all performed: in the sanctuary; for it is written, “And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place.” The first bathing was an exception to this rule, and might be performed in any ordinary place, inasmuch as its aim was only to increase his attention; so that if he recollected any former impurity which still clung to him, he might in his thoughts give to this bathing the special purpose of cleansing himself from it. If a priest omitted the bathing on the occasion of the change of clothing, or the consecrating washing between the various clothings and acts of service, his ministry is nevertheless legally valid.

Halacha 4. If the high priest was old or sickly, some red-hot iron plates were prepared on the day of preparation, which on the morrow were thrown into the water to take away the cold (as in the sanctuary none of the rabbinical prohibitions from work held good), or same hot water was mingled with the water of the bath of purification until the cold was taken from it.

Halacha 5. On any other day the high priest performed the consecrating washing of his hands and feet in the same basin as the other priests, but on this day, in conformity with his dignity, he washes them in a golden cup. On any other day the priests ascend on the eastern edge, and descend on the western edge of the altar-stage; but on this day they go along in the middle, before the priest, both in ascending and descending, for his glorification. On any other day, he to whom the censer was entrusted shovelled up the glowing embers with a silver pan, and then poured them into a golden pan; but on this day the high priest shovelled them up with a golden pan and went with them into the temple: this was done so as not to fatigue him with an accumulation of acts of service. In the same way the pan used every day held four kab, but that employed on this day held only three kab; and on every other day it was heavy, but to-day it was light; on every other day the handle of it was short, but to-day long, in order to make it lighter for the high priest, lest he might be wearied. On every other day there were three layers of fire placed on the altar, but to-day there were four, in order to adorn and crown the altar.

Halacha 6. In the Torah it says (Leviticus 16:17), “And he makes atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.” By this — thus have they learnt from tradition — oral confession of sins is to be understood: thou [earnest accordingly from this, that on this day he makes three confessions of sins First one for his own person, a second for his own person in connection with the rest of the priests; both are made over the bull of the atonement which is for him And the third confession of sin for the whole of Israel is made over the goat which is to be driven away. He utters the name (of God) three times in each of these confessions.

What, then, is the tenor of his words? “O Jehovah! I have sinned, have failed in my duty, and committed wickedness before Thee. O Jehovah! Be propitiated for the sins, failings, and wickedness whereby I and my house have sinned, failed in duties, and committed wickedness before Thee; as it is written (Leviticus 16:30), ‘For on that day he shall make an atonement for you to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before Jehovah.’” Consequently he uttered three times the name of God, and the same in the other two confessions; and when he casts the lot for the atoning goat, he says, “A sin-offering to Jehovah.” Thus on this day he utters the name of God ten times, and utters it every time as it is written, that is, the full name of God. In earlier times he raised his voice at the name of God; but an abuse of this practice crept in, and he spake it in a subdued voice, and allowed it to die away into a kind of singing, so that it was not audible even to his fellow-priests.

Halacha 7. All, both priests and people, who stood in the forecourt, so soon as they heard the full name of God proceed from the high priest in holiness and purity, knelt down, and, casting themselves prostrate on their faces, called out, “Praised be the name of the glory of His kingdom for all eternity!” for it is written (Deuteronomy 32:3), “Because I utter the name of the Lord, ascribe ye honour to our God.” In all three confessions he endeavoured to finish speaking the name of God simultaneously with the words of praise, and then he spake to them, “Be ye purified.” The whole day is valid according to the law for the confession of sins for the Day of Atonement, and also for the confession of sins over the bulls which were to be burnt.

THIRD SECTION

Halacha 1. On one of the two lots was written, “For Jehovah;” and on the other, “For Azazel.” It was permissible to use any material for them, either wood, stone, or metal. It was not, however, allowed for one to be large and the other small, one of silver and another of gold; but they must be both alike: they used to be of wood, and in the second temple they were made of gold. The two lots were to be thrown into one and the same vessel, in which there was room for both hands; yet so that the two hands were pressed together, so that he could not choose one of the two lots. This vessel possessed no sacred attribute; it was made of wood, and was called qalapi.

Halacha 2. Where is the lot cast? On the eastern side of the fore-court, on the north of the altar, the urn was put down, and the two goats were placed by it, with their faces turned to the west, and their backs to the east. The high priest now approaches having the consecrating priest on his right, and the chief of the ministering priestly family on his left; and the two goats stand before his face, the one on his right, the other on his left.

Halacha 3. He now dips his hands hastily into the urn and draws out the lots, one in each hand, in the name of the two goats, and then opens his hands. If that for Jehovah has been brought out in the right hand, the consecrating priest says “My lord! high priest! Elevate thy right hand!” If, however it is brought out in the left hand the chief of the ministering priestly family says to him: ‘”My lord! high priest! Elevate thy left hand!” He now places the two lots on the goats, that in his right hand on the goat on his right, and that in, his left hand on the goat on his left; nevertheless, if he does not lay the lots upon them, the whole matter is not prejudiced, only he has not so fully completed the prescribed action. For the laying on is a command which is not a necessary condition; but the drawing of the lots is, on the contrary’ a necessary condition, although it is not an act of divine service. Therefore this laying on is valid, if done by one not a priest, hut the drawing the lots out of the urn would be invalid if thus performed.

Halacha 4. And he ties a scarlet stripe, two selas in weight, on the head of the goat which is to be driven away, and places it opposite to the door at which it is to go out; but the goat which is to be slain (he binds a stripe) around its neck, and then slays the “bull of atonement which is for him,” and (after that) the goat on which the lot has fallen “for Jehovah.”

Halacha 5. And he brings their blood into the temple, and from the blood of the two he makes forty-three sprinklings; rings; the blood of the bull he sprinkles eight times in the holiest of holies, between the poles of the ark, within a hand’s breadth of the mercy-seat. For it is written, “He shall sprinkle it before the mercy-seat,” etc. he sprinkles it therefore, once above, and seven times beneath. They have learned by tradition that in the Scripture term “seven times” the first sprinkling was not to be included; and therefore he reckons, “once and one, once and two, once and three, once and four, once and five, once and six, once and seven.”

And why does he reckon thus? Lest by error the first sprinkling should be reckoned among the seven. Then he sprinkles the blood of the goat between the poles of the ark, once above, and seven times below, and reckons in the same way as with the blood of the bull. Next he sprinkles the blood of the bull eight times in the temple on the veil, once above, and seven times below: for it is written with regard to the blood of the bull, “On the mercy-seat, and before the mercy-seat.” and he reckons in the same way as he did inside. Then he sprinkles again the blood of the goat eight times on the veil, once above, and seven times below: for it is said with regard to the blood of the goat, “He shall do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull:.” and he reckons in the same way as he did within. In all these sprinklings rings he endeavours not to sprinkle above or below, but does it like one who is in the act of scourging. Next he mixes the two bloods, the blood of the bull and the blood of the goat. and sprinkles it four times on the four horns of the golden altar in the temple, and seven times on the middle of this altar.

Halacha 6. In all these forty-three sprinklings he dips his finger in the blood for each sprinkling separately one dipping is not sufficient for two sprinklings. The remainder of the blood he pours out on the ground to the west of the outer altar.

Halacha 7. He then delivers over the living goat into the hands of a man who stands by ready to lead it into the wilderness. In a legal point of view, any one is fitted for leading it away; but the high priests have made a rule, not to allow any Israelite [that is, no one who was not of the tribe of Levi] to lead it away. And tents were set up from Jerusalem to the edge of the wilderness, in which one or several men abode over the day, so as to be able to accompany the man conducting the goat from one tent to another. At each tent it was said to him, “Here is food, and here is water!” And if he was exhausted, and it was necessary for him to eat, he might do so; yet this was never the case. The people at the last tent remained standing at the end of the Sabbath-limit, and surveyed his action from afar. And what did he do? He divided into two the scarlet stripes on the horns of the goat: one-half of the hand was placed on the rock, and the other half between the two horns of the goat, which he then pushed backwards, so that tumbling over it rolled down, and all its limbs were smashed to pieces ere it reached a point half-way down the hill. He that led the goat now goes and sits down in the last tent until it is night. Watch-towers were set up, and signals displayed, in order that it should be known when the goat had reached the wilderness.

After he (the high priest) has delivered over the goat into the hands of him who was to lead him away he turns to the bull and the goat whose blood he had sprinkled within; and cutting them up, and taking therefrom the sacrificial portions, which he places in a vessel in order to take them to the fire on the altar, he cuts up the rest of the flesh into great pieces, all connected with one another, without severing them, and delivers them up into the hands of others to take them away to the place of burning, where they were cut in pieces still in the skin. . .

Halacha 8. As soon as the goat had reached the wilderness, the priest went out into the woman’s division of the fore-court in order to read from the Torah; and whilst he was reading, the bull and the goat were burnt in the place of ashes. Whoever, then, saw the high priest whilst he was reading, could not witness the burning of the bull and the goat. The latter operation could be performed by any common man.

Halacha 9. This reading is not a performance of divine worship; so he can read either in his own ordinary white garments or in the high-priestly white robes, just as he pleases for he is allowed to make use of the priestly robes at other times than those of service.

Halacha 10. And what were the circumstances attending the reading? He sits in the woman’s division of the fore- court, and all the people stand in front of him. The minister of the synagogue takes the book of the Torah, and gives it to the ruler of the synagogue, who gives it to the consecrating priest the consecrating priest gives it to the high priest, who receives it standing up; and standing up he reads . . . (Leviticus 16) and . . . (Leviticus 23:27) . . . . He then rolls up the Torah, and, placing it in his lap, says, “More is here written than that which I have read to you,” and recites to them from memory the section . . . in Numbers up to the end of the division. And why does he not read the latter portion out of another roll? Because the same man must not read out of two rolls (one after the other), lest he should cast suspicion on the first.

Halacha 11. Before and after the reading he pronounces the benediction in the way in which it is done in the synagogue, but adding the following seven benedictions “Be well pleased, Jehovah, our God,” etc.; “We confess to Thee,” etc.; “Forgive us, our Father, for we have sinned,” etc. With these he pronounces the concluding formula: “Thou are praised, Jehovah, Thou that pardonest with mercy the sins of Thy people Israel.”

These three benedictions are the normal ones He then pronounces a benediction for the sanctuary separately, with the purport that the sanctuary might continue, and that God would abide therein with the concluding formula: “Praised art thou, Jehovah, Thou that art enthroned on Zion.” Also a separate benediction for Israel, with the purport that the Lord would help Israel, and that the royalty might not depart from it, with the concluding formula “Praised art Thou, Jehovah, that Thou chooses” Israel.” Then for the priests a separate benediction, with the purport that God would accept their actions and ministry graciously, and would bless them, with the concluding formula “Praised art Thou, Jehovah, Thou that sanctifies” the priests.” Finally he offers prayer devotion, singing, and supplications, according as he is practiced therein, and concludes: “Help, O Jehovah, Thy people Israel, for Thy people needs Thy help. Praised art Thou, Jehovah. Thou that hearest prayer.”

FOURTH SECTION

Halacha l. The successive order of all the actions of this day was as follows: — About midnight they cast lots for the carrying away of the ashes, duly prepared the altar-fire, and took the ashes from the altar following entirely the usual mode of procedure in the order we have already described until they came to slaying the daily sacrifice. When they were about to slay the daily sacrifice, a cloth of linen was spread between the high priest and the people. And why of linen? In order that he may perceive that the service of the day is to be performed in linen robes. He now takes off his ordinary clothes, bathes himself, and puts on the golden robes. After consecrating his hands and feet, he cuts through the greatest part of the two neck-pipes of the daily offering; and leaving to another the completion of the act of slaying, catches the blood, and sprinkles it upon the altar according to precept. After this, he goes into the temple and looks to the early fumigation with frankincense, cleanses the lamps, and places on the altar-fire the pieces of the daily offering, and also the meat-offering and drink-offering in the same order as in the daily sacrifice of any other day, as already described. After the daily sacrifice he offers the bull and the seven lambs as the feast-offerings of the day, and consecrating his hands and feet, takes off the golden robes; then having bathed himself, he puts on the white robes, and, consecrating his hands and his feet, approaches his own bull. The latter is placed between the porch and the altar, the head towards the south and the face towards the west the priest stands on the east of it with his face turned towards the west, and laying both hands on the head of the bull pronounces the confession of sins. And thus he speaks: “O Jehovah, I have sinned, committed transgressions, and wickedness in which I have sinned, transgressed, and done wickedly before Thee, I and my house; as it is thus written in the law of Moses Thy servant: ‘He shall make atonement for you to cleanse you, that ye may be cleansed from all your sins before Jehovah.’”

Then he casts lots over the two goats, fastens a scarlet stripe on the head of the goat which was to be sent away and places it before the door at which it was to go out. On the head of the goat which was to be slain (he fastened a band) in the region of the neck: and approaching his own bull a second time, lays his hands upon his head, and pronounces a second confession of sins. And thus he spake: “O Jehovah, I have sinned, transgressed, and committed wickedness before Thee, I and my house, and the sons of Aaron, the people of Thy sacred things. O Jehovah, let atonement be made for the sins, transgressions, and wickedness whereby I have sinned, transgressed, and done wickedly before Thee, I and my house’ and the sons of Aaron, the people of Thy holy things, as it was written in the law of Moses Thy servant: ‘For on this day,’” etc. Hereupon he slays the bull, and catching the blood, gives it to someone, who shakes it, lest it should coagulate; then, placing it on the fourth row of pavement outwards from the temple, he takes the incense-pan and shovels into it the fiery embers from the altar those indeed which lie to the western side; as it is written, “from the altar of Jehovah.” He then descends and places them on the pavement in the fore-court; and there is brought to him out of the utensil-chamber the ladle and a vessel full of the very finest frankincense: of this he takes two handfuls, neither levelled nor heaped up, but just handfuls, whether he be large or small in his bodily proportions, and places them in the ladle.

We have already explained elsewhere that, as regarded the blood of the sanctuary and the rest of the ministerial actions, the use of the left hand caused a legal invalidity; therefore, in conformity with this, he would have carried the incense-pan in his left hand, and the ladle with the frankincense in his right hand. But nevertheless, on account of the heavy burden of the incense-pan, and because, more” over, it was hot, he could not carry it in his left hand as far as the ark: he therefore took the incense-pan in his right hand, and the ladle with the frankincense in his left, and passed through the temple till he reached the holy of holiest If he found the veil fastened up, he entered the holy of holies, until he came to the ark. When he reached the ark he placed the incense-pan between the two poles — in the second temple, where there was no ark, he placed it on the “foundation stone” — and, taking the ladle by its edge either in the tips of his fingers or his teeth, he empties the frankincense with his thumb into his hands until they are as full of it as they were before; and this is one of the severest ministerial duties in the sanctuary: he then with his hand pours the frankincense in heaps upon the charcoal on the inner side of the pan [that is, on the side farthest from him], so that the fumigation may be closest to the ark, and removed away from his face, lest he might be burnt. He now waits there until] the temple is full of the incense and then goes out, walking backwards step by step, his face turned to the sanctuary, and his back to the temple, until he came outside the veil. After coming out he prays there but a brief prayer, lest he might make the people anxious whether he had not met with his death in the temple. And thus he prayed: “Jehovah, our God let it be Thy will, if this year should be a hot year, that it may be blessed with rain: may the scepter not depart from the house of Judah; may Thy people, the house of Israel, never be wanting in support, and let not the prayer of those journeying come before Thee” [who pray for dry weather whilst the land is in need of rain].

Halacha 2. During the time of the incense-burning in the holiest of holies, the whole of the people kept away from the temple only: they had not to avoid the interval between the porch and the altar. For the latter is done only in the daily fumigation in the temple, and during the blood-sprinkling there. Then he takes the blood of the bull from him who is shaking it, and going with it into the holiest of holies, sprinkles it there eight times between the poles of the ark; he then goes out and places it in the temple on the golden pedestal which stands there. In the next place, going out of the temple, he slays the goat, and, catching its blood, carries it into the holiest of holies: there he sprinkles it eight times between the poles of the ark, and going out, places it on the second golden pedestal standing in the temple. Then he takes the blood of the bull down from the pedestal, and sprinkles it eight times on the veil opposite the ark; and putting down the blood of the bull, he takes down the blood of the goat, and sprinkles it eight times on the veil opposite the ark. After that he pours the blood of the bull amongst that of the goat, and empties it all into the basin in which the blood of the bull had been so that they are well mixed, and standing within the golden altar between the altar and the candlesticks he begins to sprinkle the mixed blood on the horns of the golden altar going round the same outside the horns, commencing with the north-eastern horn, then going to the north-western, then to the south-western, and then to the south-eastern. All the sprinklings are made in an upward direction the last excepted, which is made freely, and in a downward direction, so that his robes may not be soiled; then he shovels aside the charcoal and ashes on the golden altar, until the gold of it is visible and sprinkles the mixed blood on the altar now laid bare seven times on the southern side, on the spot where the horns of the altar end; he now goes out and pours the rest of the blood on the ground to the west of the outer altar.

Then he approaches the goat which is to be given away, and, placing both hands on its head, pronounces a confession of sins. And he speaks thus “O Jehovah, Thy people the house of Israel hath sinned, transgressed, and committed wickedness before Thee O Jehovah, let atonement be made for the sins, transgressions, and the wickedness whereby Thy people the house of Israel hath sinned, transgressed, and committed wickedness before Thee; as it is written in the law of Moses Thy servant: ‘For on this day He will make atonement,’” etc.

After this he sends the goat away into the wilderness; and taking out the sacrificial portions of the bull and the goat, the blood of which he had sprinkled inside, and placing them in a vessel, he sends the remainder of them to the place of ashes to be burnt, and goes out into the woman’s division of the fore-court, and there reads, after the goat had reached the wilderness. Then he performs a consecrating washing, and having taken off the golden robes, bathes himself, puts on the white robes, and consecrates his hands and his feet, next he sacrifices the goat, the blood of which is sprinkled without, and forms a part of the regular feast- offering of the day, and offers his own ram and the ram of the people, as it is written “And he shall go out and offer his burnt-offering and the burnt-offering of the people.” And having brought to the altar-fire the sacrificial portions of the bull and goat which are to be burnt, he offers the daily evening sacrifice. Then he consecrates his hands and feet takes off the golden robes, bathes himself, puts on the white robes, performs the consecrating washing, and entering the holiest of holies, brings out the spoon and the pan. After this he performs the consecrating washing, takes off the white robes, bathes himself, puts on the golden robes, performs the consecrating washing, fumigates with the evening incense, and gives his attention to the evening lights, just as on other days. Then he consecrates his hands and his feet, takes off the golden robes, and putting on his ordinary clothes, withdraws to his own house. All the people accompany him to his house, and he holds a festival to celebrate his having come successfully out of the sanctuary.

By Moses ben Maimon

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