In this week’s Torah portion Acharey Moth discusses the Yom Kippur Service sacrifices, the holiday of Yom Kippur & laws of intimacy/marriage.

The concept of giving a sacrifice is sometimes hard to understand due to the nature of the act. If one would give a few minutes to see the reasoning of each step it may bring some understanding to the concept. When a person brought an animal to the temple it was instead of an act that they had committed e.g., a sin. (One would offer a sacrifice for happy occasions as well e.g., birth of a child) The sacrifice acts as atonement for the individual.

What was the Yom Kippur Service?

The service was performed on the high holiday of Yom Kippur. The tenth day of the seventh month. It is a day of fasting with out any work performed. This is the day on which our sins are atoned. It is the Sabbath of Sabbaths.
The high priest made this atonement wearing his sacred vestments of white linen. It will be performed in the inner sanctuary in the Communion Tent and on the alter. The high priest (Aaron) pressed both his hands on the live goat’s head and confessed on it all the sins of the Jewish people including their rebellious acts and inadvertent misdeeds. The blood of the animals were sprinkled on the alter. The sacrifices involved two goats, one bull and a ram involved in this sacrifices. Today it is customary to take the week before Yom Kippur a chicken. We place our hands on the chicken and say that we would rather the chicken die instead of suffering for the sins that we committed during the year. The chicken is sent to the house of a poor family to eat before their fast.

Who could offer a sacrifice?

A person who would offer a sacrifice to God in his home would be cut off from the Jewish people and it is considered as if s/he committed murder! A person would have to bring the sacrifice to the priest.

What does the Torah say about the blood of an animal?

The person who eats the blood of an animal will be cut off spiritually from the Jewish people. The life force of an animal is its blood. It is the blood of the animal that serves as atonement for ones’ life! The life force of man is blood. The blood of an animal is responsible for man’s animal nature via. hormones. The nature of man is transmitted through his/her nerve impulses. It is the animalistic nature that causes man to sin therefore, the blood is atonement. The laws of seeing blood is also of interest. If one would see the blood of a chicken or that of a wild animal on the ground one must cover it. E.g. throw earth over it.


Are Jewish people permitted to hunt for animals?


An animal when eaten for food has many laws on how they are to be killed. They are not allowed to receive any pain when being slaughtered. In today’s times people receive special training in the laws of how to kill an animal: supervision and kashrath of an animal.