Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur (Yizkor)
Morning: Leviticus 16.1-34, Numbers 29.7-11. Afternoon: Leviticus 18.1-30
Morning: Isaiah 57.14-58.14. Afternoon: Jonah 1.1-4.11, Micah 7.18-20

Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement, the day on which the Lord works on our forgiveness and on healing and restoring our relationship with Him. These are matters of His heart. It is not cheap at all what G-d is doing and definitely not a matter of taking away our responsibilities nor just spreading love. In Temple times this extremely heavy divine task of Adonai, our Lord, was made visible by the special sacrifices on this day and the unique entrance to the Holy of Holies, in a sense the heart of G-d.

The Holy of Holies is the most holy of all places on earth. It is the closest to heaven as one can get. Literally one, because only the Kohen Gadol, the High Priest, can enter this sanctuary and only one time a year which is on Yom HaKipurim. The time in this sanctuary has always been spent by our High Priests while dressed like the other priests. It shows to all Israel that this holiest place can only allow for one High Priest: our Messiah.

Seven times blood of the sacrificed bull was sprinkled inside the Holy of Holies as well as outside it, at the altar. Seven, the earthly number, not eight. This atonement with blood is an earthly action. Our Messiah, of the number eight, has done His heavenly work of atonement from the foundation of the world. Of the two he-goats one is for Adonai while the other one if for hell, for Azazel as it is called. Like blessing and curse also here is the picture of life and death.

You choose against the G-d of Israel and therefore for death: the goat for hell will be sent away and it will die without being sacrificed. Without sacrifice there is no atonement and forgiveness and no life in the world to come. You want life: the goat of Adonai will be sacrificed for you to live.

Things are not that easily done in life as said above. Reality shows all the predicaments Israel has been in. Our prophets Amos and Ezekiel talk about it in this week’s parasha. We depend on the grace and forgiveness of Adonai completely. Through Amos we receive the promise that Adonai will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen (Amos 9:11). Not only does Adonai do this by rebuilding Israel for 61 years already. But He restores our personal lives as well, if we let Him.

Ezekiel says grim words and paints dark pictures in his prophecies. But later on (20:40) he gives us the promise: For on My holy mountain, on the mountain of the height of Israel, says the Lord Adonai , there the whole house of Israel will serve Me in the Land, all of them. There I will accept them, there I will require your terumah and the resheet of your uplifting together with all your sanctified things. Adonai will restore the Jewish people and our soul mates so thoroughly that all Israel and our soul mates will know the One with whom Adonai began this world: (Be)resheet, Messiah Yeshua. And that we all, as Ezekiel says in verse 20, will honor His Shabbats.

Gmar chatimah tovah,
Lion S. Erwteman, Rosh Kehillat Beth Yeshua
Amsterdam, Holland