“Put yourself in Aaron’s shoes” by Sarah Polster

“Put yourself in Aaron’s shoes. Still blaming God for the death of your sons, you are to bathe, dress, and enter God’s dwelling place, alone. You are to perform a ritual in which you get so much blood on your hands that it drips from your fingers, and then splash the curtains and the altar and the Ark with it. You are to burn so much incense that you can barely see for the sweet-smelling smoke. It probably makes you cough; it probably makes your eyes water and your throat burn.

Standing amid the blood and dung and carcasses of the bull and the goat you’ve slaughtered, you are to confess your sins while resting your hands on the head of a live goat. You are to send this goat—a witness to the entire ritual—running into the wilderness with all your sins heaped on his head. And then you are to emerge from the shrine, strip off your bloody clothes, bathe again, put on full priestly regalia, and rejoin your people.”

–Sarah Polster, “Aaron’s God—And Ours: A Yom Kippur Reflection” in Tikkun v15, no5, p49-50, 54 S/O 2000.

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Filed under Leviticus, Quotable Quotes, Sin, Worship, Yom Kippur

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