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I've long been confused by the two goats on Yom Kippur. The kohein gadol confesses his, and his house's, and the people's sins on the bull that is offered; in addition, there is a goat that is offered (without additional confession) and one that he confesses the people's sins on and then it's sent into the wilderness. In all other cases that I'm aware of, when we seek atonement we do it through an animal that is carefully slaughtered, not one that's sent out to an uncertain (but almost certainly messier) fate. And the torah could have had us confess over the goat that's offered (or include the people in addition to the confession over the bull), but it didn't.

Is there a deeper meaning to the Azazel goat? It seems to introduce an element of uncertainty about our atonement -- you send this randomly-chosen goat out and who knows what happens? -- except that the mishna in Yoma describes binding it with a red cord (4:2) and later watching for (half of) that cord to turn white, so they do get an answer. Given that there are other atonement offerings too on Yom Kippur, how should we understand the Azazel goat? I am left wondering whether, like at the Pesach seder, we are instructed to do this in an unusual way in order to prompt questions and study. But all of this is speculation.

I've long been confused by the two goats on Yom Kippur. The kohein gadol confesses his, his house's, and the people's sins on the bull that is offered; in addition, there is a goat that is offered (without additional confession) and one that he confesses on and then it's sent into the wilderness. In all other cases that I'm aware of, when we seek atonement we do it through an animal that is carefully slaughtered, not one that's sent out to an uncertain (but almost certainly messier) fate. And the torah could have had us confess over the goat that's offered in addition to the bull, but it didn't.

Is there a deeper meaning to the Azazel goat? It seems to introduce an element of uncertainty about our atonement -- you send this randomly-chosen goat out and who knows what happens? -- except that the mishna in Yoma describes binding it with a red cord (4:2) and later watching for (half of) that cord to turn white, so they do get an answer. Given that there are other atonement offerings too on Yom Kippur, how should we understand the Azazel goat? I am left wondering whether, like at the Pesach seder, we are instructed to do this in an unusual way in order to prompt questions and study. But all of this is speculation.

I've long been confused by the two goats on Yom Kippur. The kohein gadol confesses his and his house's sins on the bull that is offered; in addition, there is a goat that is offered (without additional confession) and one that he confesses the people's sins on and then it's sent into the wilderness. In all other cases that I'm aware of, when we seek atonement we do it through an animal that is carefully slaughtered, not one that's sent out to an uncertain (but almost certainly messier) fate. And the torah could have had us confess over the goat that's offered (or include the people in the confession over the bull), but it didn't.

Is there a deeper meaning to the Azazel goat? It seems to introduce an element of uncertainty about our atonement -- you send this randomly-chosen goat out and who knows what happens? -- except that the mishna in Yoma describes binding it with a red cord (4:2) and later watching for (half of) that cord to turn white, so they do get an answer. Given that there are other atonement offerings too on Yom Kippur, how should we understand the Azazel goat? I am left wondering whether, like at the Pesach seder, we are instructed to do this in an unusual way in order to prompt questions and study. But all of this is speculation.

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What is the purpose of the goat for Azazel, as opposed to conventional offerings?

I've long been confused by the two goats on Yom Kippur. The kohein gadol confesses his, his house's, and the people's sins on the bull that is offered; in addition, there is a goat that is offered (without additional confession) and one that he confesses on and then it's sent into the wilderness. In all other cases that I'm aware of, when we seek atonement we do it through an animal that is carefully slaughtered, not one that's sent out to an uncertain (but almost certainly messier) fate. And the torah could have had us confess over the goat that's offered in addition to the bull, but it didn't.

Is there a deeper meaning to the Azazel goat? It seems to introduce an element of uncertainty about our atonement -- you send this randomly-chosen goat out and who knows what happens? -- except that the mishna in Yoma describes binding it with a red cord (4:2) and later watching for (half of) that cord to turn white, so they do get an answer. Given that there are other atonement offerings too on Yom Kippur, how should we understand the Azazel goat? I am left wondering whether, like at the Pesach seder, we are instructed to do this in an unusual way in order to prompt questions and study. But all of this is speculation.