In the service of Yom Kippur, there are a series of lists of sins which are accounted for. Vayikra 16:16 says that the Kohen, when he sacrificed the he-goat, brought about atonement on behalf of the people for "וְכִפֶּר עַל הַקֹּדֶשׁ מִטֻּמְאֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמִפִּשְׁעֵיהֶם לְכָל חַטֹּאתָם", " from the defilements of the children of Israel and from their rebellions and all their unintentional sins." (text from http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/9917).

When the Kohen does a confession on the other goat which he will send into the wilderness, he confesses upon it (16:21): "וְהִתְוַדָּה עָלָיו אֶת כָּל עֲו‍ֹנֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶת כָּל פִּשְׁעֵיהֶם לְכָל חַטֹּאתָם ", "confess upon it all the willful transgressions of the children of Israel, all their rebellions, and all their unintentional sins". This confession adds a category, "avonot" which were not included in the list of sins atoned for by the sacrifice.

The next verse, when summarizing, says about the confessed-upon-goat, "וְנָשָׂא הַשָּׂעִיר עָלָיו אֶת כָּל עֲו‍ֹנֹתָם", "The he goat shall thus carry upon itself all their sins" listing ONLY the avonot.

As if this isn't confusing enough for me, in the Musaf service, we recite the text of the confession which the Kohen said (text from Mishna Yoma, 6:2) " והתוודה. וכך היה אומר, אנא ה'--עוו פשעו וחטאו לפניך עמך, בית ישראל; אנא ה'--כפר נא לעוונות ולפשעים ולחטאים, שעוו ושפשעו ושחטאו לפניך עמך, בית ישראל:"

This confession lists all 3 categories but then quotes a verse (16:30) "כִּי בַיּוֹם הַזֶּה יְכַפֵּר עֲלֵיכֶם לְטַהֵר אֶתְכֶם מִכֹּל חַטֹּאתֵיכֶם", "you shall be cleansed from all your sins" with only 1 category being listed, "chet."

I know that the gemara discusses the order of the wording of the sins, but there seems to be a discrepancy between the language/categories listed as sins confessed, covered by sacrifice, carried by the goat and ultimately atoned for in the various texts. Is there a resource to untangle the level of sins and explain what is included in each action?

  • 2
    I wouldn't say it's obvious that וּמִפִּשְׁעֵיהֶם לְכָל חַטֹּאתָם means "peshaim and all chata'ot". It could be one category, like "peshaim of all the chataot" or something like that. (words deliberately left untranslated)
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 14:04
  • @DoubleAA I see that (the "l'chol" is interesting). I took the translation straight from that Judaica Press version. The Stone has "among all their sins".
    – rosends
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 14:48

2 Answers 2


It sounds like what you are looking for is all found in the ten chapters of Mishnah Torah, Hilchot Teshuvah. It seems to cover everything you are inquiring about in the last paragraph of your question. In particular, the first three chapters deal with the different elements of Yom Kippur and the different categories of sin.

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    That's a big work. Where specifically does it discuss the OP's issues?
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 19:10

Probably a more useful and more specific source is the first Perek of Maseches Shevuos which deals with a massive argument amongst the Tannaim as to which karbanos atone for which sins exactly.

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