Here's a link to Leviticus 16, so we're working from the same place.

Who or what is an "Azazel" and why are staunchly monotheistic Jews offering it a sacrifice?

26 And the person who sent off the he goat to Azazel, shall immerse his garments and immerse his flesh in water. And after this, he may come into the camp.

Is this a remnant of some older ritual?

I should mention that this question was heavily edited, so some of the responses will no longer make much sense.

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    Regarding lack of sacrifices today, see here: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/8862/8775. Regarding pre Sinaic mitzvah observance, see here: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/4078/8775
    – mevaqesh
    Nov 10, 2017 at 6:02
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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya! These are fine questions, but we generally encourage one question per post. You can still ask all the questions, but preferably edit them out of this question, and post them as separate questions.
    – mevaqesh
    Nov 10, 2017 at 6:04
  • Azazel is generally read as being a place, which should ease your mind on that point. Anyway, I recommend you split that question off from the others into its own post, since it seems completely separate. Maybe the Noah vs. new law question should be separate also.
    – msh210
    Nov 10, 2017 at 6:05
  • @msh but ramban and others do indeed associate it with demons...
    – mevaqesh
    Nov 10, 2017 at 6:09
  • Regarding azazel possible duplicate of: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/31273/8775
    – mevaqesh
    Nov 10, 2017 at 6:11

1 Answer 1


I remember reading in the good ol' Dr. J. Hertz Chumash's commentary on that section, where he notes that it is has been interpreted as an evil being's name, but is actually a contraction of "azalzel", a rare technical word meaning "total removal" or "dismissal".

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    I've read similar explanations and they may very well be true, but the Book of Enoch contains this passage: 8. And the whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azazel: to him ascribe all sin.' Enoch is not part of the cannon for anyone, really, but still, that cannot be coincidence. This confusion has been going on for a long time.
    – crowhill
    Nov 12, 2017 at 19:31

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