Yoma, Chapter Four, Mishnah One



After a brief digression, the mishnah returns to discuss the main subject at hand—the Yom Kippur procedure.  We left off in mishnah nine with the high priest standing next to the urn in which were placed the two lots for the two goats.


Mishnah One

1)      He shook the urn and brought up the two lots.

a)      On one was inscribed: “For the Name”, and on the other: “For Azazel.”

2)      The deputy high priest was at his right hand, the head of the [ministering] family at his left.

3)      If the lot “For the Name” came up in his right hand, the deputy high priest would say to him: “Sir, high priest, raise your right hand!”

a)      And if the lot “For the Name” came up in his left hand, the head of the family would say: “Sir high priest, raise your left hand!”

4)      Then he placed them on the two goats and said: “A sin-offering for the Lord!”

a)      Rabbi Ishmael said: he did not need to say, “a sin-offering”, but just “for the Lord.”

5)      And they answered after him: “Blessed be the name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever!”



Section one:  The high priest would then shake the urn to mix up the two lots.  The reason to mix them up was that it was considered good luck for the lot on which was written God’s name to come up in his right hand.  On one of the lots was inscribed God’s name, but the mishnah chooses again to use “the Name” instead of God’s four letter name.  This goat would be sacrificed. The other lot had written on it “For Azazel”—this goat would be sent to the wilderness.

Section two:  This was already described above in 3:9.

Section three:   Whoever was on the hand of the high priest which had brought up the lot “For the Name” would tell the High Priest to raise that hand so that the people would know which goat was going where.

Section four: Then he would place the lots on the two goats. He would place he lot which came up in his right hand on the goat on the right and the one in his left hand on the goat on the left. When placing the lot upon which was inscribed “For the Name” he would call out “A sin-offering to the Lord”, or according to Rabbi Ishmael just “For the Lord.”   Upon hearing God’s holy name the priests and Israelites observing the ceremony would cry out “Blessed be the name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever”—the same response we saw above in 3:8.