Yoma 71

After a full day of costume changes, ritual immersions, lotteries, sacrifices, blood sprinklings, confessions, mysterious moments in the Holy of Holies, and much more, the high priest’s day comes to an end. The mishnah on yesterday’s daf tells us that the high priest would mark the end of Yom Kippur with a feast for his […]

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Yoma 70

The Jewish month of Tevet always begins during Hanukkah. But when the first of that month also happens to be Shabbat, it’s a busy day in synagogue.  As Rabbi Titzhak Nappaha says on today’s daf: When the new moon of Tevet occurs on Shabbat, we take out three Torahs: From one, we read the topic of the […]

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Yoma 69

One of the oldest Jewish jokes in the book involves Mr. Cohen and Mr. Goldberg, regular minyan goers (meaning they pray together daily at the synagogue). One morning, as Mr. Cohen is hemming and hawing about going to synagogue, his wife asks: “Why do you even bother going? You don’t even believe in God!” His answer: “Goldberg talks to […]

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Yoma 66

The mishnah on today’s daf points out a challenge with gathering Jews from all over the world on Yom Kippur, with their different expectations and attitudes toward ritual life. Culture clash becomes somewhat inevitable — like this: And they made a ramp for the goat due to the Babylonian Jews who were in Jerusalem, who would pluck […]

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Yoma 65

Dear Daf Yomi,  I live too far from Jerusalem to deliver my annual contribution to the Temple myself, so my neighbors and I pooled our shekels together and sent them via messenger. But somewhere along the way, our package was lost.  I’m happy to do my part to support the ritual practices of the Temple, […]

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Yoma 64

Today we are still troubleshooting the dramatic ritual of the two male goats whose fate is determined by casting lots: One is designated to be sacrificed on the altar, and the other to be sent off into the wilderness, symbolically carrying the nation’s sins. The mishnah on 62a wonders what happens if one of the goats dies […]

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Yoma 63

The Talmud takes great care not only to record teachings accurately, but to attribute them correctly. This doesn’t mean mistakes are not made. Often, the Talmud will attribute a teaching to one rabbi, only to remark that others attribute it to another rabbi. Or, as is the case today, it will know the source but […]

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Yoma 62

Echoes, mantras, song choruses — repetition is powerful. The rabbis were particularly attuned to repetition in the sacred language of the Bible, which they understood to be bursting with meaning. Since the sages thought of divine language as perfect, they did not view repetition as redundancy, but as an important clue to deeper significance. Any extra […]

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