Positive Mitzvah Forty-Nine

The Yom Kippur Service

Requires Beit HaMikdash

VaYikra 16:1-34 And Hashem spoke to Moshe after the death of two sons of Aharon, who brought an [unauthorized] offering before Hashem and they died.  Hashem spoke to Moshe, "Speak to your brother Aharon that he not come at all times into the Holy [Sanctuary] that is inside the Parochet, before the Kapporet that is on the Aron so that he not die, for in a cloud I shall appear on the Kapporet.  With this shall Aharon come into the Holy [Sanctuary]; with a young bullock, for a chataat-offering and a ram, for a olah-offering.  He shall don a sanctified, linen tunic and linen pants shall be on his body.  He shall gird himself with a linen sash and place a linen turban on his head.  These are sacred garments; he shall bathe his body in water and clothe himself in them.  He shall take, from the congregation of Yisrael two he-goats for chataat-offerings and one ram for a olah-offering.  Aharon shall bring the chataat-offering bullock which is his and atone on his own behalf and on behalf of his household.  He shall take the two he-goats and sand them before Hashem, at the entrance of the Ohel Moed.  Aharon shall put lots on the two he-goats; one lot [marked] 'for YKVK' and one lot [marked] 'for Azazel.'  Aharon shall bring the goat upon which the lot [marked] 'for YKVK' came up and do [offer] it as a chataat-offering.  The goat upon which came up the lot [marked] 'for Azazel' shall be placed, alive, before Hashem, to achieve atonement with it to send it to Azazel, in the desert.  Aharon shall bring the chataat-offering bullock which is his and atone on his behalf and on behalf of his household, and he shall slaughter his chataat-offering bullock.  He shall take a full hand-shovel of fiery coals from atop the Mizbeach, which is before Hashem and full handfuls of finely-ground incense and he shall bring [them] inside of the parochet.  He shall put the incense on the fire before Hashem and the cloud of incense will cover the Kapporet that is on the [Luchot] Edut, that he not die.  He shall take some of the bullock's blood and he shall sprinkle with his finger, above the surface of the Kapporet on its eastern part; and before the Kapporet, he shall sprinkle, some blood, with his finger, seven times.  He shall slaughter the he-goat chataat-offering that belongs to the people, and he shall bring its blood inside the Parochet.  He shall do [with] its blood just as he did with the bullock's blood and he shall sprinkle it on the Kapporet and before the Kapporet.  He will atone for the Sanctuary, from the impurities of Bnei Yisrael and from their rebellious sins for all their transgressions.  He shall do likewise for the Ohel Moed, that dwells with them in the midst of their impurity.  No man shall be present in the Ohel Moed when he comes in to atone for the Holy [Sanctuary] until he leaves.  He shall atone on his behalf and on the behalf of his household and on behalf of the entire assembly of Yisrael.  He shall got out to the Mizbeach that is before Hashem and atone on it.  He shall take some of the bullock's blood and some of the he-goat's blood and put it atop the corners of the Mizbeach, all around.  He shall sprinkle on it from the blood that is on his finger seven times and purify it and sanctify it from the impurities of Bnei Yisrael.  when he finishes atoning for the Holy [Sanctuary] and the Ohel Moed and the Mizbeach he shall bring the live he-goat.  Aharon shall lay his two hands on the head of the live he-goat and confess on it all the iniquities of Benei Yisrael and all their rebellious transgressions for all their sins, and put them on the head of the goat and send it away with the man [so] designated, to the desert.  The goat shall carry upon itself all their iniquities to a desolate land, and [the man shall] send the goat into the desert.  Aharon will [then] come into the Ohel Moed and remove the linen garments that he wore when he came into the Holy [Sanctuary] and place them there.  he shall wash his flesh in water in a sacred place and don his garments.  He shall go out and offer his olah-offering and the people's olah-offering and atone on his behalf and on behalf of the people.  The fat of the chataat-offering, eh shall burn on the Mizbeach.  He who sends the goat to Azazel shall wash his garments, and bathe his body in water, and afterwards he shall come into the encampment.  The chataat-offering bullock and the chataat-offering goat whose blood was brought to achieve atonement in the Holy [Sanctuary], he shall have removed beyond the encampment.  They shall burn in fire their skins, their flesh and their waste [that is in their intestines].  He who burns them shall wash his garments and bathe his body in water and afterwards he shall come into the encampment.  It shall be for an everlasting statue for you; in the seventh month, on the tenth of the month, you shall afflict yourselves and not do any work, native-born and the proselyte residing among you.  For on this day He will make atonement for you, to purify you from all your sins, before Hashem, you will be purified.  It is a Shabbat of Shabbaton to you and you must afflict yourselves; it is an everlasting statue.  The Kohen will atone, he who himself will be anointed and who will be initiated, to serve in his fathers stead and dress in the linen garments, the sacred garments. He will atone for the Holy [Sanctuary]; and for the Ohel Moed and for the Mizbeach, he will atone; for the Kohanim and for the entire people of the congregation, he will atone.  This shall be for you as an everlasting statue, to achieve atonement for Bnei Yisrael from all their sins, once a year."  He did as Hashem commanded Moshe. 

We are commanded to perform the Service of all the sacrifices and the confessions ordained by Scripture for Yom Kippur, to atone for all our sins. 

The proof that the whole of this Service, in its totality, constitutes only one Mitzvah is found at the end of Yoma:

"Concerning every ministration of Yom Kippur mentioned in the prescribed order, if one service is done out of order before another one, it is as if it had not been done at all." (Yoma 60a)

On four occasions in the course of the Atonement Service the Kohen Gadol entered the Holy of Holies, which he was forbidden to enter at any other time during the year.  A climax of this service was the utterance of the fully-pronounced Name in connection with the confessions which the Kohen Gadol recited on behalf of himself, the Kohanim, and the whole of Yisrael.

"And when the Kohanim and the people standing in the Temple Court heard the fully-pronounced Name [of Hashem] come forth from the mouth of the Kohen Gadol, they bent their knees, bowed down, fell on their faces and called out, 'Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever!'" (Yoma 66a)

"Seven days before Yom Kippur, the Kohen Gadol was taken away from his house to a chamber in the Temple Court, where he was specially prepared for his ministrations on Yisrael's holiest of days." (Yoma 2a)