Acharei Mot: Chapter 19

"And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats"


Rabbi Aba wonders what the "lots" in the title verse were for. Rabbi Shimon begins his explanation by talking about why Shimon was the brother chosen by Joseph to be taken away and bound. Shimon was from the aspect of harsh judgment, and he had allied himself with Levi who was also from the side of judgment. We learn of two spirits who pursue judgment, and who spy on the land every day. We are reminded how Yisrael is beloved of God above all other nations, and that God gave them one day a year to purify themselves so that they will rule over all the prosecutors and spirits. Rabbi Shimon says that one of the goats in the title verse was for Hashem and one for Azazel. If both goats had been for Azazel the world would not have been able to bear it. The goat cannot slander the children of Yisrael on Yom Kippur because it finds them doing good deeds, and in fact it becomes their defender. As a result of the sacrifice of the goat, judgment no longer rules over Yisrael.