Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Hakafa Bet or the Second Circuit Court of Appeals

another long and boring post by The Bray of Fundie

DB: This is not a post. Its just Bray's (mediocre) translation of a Ramban which discusses Azazel and relates to an argument Bray and I having on one of the threads. I don't know why he thinks anyone cares, or why he chose to inflict this tedium on the readership.
Click here to read Bray's (mediocre) translation of the Ramban. Otherwise just scroll down.

As I may have done a great disservice to the Ramban in yesterdays Ok, ad kan Azazel-palooza. thread, not merely by my inelegant translation but by breaking it up into many passages. It is too choppy to be understood. I now present it here unbroken and hopefully easier to read and follow. Color coding explained at the end:

"Whereas Rabbi Abraham (Ibn Ezra) is a discreet spirit who conceals matters, I am no peddler either to reveal his secret inasmuch as our (Talmudic era) sages have done so in many places.

In Bereshis Rabbah it says 'and the Goat will carry (upon itself)'-this is (refers to) Esav as it says 'behold my brother Esav is a hairy (i.e. goat-like) man'. 'all of their sins (avonoTAHM)' this is (refers to) the sins of the wholesome one (i.e. Yaakov) as it says 'and Yaakov was a Tahm=wholesome man'.

And this (the mechanism whereby the Azazel goat bears the sins of Yaakov away) is explicated in Pirkei D'Rebee Eliezer HaGadol : 'For this reason Samael (i.e. the Angel of desolation and chaos AKA Satan=the Prosecuting Attorney in the Court-on-High) was given a bribe on Yom Kippur so as not to negate the offering (of the Jewish People) as it says 'One lot for haShem and one lot for Azazel', the lot of the Holy blessed One for a burnt offering (Olah) and the lot of Ahzahzel as a sin offering goat and all of the sins of Israel are loaded upon it. As it says 'and the Goat will carry (upon itself)'.

"Samael (i.e. the Angel of desolation and chaos AKA Satan=the Prosecuting Attorney in the Court-on-High)" sees that no sin is found among them (the Jews) on Yom Kippur and says before the Holy Blessed One: 'Master of the Worlds you have one nation on earth that is akin to the ministering Angels in heaven. Both are barefoot. Both neither eat nor drink. Both are without knees (the Angels literally and the Jews by standing for all or most of the service). Both live together with their fellows in peace on Yom Kippur(the Jews had forgiven one another before YK began). Both are completely innocent of sin on YK.' And the Holy Blessed One hears the testimony of Israels prosecutor and is mekhaper on (atones for) the Altar and on the Temple and on the Kohanim and on all the congregated Nation as it says: 'and He will forgive the Holy etc.' end quote from this Agadah.

And behold it (the Agadah the PRE) informed us of it's name and its mechanism. (Unclear if he is referring to the Azazel Goat or to Samael). And this is the secret of the matter:

There were idolaters , those who served Elohim Akherim=Angels, who offered them sacrifices that were a savory aroma. As it says: 'and you have placed my oil and my incense and put it before them. My bread, as well, I have given you fine flour and oil and honey that I fed you and put it before them for a savory aroma and it will be (for them) saith haShem Elokim.'. And you must reflect in the scripture the Miqra (way that its written) and the tradition(way that its read). (i.e. it is ambiguous as to who is giving what to whom.)

Now behold the Torah completely forbade accepting their (the angels) power /elohus or rendering any service to them (i.e. idolatry) But The Holy Blessed One commanded that we send a goat on Yom Kippur to the wilderness, to the prince=Angel who has dominion over the places of desolation and destruction. And he (the goat) is a fitting (offering to) him for he (Samael) is his master and from an emanation of his potential/power comes chaos, destruction and desolation. for it is he who is the cause for the stars of swords, bloodshed, wars, quarrels, wounds, blows, alienation and destruction. And in general (this relates) to the constellation of redness=Mars. His (Samael Lord of Chaos') portion among the nations is Esav, heir of the sword and warmongering and among the animals it is the goats (seh-eerim and eezim). Demons fall within his portion/dominion as well. Called Mazeekin=destructive forces by our sages and Seh-eerim scripturally for/and so is he and his nation called; Say-ear

The intent of the 'sent goat' (i.e. the one L'Azazel) is not,khalila=heaven forfend, that we are offering him (Samael) a sacrifice rather it is to fulfill the will of our Creator who commanded us to do this (ritual). An allegory to explain (the difference) follows:

One of the King's subjects made a royal banquet in the Kings honor. Then the King commanded the banquet host 'Give a portion to my subject Mr. X.' In so doing the banquet host is not giving anything of his own to Mr. X and is certainly not trying to do Mr. X honor by serving him a portion. (In actuality) The host has given everything to the King and it is the King has sent a portion to his subject Mr. X with the banquet host serving as the Kings agent to do so. The King, loving the banquet host, intended to ingratiate the host to ALL the guests by having them ALL enjoy the banquet so that they, in turn, would praise the banquet host and not vilify/denigrate him.

and this (avoiding actual idolatry) is the reason for the lots. If the Kohen were to consecrate them (the two goats) verbally (by his own selection designating) one for HaShem and one for Azazel, then it would be as if he were serving Azazel and donating an offering to his (Azazel's )name. Instead he (the Kohen) set (standing) the two goats before HaShem at the opening of the Tabernacle as BOTH (goats) are gifts to HaShem and He, in turn gave to His servant (Samael)the portion which comes to him from HaShem.

While it is the Kohen casting the lots, it is HaShem who apportions them (i.e. determines the outcome of the lottery). This is akin to what it says: 'The lot is cast in the bosom but it's law/determination is from HaShem'. Even after the lottery the Kohen stood the goats up (again) before haShem to emphasize that BOTH goats are His and that are intent in sending one away to the wilderness is none other than to fulfill His will (i.e. to honor and serve HaShem)."

Blue= Ramban
Red= Bereshis Rabbah
Green= Pirkei D'Rebee Eliezer
Parenthesis= my own insertions to explain unfamiliar terms or to ease readability.