Dvar Torah Achre Mot 3 2003 – 5763 דבר תורה אחרי מות

In this week’s portion we read a description of the rituals that the Kohen Hagadol had to follow on Yom Kippur. One ceremony calls for selecting two goats. The Kohen then placed two GORALOT (lots) in a box. On one was written the word “LASHEM”, and on one was written the word “LA’AZAZEL”. (Lev. 16:8) He picked the lots and thus determined the fate of each of these goats. The first was to be sacrificed on the MIZBE’ACH, that was for Hashem. The second was to be sent out to the wilderness to be destroyed and atone for our sins.

Our Rabbis of the Talmud tell us that the two goats had to be identical in height, in appearance and in value. (Yoma 62a) What is the reason for them to be so similar? There is an important message in this statement. People are not so careful when they spend their money and their energy on their personal pleasures and their own interests. They do not hesitate to go out to restaurants or to places of entertainment, even when the cost seems high.

When it comes to contributing for a worthy cause they start to calculate how much they can truly afford and how much effort they must expend on behalf of a praiseworthy organization. Then every penny counts and every minute is valuable.

That is why the two goats had to be equal in all respects. To teach us that what we spend for Hashem and for commendable causes should be equal in value and effort to what we spend for other insignificant purposes.

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