My teacher and friend Rabbi Dan Shevitz emailed me with a drash on my drash and I liked it so much that it seemed worth sharing, especially as we’re now only hours away from Yom K. So in the name of the RaDiSH I offer you this:
“The YK ritual involves two kinds of purgation: catharsis (the God goat/Isaac) and separation (the Azazel goat/Ishmael). These come from two basic human reactions to dirt: clean it, and throw it out. Â The Akeidah teaches us, among many other things, Â reversal: the value of surprise in serving God.Â We thought that purification required death: now we are taught that it requires life. The exile of Ishmael and the goat for Azazel teach us that this path ultimately doesn’t work.Â Ishmael always comes back.Â There is no such place as “out”ï¿½ and what was once “wilderness”ï¿½ soon will be your back yard.Â All you’ve got in an angry goat.”
And there you have it, people. G’mar tov.
But how does this fit in to the later versions of the â€˜Azazeil ritual, when, since there was no longer any sufficiently close truly Wild space left (ancient suburban sprawl?) they had to resort to throwing the goat off the cliff, to make sure (quite gorily) that it wouldn’t come back?
-Steg (dos iz nit der Å¡teg)
Well, I guess we assume that the later accomodations didn’t reflect the ideal as described in the Torah. And anyway, in what sense does the goat not return? Physical, right? I think about Rambam’s assertion that the only way to make perfect tshuvah is to return to the exact same situation as the original misdeed and to choose a different path. How, then, does one know that one will return to a situation just like the first one? Because, if you haven’t really fully resolved the issue, you will find a way to return to that situation, again and again, until you have. So too wtih the goat–kill him off a thousand different ways, and he’ll still somehow show up again.
BTW, what language is in your sig? And what does it mean? (I have a guess, but guesses aren’t always the best way to translate. 😉