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Torah QueeriesWeekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible$
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Gregg Drinkwater, Joshua Lesser, and David Shneer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814720127

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814720127.001.0001

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What Is Atonement?

What Is Atonement?

Yom Kippur

(p.290) Fifty-Six What Is Atonement?
Torah Queeries

David Greenstein

NYU Press

This chapter critiques the traditional reading of Yom Kippur during the annual Day of Atonement—a time of Divine forgiveness, purification, and reconciliation. This way of reading does not include passages in Torah that might have been deemed relevant to the themes of Yom Kippur such as the Ten Commandments, or the declaration of God's mercy and forgiveness that the rabbinic tradition teaches. Instead, the traditional reading focuses on texts that describe the High Priest's temple ritual for Yom Kippur, and on texts that forbids sexual relations, which was used by Christians and Jews as a scriptural warrant to condemn homosexuality. Hence, a new way of reading must be establishing to celebrate forgiveness, reconciliation and purification—all of which are the aim of the Day of Atonement.

Keywords:   Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement, Ten Commandments, homosexuality, High Priest

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