Yoma 37 - 43
- Components of the Kohen Gadol’s confession and the response of others
- The kalpie ballot box, where it stood and what it was made of
- Who accompanied the Kohen Gadol and how a Torah scholar is to be accompanied
- The ballots for selection of the sacrificial goats
- The improvements made by Ben Gamla, Ben Katin, King Munvaz and Queen Helenie
- The miracle of Niknor’s gates
- The refusal of some experts to teach others, their removal and their return
- Relating to the memory of the righteous and the wicked
- The process of selecting each of the two goats for its respective mission
- The miracles that ceased with the passing of Shimon Hatzaddik
- The long-range impact of the sounds and smells from the Beit Hamikdash
- Which features of the Yom Kippur service are not valid if done out of order
- The drawing of the ballots and placement on the goats
- The determination of which bird for which sacrifice of the woman who gave birth
- The sacrifice of one who involuntarily entered the Sanctuary in a state of ritual impurity and underwent a change in his economic status
- Marking the goats and making a second confession on the Kohen Gadol’s bullock
- The red woolen tongue and its function on Yom Kippur and in burning the Red Heifer
- If a non-kohen may do the slaughtering of the Yom Kippur bullock and of any of the functions in preparing the Red Heifer for its purification mission
- The slaughtering of the bullock and the process for preparing the coals and incense for the special Yom Kippur incense offering
Never Too Late to Slip
- Yoma 38b
Once a man has lived most of his lifetime without sinning, states Rabbi Yochanan, he is unlikely to sin.
This statement of Rabbi Yochanan seems to run counter to what the gemara says in Mesechta Berachot (29a). There the mishna in Mesechta Avot (2:5) is quoted as warning “Don’t be sure about yourself until the day of your death,” and the example provided by the gemara is that of Yochanan who served as kohen gadol for 80 years and then became a tzaduki (a member of the Sadducee sect which denied the validity of the Oral Law).
Rabbi Yochanan himself has provided the resolution in a rule which he put forth (Mesechta Eiruvin 27a) that we can never assume that a general statement made in a mishnahas no exceptions. If Rabbi Yochanan applied this rule to mishnaic generalities it is reasonable to apply it as well to his sweeping generality regarding sinners.
The commentary Tiferet Yisrael on Mesechta Avot who suggested this approach writes that Yochanan was 80 years old when he turned sour. This seems to clash with the gemara (Yoma 9a) that states that he actually served 80 years as kohen gadol, which rules out that his deviation came at age 80.
Whatever the case, Yochanan is the classic example of the need for a Jew to be on guard all his life to maintain his spiritual standard.
What the Sages Say
“When I call out the Name of G-d, said Moshe to the Jewish People, you must give praise to His greatness.”
- The Sage Rebbie in explaining the source for the response of those who heard the Kohen Gadol’s confession (Yoma 37)
“The entire universe is sustained by the merit of one righteous person, as it is written (Mishlei 10:25) ‘And the tzaddik is the foundation of the universe’.”
- Rabbi Yochanan (Yoma 38b)