Ahavas Sholom – an Historic Landmark and Sacred Space

Newark's Last Remaining Synagogue born of the Great European Migration at the turn of the 20th Century

145 Broadway, Newark, NJ 07104
Phone: 973-485-2609 | Email: cahavassholom@optimum.net


Simon Says, April 23, 2021

The week’s Parashah, Acharei Mot-Kedoshim, starts out with, “You must remember this,” because the opening verses are the reading for Yom Kippur Shacharit.  Aaron chooses two goats, one to be sacrificed and the other to be sent to the wilderness.  The Talmud describes an episode where the king and queen (I can’t figure out who the king and queen were) were debating whether goat meat or lamb meat tastes better.

They summoned the High Priest, Yissachar of Kfar Barkai (I can’t figure out when Yissachar lived), because the High Priest sacrificed animals daily and he got to eat them.  He would know the answer to this question.

Yissachar answered, the daily offering is a lamb.  If goat meat tastes better than lamb, it should be the daily sacfifice. 

The Talmudic sages said that Yissachar was ignoramus.  They cited verses from Leviticus that said neither lamb or goat is preferable.  (By the way, the king cut off Yissachar’s hands.)

Although the story appears to simply show the lack of respect the participants had for the temple service, in his commentary to the Talmud, Rabbi Yehudah Bachrach (he lived in in the latter 18th century and the early 19th century in present-day Lithuanian) suggests that a serious question was involved.  A person who brings a sin-offering has a choice of either bringing a sheep or a goat.  If a sheep is brought, no one will know that it is a sin-offering, as it could also be a voluntary sacrifice; a goat clearly indicates that the sacrifice is being brought because of a sin.  Thus, the question that Yissakhar of Kfar Barkai did not take seriously was whether as part of the repentance process it would be better to publicize that a sin had taken place or to hide it.

And that is the question:  do we in our everyday lives conceal a crime or ethical wrong?  Or do we reveal it, no matter the cost to us?