The Yom Kippur Avodah as a Template for Spiritual Practice 

| Yom Kippur By :  Eliezer B. Diamond Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics Posted On Sep 19, 2023 / 5784 | Monday Webinar The Torah of the New Year | Holidays

Download Sources

With Rabbi Eliezer Diamond

It is generally thought that the Yom Kippur Haftarah taken from Isaiah is supposed to be read as being in tension with the Torah reading from Aharei Mot (Leviticus 16).  While the Torah reading focuses almost exclusively on the rites performed by the High Priest in the Temple on Yom Kippur, Isaiah declaims that the ritual piety without social justice and Shabbat observance is nothing more than worthless hypocrisy. 

While this observation has merit, it can encourage the view that ritual has no ethical or spiritual content. In this session we see that the Avodah, the Temple rites, can indeed serve as a model for a life of spiritual discipline. 


Join JTS faculty for a close reading of several of the biblical texts that we read during the fall holiday season. Discover new insights into these readings and reflect on what meanings they hold for us today.