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Yoma 62: When Identical Goats Are Not Identical

A focus on the goats of the Yom Kippur avodah. They have to be alike exactly – but how identical can they be? Which leads to the lottery to select each for its respective role. But what if one of these two goats dies? Before the lottery? After the lottery? Did a goat ever actually die under these circumstances (on Yom Kippur), or is the Gemara simply exploring the possibilities? Plus, the identity of this goat as the classic and first “scapegoat,” and the Christian application of the concept to vicarious atonement. Also, the rationale for two goats, no fewer and no more, and identical, or close to it, but not necessarily (which is confusing and circular, yes).

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Anne and Yardaena

Anne Gordon is the deputy editor of Ops & Blogs at The Times of Israel. She is a veteran educator, having taught in high school and post-high school institutions in Israel and America for several decades. Yardaena Osband is a pediatrician and teaches in her community and online. They both hail from Boston, proud alumna of Maimonides School, where they first learned Gemara. Talking Talmud is their conversation (via podcast) on the daf yomi. They say: "Learning the daf? We have something for you to think about. Not learning the daf? We have something for you to think about! (Along with a taste of the daf...) Join the conversation with us!"
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