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Scapegoating – in a good way

גמר חתימה טובה

Scapegoating has a bad rep in our day and age because it usually involves falsely blaming someone else for one’s own shortcomings. Also it is done in hiding or maybe even unconsciously. Today, the Jewish tradition celebrates Yom Kippur. This holiday is based on Leviticus 16 and formalizes that process and places it in the community in the form of a public event. Letting go of guilt together is a good and healthy thing. Here is what happens to the literal and original scapegoat:

When he has finished atoning for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat. Then Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and sending it away into the wilderness by means of someone designated for the task. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a barren region; and the goat shall be set free in the wilderness.