Bribing your way to God

Kli Yakar Leviticus: Acharei Mot

Bribing your way to God

The Kli Yakar claims that a way to get to God is to bribe the evil angel ‘Samael,’ an angel considered the guardian angel of the evil Esau and his descendents.

Our forefather Jacob masqueraded as his brother Esau in order to snatch the blessings from their blind father Isaac. The Kli Yakar (Leviticus 16:8) quotes a tradition that the ruse and the blessings occurred on the day of the Passover Seder. There were two animals that were instrumental for the ploy. Two goats.

The Kli Yakar states that these goats are mirrored in perhaps one of the most sacred sacrifices of the year. The goats of Yom Kippur. On Yom Kippur, two goats were chosen by the High Priest for wildly different endings. One was walked to the desert and pushed down a cliff to its death in one of the most unusual sacrifices described in the Torah. The other goat was sacrificed in the more conventional fashion in theTemple.

The Kli Yakar explains that both the desert goat and one of Jacob’s was meant as a bribe to the materialistic Samael. By appeasing this evil spirit, one is then free to sacrifice the second Passover animal to God. Jacob (and us, his descendents) are then able to receive the plethora of blessings that have a special force and power of reception on the day of the Seder, as well as the unique forgiveness that we are able to achieve solely on Yom Kippur.

May we know how to bribe whatever evil spirits we need to, in order to receive both the forgiveness of Yom Kippur and the great blessings of Passover.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Kasher Ve’sameach,



To my brother-in-law, Ilan Tocker, and his family, on their arrival to Israel for Passover. As thanks for his miraculous recovery we are having a Kiddush this Shabbat at our home. All are invited.

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