Forgiven Jerusalemites

Kli Yakar Numbers: Pinhas


Forgiven Jerusalemites 

In the Jewish prayer book, there is a passage that is intended to be recited twice a day, which for some reason has fallen into widespread disuse.


The Kli Yakar explains that this passage has a deep lesson regarding the topic of receiving forgiveness and atonement from God, apparently something we can benefit from at least twice a day. 

The passage is the command of the daily sacrificial order in the Tabernacle/Temple (Numbers 28:1-8). There are two daily sacrifices of a male one-year old lamb. One is brought in the morning at the crack of dawn; the second in the evening before dark. What the Kli Yakar finds unusual is that the morning sacrifice is mentioned once in the passage, but the evening sacrifice is mentioned twice.


The Kli Yakar states that the night is a time of sins of the mind and therefore a sacrifice of atonement must be brought in the morning. However, the day is the time of sins of the mind and the body and therefore a double atonement is required, hence the doubling of the request for the evening sacrifice.  

What is perhaps most interesting is the Kli Yakar’s quotation of Tanchuma 13 that “one does not sleep in Jerusalem with a sin in his hand.” Somehow, just sleeping in Jerusalem, in the proximity of the Temple where the sacrifices are brought, atones, protects and perhaps even absolves its residents of sin. Not that Jerusalem residents should feel free to go on a sin shopping spree, but it’s nice to know you have a leg up in the atonement department.


The Talmud states that prayer is the modern equivalent of the sacrifices and there is no closer replacement than the actual passage of the sacrifices. 

May we utilize our prayers and achieve regular, daily atonement, wherever we live.


Shabbat Shalom, 




To my in-laws, Yossi and Gita Tocker, on the first anniversary of their aliyah.

To the newlyweds: Rachel & Yonatan Shai Freedman and Michal & Shlomi Nir.

It is said that newlyweds get a new slate. I’m sure they will write a beautiful accounting of themselves.

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