Scapegoat

 

Definition

  • (In the bible) Male goat that the high priest sacrificed for the sins of the Israelites.
  • A person blamed for mistakes or other faults.

 

 

Meaning

Being a scapegoat means, today, that a single individual carries the blame for something that has happened when in reality the responsibility should fall on a wider group of people or collective, and it may even happen that said individual has not even participated in the punishable act and is innocent.

The origin of this expression is found in a ritual practiced by the ancient Jews to celebrate the Day of Atonement. It consisted in choosing two goats (goats) and by chance designating one of the animals to sacrifice it to Yahweh with all the honors, with his blood he sprinkled the Mercy Seat (the ark of the covenant). Instead of the other goat, called Azazel, the guilt of all sins rested, a ceremony was performed in which the rabbi, purified and dressed in white, put his hands on the head of the animal, thus passing the people’s guilt to this one , then take it to the desert as an emissary and be abandoned there, according to some sources was also stoned. In this way it can be considered that sacrifice eliminates, clears and cleanses sin.

There is much controversy about the term Azazel appeared in the scriptures, Leviticus 16: 8-10, since there is no agreement on whether the same is the name given to the goat offered, if it represents the delivery of it to a fallen angel (or even Satan himself) or simply designated the place where the goat was sent, the desert being associated as a place where evil beings such as demons lived.

Lev 16: 8 Then he will cast lots for the two goats, one for Yahweh, and one for Azazel.

Lev 16: 9 He will present the goat on which the lot fell “for Yahweh” offering it as a sacrifice for sin.

Lev 16:10 The goat on which the lot fell “for Azazel” will place him alive before Yahweh to make atonement for him and throw him into the wilderness, for Azazel.

The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) is celebrated on the tenth day of the month Tishrei, it is a day of great solemnity in which fasting, not working and all the people confess their sins and repent for them, asking for forgiveness before their God .