Drawing the Lots

Flanked by the two men on either side of him, the High Priest thrusts his hands into the lottery box and stirs the two lots within, in order to ascertain that he has no notion of which is inscribed "For the Lord." It was considered an auspicious sign from Heaven if that lot were to drawn by his right hand; thus he mixes the lots about so that he will not recognize them, and thereby raise that lot in his right hand. Tradition does in fact record that for a period of many years, it actually transpired that the High Priest's right hand did arbitrarily come up holding the lot marked "For the Lord." This phenomena ceased a number of years before the Temple's destruction.

Other opinions maintain that he drew the lots very quickly from their box, demonstrating that he acts without forethought or hesitation as to which lot he is raising.

In this manner, the High Priest raised up the two lots from the box, one in his right hand and one in his left. Only once he held them up did he learn which hand held each lot:



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