The High Priest's Sin Offering

The bullock sacrifice that the High Priest brings as his own personal atonement (and for his family as well) must be of his own personal possession - "... the sin offering which is for himself."

Thus the Mishna (Yoma 3:8) teaches: After he dons his white uniform ("he shall put on... "), the High Priest begins the service of the day with his own personal offering. The bullock has already been placed in position, and it is now standing in the northern section of the court, between the sanctuary and the altar.

The Talmud explains that the bullock's pre-positioning in the vicinity of the sanctuary was done in consideration of the High Priest, who will be officiating alone throughtout the entire day's service. There was concern that, fasting and exerting himself with strenuous service and prayer, he may become weakened; he will soon need to bring a heavy mizrak (the sacrificial vessel) filled with the blood of the bullock into the Holy of Holies (where drops will be dashed within, on the inner side of the curtain). Thus the bullock was placed nearer to the sanctuary in order to shorten the High Priest's path, even if only slightly. To whatever extent possible, care was taken to aid him in the execution of his sacred tasks.



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