Yom Kippur: Chickens sacrificed for sins in Mea Shearim!

Mea Shearim - Jerusalem

Streets of Mea Shearim

Yom Kippur is upon us. It is considered the holiest day of the year on the Hebrew calendar. Leviticus 23:28 explains that this is the day Israel's sins were corporately atoned for as the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies and sprinkle the sacrificial blood upon the ark of the covenant to cover the sins of the people.

The Jewish people consider this day as a time to fast and confess their sins before God. However, those that reject Yeshua as the Messiah have a serious problem. As stated above, the Bible commands that in order for there to be atonement for sin, there has to be blood sacrifice and it has to be administered in the Holy of Holies. It is quite apparent that blood sacrifice is the only remedy for sin

Mea Shearim is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Jerusalem and it is probably the most orthodox area in the city. It gets very interesting, to say the least, in Mea Sherim around this time of year. The people so desperately realize the need for a sacrificial substitution to cover their sins, they will actually kill a chicken and wave it above their head in an attempt to atone for transgressions! See photo.

Chickens waiting to be sacrificed.
Chickens waiting to be sacrificed.

Brethren, my heart's desire and my supplication to God is for them, that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. (Romans 10:1-3 NASB)

Our ministry, being led by the Holy Spirit, entered Mea Shearim with a very heavy heart. What we saw was terrifying and heart breaking as we witnessed the spectacle of men sacrificing chickens and waving them over the heads of their wives and children on the corner of every street. This experience seemed demonically controlled and very far from anything the Lord requires of His people. It has no roots in the Torah whatsoever. See photo.

Children gathered around

As believers were praying, we walked up to a man named Rabbi Vinberg and began to read some of the curses for sinning against the Lord in Leviticus 26. "Does this chicken cover these sins?" we asked. "We must pray three times a day, fast on Yom Kippur, and sacrifice a chicken," the rabbi responded. We then asked, "Where does it say that in the Jewish Bible?" Rabbi Vinberg responded in the same fashion we hear all too often, "It does not say this in the Bible but this is what all the Rabbis teach." 

We continued to question the Rabbi as many were listening at this point, "Is there blood when we sacrifice a chicken?" The Rabbi said yes. Then we asked him if he thought God requires blood to be shed for atonement. Rabbi Vinberg said, "No, that was only in the sanctuary thousands of years ago and we no longer have a sanctuary." 

We continued, "So, why do we need the chicken if prayer and fasting replace blood? Either it replaces the sacrifices or not because God does not contradict Himself. What do you do with the chicken after you sacrifice it?" "We do a mitzvah (good deed) and give it to the poor," said Vinberg. We asked him why he gives a chicken full of sin to the poor.

By the expression on the rabbi's face, it seemed he suddenly felt foolish for the whole experience. His wife and kids also seemed to want to question what they were doing. Praise God! The Holy Spirit was there as the Light of Yeshua was shining in the darkness! We ask that you would please pray specifically for Rabbi Vinberg and his family.

We began to declare to the people around him, "God loves you so much! His plan is not a chicken but the perfect sacrifice of His only Son, the Messiah of Israel. He came and died once for all and by His blood we are forgiven!"

Baruch, who was standing there with his family and another rabbi, listened intently. Praise Yeshua! We spoke with him and exchanged phone numbers. Also, the other rabbi stopped sacrificing his chicken and left. Pray fervently for them and the many ohers that heard the good news of Salvation.

There are multiple Scriptures in the Bible that talk about the Day of the Lord. This will be a time when the Lord will pour out His wrath on the earth and judge all those that are not sealed by the blood of the Lamb.

Behold, the  day of the  LORD is  coming,  Cruel, with  fury and burning  anger, to  make the  land a  desolation; and He will exterminate its  sinners from it. (Isaiah 13:9 NASB)

Yom Kippur is certainly the day that represents this great and terrible time as the last trumpet blows signaling the return of the King.

Blow  a  trumpet in  Zion, Consecrate a  fast,  proclaim a solemn  assembly, gather  the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and the nursing infants. Let the bridegroom come out of his room and the bride out of her bridal chamber. (Joel 2:15-16 NASB)

May those of us who take refuge in the Messiah be very thankful during this time and it would be very appropriate to pray for the people of Israel that have yet to receive the good news of Yeshua. We pray they would realize He is the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) that has already paid the price for sin and will appear a second time to bring salvation to all those who are waiting for Him! (Hebrews 9:28)

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