The People in the Books: Hebraica and Judaica Manuscripts from Columbia University Libraries

Congregants > Yom Kippur in the Temple


Seder ʻavodah: Ḳeṭʻa.
Manuscript in Hebrew on parchment.
ca. 14th century.
MS X893 J7492
Rare Book and Manuscript Library

This 14th century manuscript is a fragment of a liturgical poem for the ʻAvodat Cohen Gadol, the recitation of the High Priest’s Temple Service. To this day, there are Jews who recite the High Priest’s Service as an integral part of the Yom Kippur prayers. The service describes the order of Yom Kippur ritual offerings in the Temple in great detail, listing the special clothing the High Priest wore and his lengthy purification process in addition to the sacrifices he offered. His actions were believed to atone for his personal misdeeds as well as for the actions of the Jewish people. Traditionally, the High Priest’s Service ends with a prayer expressing remorse for the destruction of the Temple and the fact that the words of the service must stand in place of the physical Temple service.


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