A central component of the Yom Kippur Musaf service, Seder Ha-Avodah describes in great detail the biblical Yom Kippur sacrificial ritual enacted by the High Priest in the ancient Temple. These rituals are described in both the biblical book of Leviticus and in later rabbinic texts, including the Mishna.
This liturgical service developed in the rabbinic era as a way for Jewish communities to fulfill the obligations of Yom Kippur sacrifice following the destruction of the Temple. Our Sages ruled that reading about past sacrificial rites could itself function as a stand-in for this mitzvah itself.
Engaging in this annual narration allows for historical continuity and connection between the ancient Yom Kippur and the Yom Kippur of today.
Contemporary Israeli singer-songwriter Ishay Ribo recently composed a compelling setting of this evocative liturgy, shared here in our Waze to the Light resources. Be sure to listen to this powerful piece!