Service of the Kohen Gadol: Esau’s Angel
On Yom Kippur God takes the sins of Israel and places them on the angel in charge of Eisav. The angel says to God, “Master of the Universe, what is my strength that you place all these sins on me?” God takes the sins and places them on the angel’s clothes and they turn red, as the verse says in Isaiah “Who is this coming from Edom ?”
Rabbi Yonatan Eibushitz explains that some of our sins can be blamed on exile. The pain of exile causes a weakening in our prayer and Torah study. There are some sins that cannot be explained by the influences of exile; adultery, lightheadedness and wasting time. The angel of Eisav is unwilling to accept responsibility of the sins that don’t seem to be caused by being in his exile. When the Midrash explains that God places the sins on his clothes and they turn red, it means that Eisav receives Divine influence and corrupts it. That is the cause of all our wasted energies. This is the concept of Sitra Achra. When we throw the goat off the cliff we are declaring that it is Eisav’s corruption of good that has caused our sins.