/euh zay"zeuhl, az"euh zel'/, n.
1. the demon or place in the wilderness to which the scapegoat is released in an atonement ritual. Lev. 16:8, 10, 26.
2. the scapegoat itself.
[ < Heb 'azazel]

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▪ Jewish legend
      in Jewish legends, a demon or evil spirit to whom, in the ancient rite of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), a scapegoat was sent bearing the sins of the Jewish people. Two male goats were chosen for the ritual, one designated by lots “for the Lord,” the other “for Azazel” (Leviticus 16:8). The ritual was carried out by the high priest in the Second Temple and is described in the Mishna. After the high priest symbolically transferred all the sins of the Jewish people to the scapegoat, the goat destined “for Azazel” was driven into the wilderness and cast over a precipice to its death. Azazel was the personification of uncleanness and in later rabbinic writings was sometimes described as a fallen angel.

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Universalium. 2010.

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