Shabbat 89 - What is Mount Sinai?
They asked Rav Kahana, "Have you heard the meaning of Mount Sinai?" He ventured, "The mountain where miracles ('nisim') happened to the Jewish people - they died and were revived." They answered, "If so, it should be Nisai!" He tried again, "The mountain that became a good omen ('siman')." They said, "Then it should be Simanai!" They told him, "Why don't you come to the lectures of Rav Chisda and Rav Huna, who explain the meaning of things? This is the mountain where God's hatred ('sinah') to idolaters was shown. Conversely, because of this the idolaters hate the Jews."
On Yom Kippur, they would tie a scarlet strip of wool to the goat's head, and the wool would turn white, to symbolize forgiveness. This is connected to the phrase is Isaiah, " Go and lets us reason, God will say, if your sins are like scarlet, they will whiten like snow ." What does it mean? In the future God will say to the Jews, "Go to your fathers and let them rebuke you." The Jews will say, "No! Abraham was foretold the exile, Jacob was foretold more exiles, and they did not pray for us, and Isaac blessed Esau." God will say, "Since you rely only on Me, your sins will become white as snow."
Art: David Roberts - Mount Sinai