By Rabbi Dovid Markel
The Torah reading of Mincha Yom Kippur, which discusses the various forms of illicit sexual relationships seems like a unusual reading for such a holy day.
While the simple reason is to finish the reading of Achrei Mot, I’d like to suggest another reasoning.
Mincha of Yom Kippur takes place after almost 23 hours of fasting and abstaining from many corporeal functions and being angel like. A person is bound to think that they have attained an angel like reality.
The Torah portion serves to remind him that at the height of the Yom Kippur experience, he is to realize that ultimately he is no angel and has a slew of animalistic, and corporeal desires.
When he realizes this, he will hopefully focus on transforming his animal as well. As this realization focus him to not be lost in the spiritual experience of the moment, but to ensure that the experience of the day of Yom Kippur will affect his tomorrow as well.