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Parshat Acharei-Kedoshim

5761 This week’s combined reading contains Seventy-six commandments. Some are very negative, like the twenty-two forbidden sexual relationships (Araiyot) and some very positive like “Love your friend like yourself”. But as opposite as they are, these two commonly touch on the essence of Judaism:
5762 The first half of this week's double portion speaks of the service in the Holy Temple on Yom Kippur after the death (Acharei Mot) of Aaron's two sons. In the second section, the Torah teaches us fifty one new commandments. Two of which are "Orla" and "Neta Revaie" (9:23).
5764 The second portion of this week's double section begins with three statements: 1) Be Holy because I (G-d) am Holy 2) Fear your mother and father 3) Keep my Sabbath. (19:2,3)
5766 This week we read a double section; the first is called "After Death" and the second is called "Holiness". At first glance these names are not very important… after all; what is in a name?
5767 This week we read two Torah portions. The first means 'After Death' and the second 'Be Holy'. The Baal Shem Tov, founder of Chassidic Judaism, taught that every detail in creation and how much more so in every detail of the Torah, contains hidden positive messages about how to live properly.
5769 This week we read another double Torah portion. Achrai Mot means After Death and Kedoshim means Holy. 'After Death' refers to the tragic and bizarre deaths of two of the Holiest people ever to walk the face of the earth: Nadav and Avihu the sons of the Aaron the High Priest. Two beams of fire entered their nostrils when, in their longing for G-d, they rashly entered the Holy of Holies without preparation.
5770 This week's reading begins with the service of the High Priest (Cohen Gadol) in the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur where he secured G-d's forgiveness for the sins of all the Jews. This is not so clear… how can one person make G-d forgive the sins of others?
5772 This week in Israel we read the double Torah portions of Acha'rai Mot and Kedoshim. Both of them deal with topics that are more positive than last week's double portion of Tazria-Metzora that explained the laws of Tzoraat, loosely translated as spiritual leprosy.
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