Thursday, April 30, 2015

Parashat Acharei Mot / Kedoshim

Parashat Acharei Mot / Kedoshim

Acharei Mot (After the death) – Lev 16:1-18:30


Kedoshim (Holy ones) – Lev 19:1-20:27


In last week’s parashat we saw the death of Nadav and Avihu, two sons of Aaron the High Priest. The Torah states that their deaths came when they brought an “eish zarah”, a foreign fire, into the temple (Lev 10:1). There seems to be a lot of speculations as to what this foreign fire was and why Hashem did kill them. I won’t be offering any additional explanations, but rather note that in this next parashat Hashem establishes the observance of Yom Kippur for the entire nation of Israel as an everlasting statute.


It’s in the third reading (Lev 16:25-34) we see that atonement is made by the High Priest on Yom Kippur. Out of all of the holidays of the year, Yom Kippur is considered one of the holiest days of them all. This day it’s observed with fasting or the afflicting of ourselves (Lev 16:29), something that the Hebrew considers it to be an affliction of the soul. And this affliction of our souls is some how connected with atonement. In other words when we fast we must do it with the proper intention of our heart or mind set to receive atonement.


Another association that has been made from the Jewish Rabbi’s of the past is that we are to dress in white on Yom Kippur, which symbolizes purity and calls to mind the promise that our sins shall be made as white as snow, based on Isa 1:18. This is an odd tradition considering that the Tanach tells us to fast and wear sack clothing and not white, references 1King 21:27, Neh 9:1 & Jonah 3:5. Could this be that on this day it represents a day of judgment, not only for us but to the whole nations as well? This association can be made and therefore we need to do true repentance and get a better understanding of this day. It’s not out of the ordinary to wear white as we will be entering into the world to come without blemish in the divine presence of Hashem, which one day will grant us complete atonement.


The accessing of the Holies of Holies thru the High Priest being part of this procedure, done by blood, is also very important to note. The High Priest makes atonement with blood for the altar, for himself and for the entire people of the assembly of Israel. We have seen the intermediary principle of Moses with the people of Israel in the wilderness before as foreshadow in the past. So now HaShem repeats the same principle with the High Priest making atonement for us in this observance. Could this be one of the reasons that the two sons of Aaron die, because they enter the Holy of Holies uninvited and in the improper way? We can only speculate the reason why these deaths occurred, but we can truly say that on behave of the righteousness of one person (high priest) doing something in the prescribed way, we do receive atonement on this special day of Yom Kippur and could this also be foreshadow of what to expect one day in the future. I believe that it is so!


May Hashem continue to show us His ways and that we would live by them!



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