Weekly Reading Insights: Achrei-Kedoshim 5764



Overview of the Weekly Reading: Achrei Mot - Kedoshim

To be read on 10 Iyar 5764 (May 1st )

Leviticus 16:1-20:27 (Achrei Mot/Kedoshim); Haftorah: Amos 9:7-15 (sinning can lead to expulsion from Land - //Lev. 18:24-28)
Achrei Mot is the 6th Reading out of 10 in Leviticus and 29th overall, and 43th out of 54 in overall length.
Kedoshim is the 7th Reading out of 10 in Leviticus and 30th overall, and 49th out of 54 in overall length.

Pirkei Avot: Chapter Three

his week is also a 'double-header'. Parshas Acharei Mot (Leviticus 16:1-18:30) opens with a presentation of the Yom Kippur service. Next are laws regarding slaughtering animals, followed by a list of forbidden marital relationships.
(Leviticus 19:1-20:27) begins with a list of many different mitzvos by which the Jews are commanded to "be holy" (19/1). These include honoring parents, keeping Shabbos, the forbidding of idolatry, stealing, false testimony, perversion of justice, hating another Jew, bearing a grudge, mixing wool and linen in one garment, and more, including 'love one's neighbor as oneself' (19/18). This list is then followed by another which concerns forbidden practices as in agricultural laws, consumption of blood, belief in omens, seeking out mediums, tattoos, immorality, removing a man's sidelocks, and more. The Jews are also commanded to respect elders, have honest weights, loving converts, and a number of other mitzvahs. The last section lists transgressions and their corresponding penalties.

FROM THE MASTERS OF KABBALA (K:29-30-64/Achrei-Kedoshim)

From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:29-30-64/Achrei-Kedoshim )

Rabbi Chizkiya opened his discourse with the verse "The Lord G-d has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to sustain with a word him who is weary." (Isaiah 50:4) "

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed (A:29-30-64/Achrei-Kedoshim )

This is similar to how someone [is blinded] by looking at the light of the sun. Thus, the dimming of the light is [not a bad thing, but] on the contrary, the rectification.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the Shelah, Shney Luchot HaBrit by Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (S:29-30-64/Achrei-Kedoshim )

There are so many things which the heart has been entrusted with that it is impossible to list them. They include such headings as, "do not hate, do not take revenge, do not bear a grudge, love your neighbor...", to name but a few.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

FROM THE CHASSIDIC REBBES (V29-30-64/Achrei-Kedoshim)

"And you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am G-d." (19:18)
When two Jews love each other, then "I am G-d": The numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word for love, ahava, when doubled, is the same as G-d's ineffable four-letter Name.
(Rabbi Chaim Vital)

"You shall love your fellow as yourself." (19:18)
How can a person love another Jew as much as himself? We have to understand that we all consist of two parts, a body and a soul. While our bodies are separate from each other, all of our souls are a part of G-d. Realizing this, it is easier to love another Jew as oneself, because through our souls we are all one.


from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org

An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:29-30-64/Achrei-Kedoshim)

In Kedoshim, the 2nd of the two portions read this week, is the commandment, "Love your neighbor as yourself, I am G-d". The Talmud, (Shabbat 31b) tells us that this commandment is the entire Torah. How can a commandment about a relationship with our fellow man even hint at all the other commandments of the Torah, like wearing fringes on our four cornered garments, or sending the mother bird away before taking her eggs, or mezuzah?

The Rebbe Rayatz wrote about a group of Chassidim at the time of the first Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the Alter Rebbe. The group sat together 'farbrenging' (an informal gathering to discuss spiritual topics that encourage participants to adopt and act upon them). They were speaking about the idea of loving your fellow Jew. The Alter Rebbe's son, Rabbi Dov Ber, would soon take over the leadership and be known as the Mittler Rebbe, but was at the time like the other Chassidim, and sat with them. In the midst of the farbrengen, one of the participants lifted his cup and blessed himself (like a toast), that 'G-d grant me the merit of truly loving my fellow Jew'. Some short time passed, and Rabbi Dov Ber also raised his cup and blessed himself, that G-d grant him love of his fellow Jew.

To hear the son of the Rebbe say this was different than to hear it from just another Chassid. They began to argue, some saying the commandment of loving G-d is indescribably greater than the commandment of loving another Jew. Others disagreed, saying that unconditionally loving another Jew is even higher than loving G-d. The argument continued for weeks until they decided to ask the Rebbe.

To have an audience with the Rebbe was no small thing, and only took place after considerable personal preparation, and only at designated times. The Chassidim stood in awe before the Rebbe and presented their question. Loving G-d and loving your fellow Jew are two commandments of the Torah. Both are tied to a person's attribute of love, but, of course, the love is different. With this understood, which is greater, loving G-d, or loving your fellow Jew?

The Alter Rebbe was known to answer very concisely and in a singsong, with a melody. Loving G-d and loving your fellow Jew he said, are like one, engrained in the neshama, ruach and nefesh (three parts of the divine soul that are contained within the body, relating to our intellectual, emotive and active faculties). The Torah is filled with many verses, "I love you, says G-d". From this we can understand that loving a fellow Jew is a higher commandment, because you are loving what 'the G-d that Loves', loves.

From then on, the Chassidim had a rule that whenever they would farbreng, they would dwell on this concept until the commandment to love and cherish each other was carved into their hearts, so that they fulfill it without lapse. G-d blessed their efforts, so the ability to love every Jew literally flowed in their veins, and they passed on this legacy to their children and future generations. (The tradition is that with some effort, this same quality is also passed on to those who become Chassidim, and that they can also pass on this legacy to their children.) Each year, as we again read the portion of Kedoshim, we should take the opportunity to reinvest our energies in this commandment.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul Leiter

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