Weekly Reading Insights: Acharei Mot 5765


Overview of the Weekly Reading: Acharei Mot

To be read on 14 Nissan 5765 (April 23)

Torah:Leviticus 16:1-18:30; Haftorah Malachi 3:4-24 (for Erev Pesach)

Acharei Mot is the 6th Reading out of 10 in Leviticus and 29th overall, and 43th out of 54 in overall length.

Acharei Mot opens with a presentation of the Yom Kippur service. Next are laws regarding slaughtering animals, followed by a list of forbidden marital relationships.


From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:27-65/Tazriya)

"And G-d said to Moses, 'Speak to Aaron, your brother, that he should not come at all times into the holy place....'" (Lev. 16:2) Rabbi Aba, explaining this verse, prefaced with the comment that there are particular times which are favorable moments to come before the Holy One, blessed be He. These times are favorable to draw down blessings and to make requests.

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:29-65/Acharei Mot)

However, when the divine name Y-ah is removed, all that remains is the "strange fire." (Sotah 17a ) This is what Adam [originally] preferred. Nadab and Abihu committed this same error, [and it was very grave] since there were none in their generation that could compare to them.

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:29-65/Acharei Mot)

The report of the death of the two sons of Aaron when entering this part of the Sanctuary is repeated here to stress that their very death was the beginning of their life in the World to Come. Their entry into this sacrosanct area was an expression of their closeness to G-d.

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


"Do not follow the ways of Egypt where you once lived, nor of Canaan, where I will be bringing you. Do not follow any of their customs." (18:3)
This verse is not exhorting us concerning transgressions; those are detailed later. Rather, it is informing us concerning the actions and deeds which are permitted; they must be performed in a different manner from the non-Jewish people in Egypt and Canaan. Even our eating and sleeping should be done in a Jewish way.
(Siftei Emet)


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

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org

MOSHIACH THIS WEEK (M:29-65/Acharei Mot)


The wicked son says: What is this service to you? ...You may tell him: If he had been there [in Egypt], he would not have been redeemed (The Hagada)
What purpose does it serve to tell the wicked son that had he lived in those days he would not have been worthy of Redemption? The answer: Although it is true that the wicked son would not have been redeemed from Egypt, he will be redeemed with Moshiach in the Final Redemption! Unlike all other historical redemptions, every single Jew will go out of our present exile. This is the implicit message of the Hagada on the seder night.
(Peninei HaGeula) (from L'Chaim #664)

Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth (the "HaMotzi" blessing)
Why do we thank G-d for "bringing forth bread from the earth" when in reality it yields wheat, which must then be baked into bread? According to the Talmud, when Moshiach comes the earth will produce ready-made bread. Our Sages instituted the blessing with these particular words in anticipation of the Messianic era.
(Toldot Yitzchak) (from L'Chaim #664)

In addition to commemorating the redemption from Egypt, Pass-over also grants the potential for all future redemptions, including the ultimate Redemption, when "as in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders." In particular, the eighth day of Passover shares a connection with Moshiach. This is expressed in the following: a) The number eight is associated with the Era of Redemption; b) the haftorah read on the eighth day of Passover contains many prophecies related to Moshiach; c) The Baal Shem Tov instituted the custom of eating the "feast of Moshaich," on the eighth day of Passover.
(The Rebbe, Passover 5751-1991) (from L'Chaim #712)

[Reprinted with permission from L'Chaim Magazine (www.lchaim.org).]

An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:29-65/Acharei Mot)

Today, the 11th of Nissan, is the birthday of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. During a public talk the Rebbe gave on his 80th birthday in 5762, (1982), the Rebbe said that it is obvious that if a person is blessed with long life, it is because the Almighty wants him or her to focus on the main aspects of their life, those aspects connected to their soul, to spiritual things. Through their developing this side of their lives, there will automatically be an increase in activity in their physical life as well.

This notwithstanding, we see many people in the world make the mistake that since there is a trend as a person ages for the body to weaken, that this should signal a retreat from activity. How can a person be more involved in his life mission when his body is weaker? So we see that when a person passes the age of 40, and certainly 50 or 60, he is already talking about retirement.

The Jewish answer to this is that a person was brought into this world to make an impact. G-d created each and every individual with a specific purpose, in order to reveal G-dliness in the world. If a person is blessed by the Creator with long life, then it should be clear that they still have a lot to do.

And if a person thinks that they put in many years of hard work already, and now should be their time to relax and enjoy their rewards, the Torah comes along and says, "Today is to DO!" As long as his soul is in his body, he must continue to be active, consistently adding in his ability to fulfill his purpose in the world. Furthermore, even a normal person realizes that adding more and more physical pleasures does not ultimately bring them more satisfaction in life. Rather G-d has given us our physical needs specifically so we can continue to develop our spiritual side in a healthy and positive worry-free fashion.

The 11th of Nissan is also the Yahrzeit of the Shlah, Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz. We see a similar message in his writings in connection with a verse in this week's Torah portion, Acharei. The Torah commands us (18/5), "You should observe My decrees and My judgements that a person should carry out and live by them, I am G-d." 'Living by them' means that everything we do in connection to Torah should be our life, and we should do them with liveliness, great enthusiasm and energy, no matter what age we are!

This Saturday evening and Sunday is the first day of Passover. The Kabbalists of Safed emphasized that the Jewish holidays are not just commemorations of events from the past but that each year we re-experienc these events on an even higher level. The Passover Seder is the very same meal that our forefathers ate on the eve of their departure from Egypt. The event begins with a child asking Four Questions: 'Why do we eat only matza, why do we eat bitter herbs, why do we dip our food and why do we lean when we eat'.

We respond with the answer that we were slaves and now we are free. Yet we do not find anywhere is the Hagadah specific answers to those Four Questions. Rabbi Y. Y. Wileshansky, head of Yeshivat Chabad of Safed, explains that all the different things we do during the seder are to show that we are free. Once a person is living freedom, fully involved in the momentum of redemption, then it is natural for many of the smaller questions fall away. They become irrelevant in the bigger picture. So Pesach is meant to be for all of us.

By remembering that on the highest level we are free, all of the small things that are bothering us will vanish and give us even more freedom to act as G-d wants us to.
Shabbat Shalom and a Kosher and Happy Pesach, Shaul

P.S. Please also read my weekly Shabbat Law, below.)

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