From The Rabbi’s Study…Shabbat, April 23, 2021/11 Iyar 5781/Omer 26 and 27
Torah: Acharei Mot (Leviticus 16:1-18:30) and Kedoshim (Leviticus 19:1-20:27)
Haftarot: Ezekiel (22:1-19) and Amos (9:7-15).There are two, however Amos will be recited this Sabbath
The Torah portion from Acharei Mot contains the verses recalling the deaths of Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu. Next it describes the rituals for the sin offerings that Aaron is to present in the sanctuary for himself and the people. Also, the laws regarding sexual relations are presented.
The Torah portion continues with the second reading from Kedoshim which has the ceremonial and moral laws listed in detail. Next verses read are the injunctions against Moloch worship, and they are followed by the punishments for unlawful marriages and immoral practices.
While both Pashot from the Torah have concepts and values, the drash will focus on Holiness to G-d and as Jews, and stealing of one’s mind. These morals and ethics reflect ancient times and are still occurring in daily life, today.
This Torah portion is part of what has become to be known as the “Holiness Code.” It contains the ritual and ethical practices that one must carry out to live a sacred or holy Jewish life. Leviticus 19:2 states: “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your G-d am holy.” Echoing the laws given to Mount Sinai, the Israelites are told to honor their parents, observe the Sabbath and holy days, refrain from worshipping idols, and leave corners of their fields for the poor. All of these laws are meant to set the Jewish people apart from
(the literal meaning of “holiness”) the other peoples. Just as G-d is a holy G-d (i.e., unique and set apart in His greatness), so too Israel is called upon in this portion to imitate G-d’s ways.
Genevat da’at: stealing of one’s mind in Leviticus 19:11 the Torah states that we must not steal, deal falsely, or lie to one another. This prohibition includes creating a false impression (genevat da’at, the stealing of one’s mind). Thus it is forbidden to cheat people in trade. People should not deceive others of what are really the true facts. The prohibition does not apply only to business dealings. A deceitful person may be honest in his commercial transactions and yet “steal the heart” of his neighbor.
This Torah parsha contains approximately fifty mitzvot!
The connection of the Torah portion to the Haftarah…
The Haftarah is taken from the Book of Amos, a shepherd who lived in the days of King Jeroboam II (750 B.C.E.). For this prophet, the masterword of existence was righteousness. Amos was extremely troubled by the inhumanity of the people to one another, and especially criticized the rich for ignoring the plight of the poor, alien, widow, and orphan. Pagan forms of worship also corrupted the land. In G-d’s dealing with people and nations, G-d has but one single test – their loyalty to the laws of righteousness. G-d judges people according to their devotion to justice and ethics.
The Haftarah concludes by stating that G-d’s mercy will ultimately prevail, and that G-d will find a way of bringing back His banished people to a state of prosperity and purity. The connection of the Torah and Haftarah “you shall be holy to G-d” strikes the note of consecration in the individual life. Similarly, this Haftarah, in its earlier verses, is an oracle against those who have rejected the high Jewish ideal and bring about the downfall of the Israelites. But, Israel will yet be true to its high and holy ideal, and will one day in the future again be worthy of the blessings that follow in the way of such loyalty.
Today, we see people in leadership helping their state and cities, while others are enforcing harsh penalties and restriction. We see the countries of the world having to close their borders again due to more people getting Covid. Granted some areas the covid-19 hit harder and killed many people. While our communities in Utah are opened, and we still need to wear our masks in certain facilities, please adhere to the state and health codes. Remember that not all people received their vaccines, and to save a life is akin to saving a world.
Our striving for excellence in righteousness, moral and ethics will make humanity better for all these one will be doing the mitzvah of gemilut chasadim, acts of loving kindness!
Just a note…My sculpture of the Holocaust, Shaoh/Whirlwind has made through the judges and has entered into the “Facility and Students Show” at Sears Art Museum.
Located at DSU on 100 South and 700 East (University Ave.)
This Friday evening from 6pm to 8:30pm will be the Artists Reception. You are all invited.
Michael and I will be there from around 6:30 – 8pm. Keep in mind the Sabbath starts at Sundown!
See you on Zoom! If you need a misheberach for someone,please email at Halevi8663@aol.com
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder