Double Torah: Acharei Mot – Kedoshim (Leviticus 16:1-20:27) Haftarot: Amos (9:7-15)
This Sabbath will have a double Torah portion from Acharei Mot containing 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. While Torah parsha Kedoshim contains ceremonial and moral laws are listed in detail. There are the injunctions against Moloch worship, and punishments for unlawful marriages and immoral practices.
The first Torah parsha Acharei Mot (after the death) has the death of Aaron’s sons, while the second Torah parsha Holiness to G-d and as Jews. This Torah portion became 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.” However, “The Eternal spoke to Moses saying, ‘Speak to the whole congregation of Israel, and say to them: You shall be Holy…” When the rabbis came to this verse they pondered on the; Why did the Torah bother to say both “ Daber El-Kol- Adat B’nai Yisrael [Speak to the whole congregation of Israel]” and “ v’Amarta Aleichem [ and say to them]?” This seemed to be two ways of saying the same thing. When the Torah repeats a portion, rabbis ask, “Why?” and they relook into the meaning and intent. So, at the same time, the word Kol (all) in the phrase also seemed extra without purpose.
A great Rabbi Avraham Yeshohua Heschel from Apt, Poland (1755-1825), ancestor to the late Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel of the Jewish Theological Seminary (z”l 1972), explains why this lesson about being holy had to be said to “Kol-Adat B’nai Yisrael/the whole congregation to Israel.” Rabbi Heschel from Apt, Poland was well known for his love of the Jewish People, and was often called “Ohev Yisrael” – the one who loved the people of Israel. His explanation fits his reputation. He stated: “The soul is like a candle, and that even a dim candle shines brightly when surrounded by other brighter candles. So even if an individual is not especially holy, that person can attain the highest level of holiness by being part of the Jewish people of Israel, among whom are many very holy people.”
When people often cannot comprehend the diversity of the Jewish People in not only their various sects, but the more observant to the secular individuals. Yet, each one of the Jewish People are JEWISH! In essence G-d looks at the whole person and He knows each of us inside and out. G-d knows each of us He created in His Image is unique. Yet, when I worked with the Israelis, one tried to explain that the Israelis fight for the Holy Land, and the diaspora Jews do not. I explained that one may be outside of the Holy Land, yet we fight on the world stage for Jewish freedoms. We need each other to survive. The Israeli became one of my best friends.
Today, the Israeli Jewish People are as diverse as the Diaspora Jewish population, and the Almighty knows all of us, and in my opinion that is why Judaism has survived throughout the centuries.
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder