Author Topic: Important Mitzvot of Acharei Mot  (Read 1577 times)

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Offline muman613

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Important Mitzvot of Acharei Mot
« on: April 16, 2011, 11:46:53 PM »
While reading the Torah portion over this Shabbat I realized that there are some very important Mitzvot which I find very interesting.

One of the very interesting facts about this Parasha is that it contains the description of the Yom Kippur sacrifices and the avodah/service of the Kohen in the Holy of Holies.

This includes the very deep ideas of the Scapegoat... Two goats would be selected by lottery, one sacrificed and the other set free in the wilderness. But the goat who was let free would also die from falling off a cliff.

Vayikra/Leviticus 16
7. And he shall take the two he goats, and place them before the Lord at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.
8. And Aaron shall place lots upon the two he goats: one lot "For the Lord," and the other lot, "For Azazel."
9. And Aaron shall bring the he goat upon which the lot, "For the Lord," came up, and designate it as a sin offering.
10. And the he goat upon which the lot "For Azazel" came up, shall be placed while still alive, before the Lord, to [initiate] atonement upon it, and to send it away to Azazel, into the desert.

20. And he shall finish effecting atonement for the Holy, the Tent of Meeting, and the altar, and then he shall bring the live he goat.
21. And Aaron shall lean both of his hands [forcefully] upon the live he goat's head and confess upon it all the willful transgressions of the children of Israel, all their rebellions, and all their unintentional sins, and he shall place them on the he goat's head, and send it off to the desert with a timely man.
22. The he goat shall thus carry upon itself all their sins to a precipitous land, and he shall send off the he goat into the desert.

What is the meaning of the scapegoat? There are many explanations of this.

I find this explanation very interesting:


The second goat, however, is not brought as a sacrifice. It remains alive. Let us imagine further what this goat might be thinking when it sees it has not been killed. It is very possible that this goat would be overjoyed by the fact that it remained alive while his identical friend now is but a pile of ashes. The more this goat thinks about how his fate differed from his friend, the more possible it is that he might become haughty. "Look," the goat would say, "See how different I am from my friend! Granted, he was used in service of Hashem, for a holy purpose. However, he had to die! And me, they decided to keep alive! They valued my life!" When the goat would then be led out of the Temple grounds, towards the majestic hills outside of the city of Jerusalem, the goat's happiness and excitement might build: "I was worthy of being allowed to leave the Temple, to roam as a free "man" in a free world!"

The goat would then be taken to the cliffs. All this time, his haughtiness would be growing. He would be thinking how lucky he was compared to his friend who ended up as a sacrifice. The goat would stretch out its neck, raise his head in pride and say "See how great I am, standing here, overlooking the majesties of the world, free as a bird." He would view his friend who was killed for sacrificial purposes with disdain. We, as observers of the whole scene, know exactly what the fate is of this goat who thinks he is the luckiest goat in the world. If this goat had any idea of why he was being taken to this rocky cliff, he would not be thinking anything close to these thoughts. If he knew that he would end up tumbling down a mountainside being ripped apart by the sharp stones, these thoughts would never enter his mind. In a few short moments, after a gentle shove, it will be clear to everyone which goat was the lucky one.

Every person has two possible options as to how they should live their lives. One path that can be taken is the path of Torah - following the Torah and listening to Hashem. This path draws its followers closer to Hashem. The second path is the path of a "free" life, full of earthly indulgences and a love of this world - a life very far from one consisting of Torah learning and observance. The first path, although seemingly devoid of all the pleasure that the second path has to offer, is the one that will take us to where we all really want to end up - to dwell in the holiness of Hashem.

Furthermore, the first path actually is not devoid of pleasure and reward in this world. Although the lifestyle that the first path demands is one that may seem difficult, dry, and unrewarding, Hashem ultimately rewards all who follow it. On the other hand, those who desire the free life - free of the "restrictions" imposed by Hashem and the Torah - end up with not nearly what they expected - and end like the goat for Azazel.

The service involving these two goats on Yom Kippur should remind all of us about the eternal struggle that occurs within each and every one of us. Our evil inclination leads us to believe that the second path is the way to go - the path of the goat for Azazel. Our good inclination works diligently to try and pull us onto the first path - the one taken by the goat for Hashem. On this day of Yom Kippur, we have a clear and vivid demonstration of what will happen to us on each possible path that we could take. Hopefully, this demonstration will cause us to realize how we have been mistaken for following the goat for Azazel, and that from now on the goat for Hashem will be our guide.

The Torah tells us that Yom Kippur is a day of affliction for us, to afflict ourselves to bring about our return and full repentance.

Vayikra/Leviticus 16
29. And [all this] shall be as an eternal statute for you; in the seventh month, on the tenth of the month, you shall afflict yourselves, and you shall not do any work neither the native nor the stranger who dwells among you.

Now the next Mitzvah is one which the antisemites have always never seemed to notice in our Holy book. The Mitzvah that Hashem told the Jewish people to never eat any blood of any creature. The 'blood libels' that Jews use gentile blood in matzah would obviously violate this commandment.

Vayikra/Leviticus 17
10. And any man of the House of Israel or of the strangers that sojourn among them, who eats any blood, I will set My attention upon the soul who eats the blood, and I will cut him off from among his people.
11. For the soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I have therefore given it to you [to be placed] upon the altar, to atone for your souls. For it is the blood that atones for the soul.
12. Therefore, I said to the children of Israel: None of you shall eat blood, and the stranger who sojourns among you shall not eat blood.
13. And any man of the children of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them, who traps a quarry of a wild animal or bird that may be eaten, and sheds its blood, he shall cover it [the blood] with dust.
14. For [regarding] the soul of all flesh its blood is in its soul, and I said to the children of Israel: You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the soul of any flesh is its blood all who eat it shall be cut off.

The Torah says that any Jew who eats blood is 'Cut Off' from the Jewish people. That is one of the ultimate punishments that Torah proscribes, to be removed from the Jewish people.

Another interesting command is the command Hashem gave our people to never imitate the ways of the non-Jewish world. Today we don't really obey this because so many things that we do are the same things that the non-Jews do. But we do not do a lot of the things that the gentiles do, especially those who are Torah observing Orthodox Jews.

Vayikra/Leviticus 18
1. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
2. Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: I am the Lord, your G-d.
3. Like the practice of the land of Egypt, in which you dwelled, you shall not do, and like the practice of the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you, you shall not do, and you shall not follow their statutes.

Then the Torah lists the prohibited relationships. I posted them in another thread and will not repeat them here...

The Torah clearly states that Jews must keep the Torah in order for Hashem to keep his covenant with the Jewish people. Once again we are reminded that a Jew will be cut off for turning away from the ways of our people, and the will of Hashem...

Vayikra/Leviticus 18
24. You shall not defile yourselves by any of these things, for the nations, whom I am sending away from before you, have defiled themselves with all these things.
25. And the land became defiled, and I visited its sin upon it, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.
26. But as for you, you shall observe My statutes and My ordinances, and you shall not do like any of these abominations neither the native, nor the stranger who sojourns among you.
27. For the people of the land who preceded you, did all of these abominations, and the land became defiled.
28. And let the land not vomit you out for having defiled it, as it vomited out the nation that preceded you.
29. For anyone who commits any of these abominations, the persons doing so shall be cut off from the midst of their people.
30. And you shall observe My charge, not to commit any of the abominable practices that were done before you, and you shall not become defiled by them. I am the Lord your G-d.

It is a part of being a Jew to keep the commandments and thus to become closer to Hashem. The mitzvahs are given to us for our good, not for the good of Hashem, for what can man do to help the Creator of Heaven and Earth? We can't really do much, if anything, to help him... Yet he can certainly help us, and he will help us, if we listen to his words.

I do believe that emunah, the knowledge that Hashem exists and has providence in the world, will strengthen the Jewish people. I just listened to Rabbi Lazer Brody talk about recent events in light of Moshiach and I must say that I am motivated. We must strengthen our faith and trust in our L-rd, Hashem, HaKadosh Baruch Hu... And if we do that we will not fear any enemy.

See also:
« Last Edit: April 17, 2011, 12:12:00 AM by muman613 »
You shall make yourself the Festival of Sukkoth for seven days, when you gather in [the produce] from your threshing floor and your vat.And you shall rejoice in your Festival-you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are within your cities
Duet 16:13-14