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Acharei Mot - K’doshim

Acharei Mot - K’doshim

After the Death [of the Two Sons of Aaron] / [You Shall Be] Holy
Leviticus
16:1-20:27

The Eternal One spoke to Moses after the death the two sons of Aaron who died when they drew too close to the presence of the Eternal. - Leviticus 16:1

The Eternal One spoke to Moses saying: "Speak to the whole Israelite community and say to them: You shall be holy, for I, the Eternal your God, am holy." - Leviticus 19:1-2

Summary: 
  • The duties that the head kohein must perform on Yom Kippur are delineated and the ceremony of the scapegoat is outlined. (16:1-28)
  • Moses instructs Aaron about the Yom Kippur laws for fasting and atonement. (16:29-34)
  • Warnings are issued against the offering of sacrifices outside the Sanctuary and the consumption of blood. (17:1-16)
  • Moses condemns the sexual practices of some neighboring peoples. Certain forms of sexual relations are prohibited. (18:1-30)
  • God issues a variety of commandments, instructing the Israelites on how to be a holy people. (19:1-37)
  • Various sex offenses are discussed and punishments for them are presented. (20:1-27)

RECENT COMMENTARY

  • By Rabbi Lance J. Sussman

    For the last few years, I have been a member of a local hospital’s ethics committee. The hospital is part of a university-based system and the committee’s chair is a scholarly pulmonologist with a propensity to pick cases involving life and death choices. Other members include nurses, medical specialists, administrators, and social workers. I am the only clergy member of the group. The literature we review is mostly derived from case histories written by medical doctors and generally balances such diverse factors as medical practice, hospital liability, economics, patient rights, and culture. Our purpose is not to advise but rather to review past cases, many with close parallels in our hospital. Our chair never insists we come to a group decision but always carefully opens up the various ethical dimensions of each topic we consider. For sure, sitting on this committee has been helpful to me in my pastoral work especially when it involves end-of-life decisions.

  • Torah for Teens

    This is part of another double parasha*, so let’s dig in. The head priests are told what to do with a scapegoat (you know, when you want to blame the sins on someone else!) Plus, we learn about atonement for sins and are warned against prohibited acts.  

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