The opening line of this portion, "The Eternal One spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they drew too close to the presence of the Eternal" (Leviticus 16:1), reminds us that the holy is not only attractive, but also dangerous.
Why does the Torah mention the deaths of Nadab and Abihu here in Acharei Mot, when the story of their deaths was told in its entirety in Parashat Sh'mini? What is it that the Torah is trying to teach us through this repetition?
Every Yom Kippur afternoon, congregations all over the world read the Book of Jonah, as set out for us in the Babylonian Talmud, M'gillah 31a. Most people believe that this haftarah is chosen because it models complete repentance.
Decades ago, Rabbi Jack Reimer explained Yom Kippur for me this way. It's not saying: I'm sorry I was bad and I won't do it again. That's only a Sunday school, superficial expression of something much deeper and spiritually far more important.
Want to know more about the Torah? Find out about the biblical background of Yom Kippur with Torah for Tweens!
In the democratic society of Israel, we with struggle the concept of what it means to be am chofshi b'artzeinu, "a free people in our land." We ask, "What does the responsibility of freedom require from us?" Every year, it seems the answers are less obvious and the search to find them be
I was a student in my father's ninth grade religious-school class. What I remember the most all these years later is learning Torah from him and, most important, the practical ethical lessons we can apply to our lives from our most sacred text.
- And this shall be to you a law for all time: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall practice self-denial [teannu et nafshoteichem ]; and you shall do no manner of work, neither the citizen nor the alien who resides among you.
This week's Torah portion, Acharei Mot, "After the death" [of two of Aaron's sons], continues the focus on ritual purity that began earlier in Leviticus, and begins the section of the book known as the Holiness Code.
Central to the "Torah"—my father, Jacob Milgrom, z"l, taught me and countless others—was the revolution of priestly theology. In the priestly view, sin was not a separate demonic force; rather, sin was/is of human volition—human beings bring sin and goodness both into the world.