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Acharei Mot Summaries

Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5778-2018

“The Extreme Sanctity of the Holy of Holies–Revisited”

The exalted holiness of the Holy of Holies chamber in the Tabernacle and Temple, plays a key role in ancient and
contemporary Jewish history.

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5777-2017

“Judging Others Favorably”

Unfortunately, it is sadly true that many of us too frequently look at the negative rather than focus on the positive.

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Acharei Mot 5776-2016

“Never Give Up Hope”

The Torah boldly declares that the Al-mighty dwells amidst His people Israel even amidst their impurity. Like G-d, we must never give up hope on anyone.

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5775-2015

Having Thoughts About False Gods

The Torah strongly prohibits not only worshiping idols, but even giving credence to their existence. This seems to go against the broad perception of Judaism as an open-minded faith, that encourages intellectual inquiry.

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Acharei Mot 5774-2014

“Prelude to Holiness”

While all agree that the goal of the Torah is to foster a Jewish Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation, there is much heated discussion concerning the extent to which one must go to avoid “contamination” from the outside environment.

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5773-2013

“The Sanctity of The Holy of Holies”

What is the role, function and mystique of the “Holy of Holies?”

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5772-2012

“Respect for Elders”

Our rabbis suggest that according filial respect and honoring elders are the fundamental building blocks of a healthy society, without which the world would soon revert to a state of chaos.

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Acharei Mot 5771-2011

“The Unfathomable Practice of Molech Worship”

After presenting an extensive list of prohibited marital and family relationships, the Torah, in parashat Acharei Mot, concludes with specific prohibitions against Molech worship, sodomy and bestiality. What was Molech? How was it practiced? Did Jews actually engage in this horrendous form of idolatry?

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5770-2010

“Loving Thy Neighbor”

The Torah’s statement bidding the Jewish people to love one’s neighbor as oneself is universally regarded as one of the greatest pronouncements of human morality. Nevertheless, it has been the subject of much vitriolic criticism.

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5769-2009

“Blood-the Essence of Life”

The Torah, on numerous occasions, prohibits eating blood. It also requires that the blood of certain non-domesticated wild animals, such as deer, as well as birds that are slaughtered for food, be covered with earth. What is the reason for this strict prohibition against blood, and why is the blood of only certain animals covered?

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5767-2007

“Beards and Payos”

In the second of this week’s combined parashiot, Acharei Mot-Kedoshim, we learn of the prohibition of rounding the hair below the temples by the ear and of shaving the beard with a razor. What are the reasons for these prohibitions, and what are their implications?

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5766-2006

“Standing Idly By”

The double portions of Acharei Mot and Kedoshim contain almost one sixth of all the mitzvot in the Torah. The commandment found in parashat Kedoshim (Leviticus 19:16), not to stand by idly while the blood of our brother is shed, may not appear at first blush to be of great import. Yet, it is a fundamental principle that marks Judaism’s significant departure from the jurisprudence systems of the entire world, indicating that a person’s inaction can indeed be a significant and punishable violation.

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5764-2004

“The Jewish Attitude Towards Sexuality”

The two Torah portions that are read in this weekly portion discuss many laws pertaining to sexuality. Study of these rules proves that Judaism focuses not on repression, but on control and balance.

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Acharei Mot 5763-2003

“The Jewish Method of Achieving Moral Perfection”

In parashat Acharei Mot, G-d exhorts the Jewish people to observe His decrees and His laws in order to live a sanctified life, a life of dignity and a life of meaning. But how does one live an ethical and moral life in a world that seems to be constantly drawing us away from good? Judaism’s educational methodology has proven to be the most effective means of educating large numbers of people over long periods of time to ethical and moral living. Its secret is the rituals of Judaism that effectively prepare people for ethical and moral living.

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5762-2002

Shaatnez: Understanding Irrational Decrees”

The laws of Shaatnez, in parashat Kedoshim, of not wearing wool and linen together, fall under the category of laws that are known as chukim–decrees which are commands from G-d that have no apparent rational reason. The esoteric laws of Shaatnez that appear so out of place in contemporary times have much to teach us about sensitivity toward others, and that the great gift of clothes must never be taken for granted.

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5761-2001

“Who is Truly Religious?”

People often define a traditional Jew as one who keeps the “Big Three:” Shabbat, Kashrut and the laws of Family Purity. From parashat Kedoshim we can learn that this definition needs to be revised and updated to include an ethical component–that one must behave and act morally, especially within the realm of business.

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Acharei Mot 5760-2000

“The Forbidden Relationships Work Both Ways”

Parashat Acharei Mot lists, in a very forceful manner, the rules and regulations regarding immoral and forbidden sexual relationships. It is this text that is read publicly at the afternoon Yom Kippur service in order to remind the Jewish people of proper moral conduct. However, it is also perhaps a reminder to G-d that just as He expects His people to be loyal to Him, so must He be loyal to His people and not exchange us for any other people.

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