From Rabbi Avi Weiss: From a literal perspective, the names of Parshiot are nothing more than the first major word of the part of the Torah that is read during the week. It can, however, be argued that deep meaning actually lies within the names themselves. This week’s Parsha, Acharei Mot, literally means “after death”, and next week’s Parsha, Kedoshim that means “holiness”, are fine examples of this phenomenon.
Imagine walking into a dark room for the first time. Not knowing one’s way or one’s place, one trips over the furniture, unaware of which way to turn. However, after days and weeks and months and years, when one walks into that very same dark room, although the darkness still exists, with time we learn how to negotiate the furniture and we can make our way. This week’s Parsha reminds us that after life (Acharei Mot), there can always be Kedoshim – a sense of continuum that is expressed through holiness. How so? The challenge of death is to keep the person who has died alive in spirit. Indeed the Talmud says, there are some people who are actually living yet are not really alive – they’re only going through the motions. On the flip side, there are others who, although physically dead, continue to live through the teachings they left behind and through those whom they have touched in life. The goal is to live a life of character, purpose and meaning, and let those that have passed live through our actions.