• Daily Aliya for Acharei Mot-Kedoshim, Shishi (6th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: We are commandment to love converts. We are also enjoined to be truthful in business dealing by maintaining honest weights and measures. The Torah prescribes capital punishment for one who worships Molech; a form of idolatry which required human sacrifices. The Torah also describes the punishment which will befall the nation if they neglect to punish Molech worshippers.

    Keep all of G-d’s statutes and laws. (This too is a commandment, but it would be “unfair” to count it among the 613 mitzvot, because it is general and all-encompassing of the other mitzvot of the Torah. The Rambam excludes this kind of mitzva from the counting of 613 commandments in the rule he sets down in the first section of his Book of Mitzvot. )

  • Daily Aliya for Acharei Mot-Kedoshim, Chamishi (5th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: More mitzvot: Not to pervert justice, gossip, be indifferent to a fellow’s predicament, hate a fellow Jew, bear grudges, or take revenge. To reprimand a sinner, and to love every Jew. The following statutes are also given here: not to sow a field with two kinds of seed, wear a garment made of a mixture of wool and linen (shatnez), or crossbreed animals. The section also includes with the laws of one who commits adultery with a half-free maidservant. We are introduced to the laws of “orlah,” the prohibition against eating the fruit of a new sapling for the first three years, and the obligation to sanctify the fruit of the fourth year. We are enjoined not to engage in witchcraft or prostitution, or tattoo our bodies. Men are instructed not to destroy the hair at the edges of their scalp or the corners of their beards. We are commanded to observe the Shabbat; respect G‑d’s sanctuary, Torah scholars and the elderly.

    The Talmud tells of a Rabbi who told his colleague that when he sees men sitting by the roadside, he circumvents them so as not to burden them with standing for him as he passes by. His friend told him that he was not acting wisely, because the Torah attached Reverence for G-d to the mitzva of standing for the elderly and the Torah Scholar, and one should not “spare them” from this mitzva/opportunity.

  • Daily Aliya for Acharei Mot-Kedoshim, Revii (4th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: The prohibitions against homosexuality and bestiality are mentioned. The Jews are then warned that engaging in these forbidden relationships will result in their expulsion from the Land of Israel — a holy land which cannot tolerate immoral behavior. G‑d commands the Jewish people to be holy. This section then briefly discuses several laws: revering parents; observing the Shabbat; prohibitions against idolatry; the obligation to burn “leftover” sacrificial flesh; the obligation to leave certain parts of one’s harvest for the poor; not to lie, cheat, withhold wages, swear falsely, curse or mislead another.

    BE HOLY! – HOW? In light of the exceptionally large number of mitzvot in this sedra (K’doshim), one can fairly assume that the answer to that question is – by the observance of mitzvot. This means more than “just going through the motions”. It means a Torah way of life, mitzvot for the right motives and with the right enthusiasm.

  • Daily Aliya for Acharei Mot-Kedoshim, Shlishi (3rd Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: We are enjoined not to consume blood. When slaughtering fowl or undomesticated animals, we are commanded to cover their blood with earth. The Jews are admonished not to follow the depraved ways of the Egyptians and Canaanites. On this note, the Torah provides a list of prohibited sexual relationships. The list includes adultery, cohabiting with a menstruating woman, and forbidden close relatives.

    From the term “and live by them”, we are taught two important concepts. Judaism is not just a religion; it is a way of life. Furthermore, this verse is (one of) the source(s) of the concept that many mitzvot (but not all!) are pushed aside if there is a life-threatening situation. Mitzvot are to LIVE by, not die by.

  • Daily Aliya for Acharei Mot-Kedoshim, Sheni (2nd Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: After concluding the order of the Yom Kippur service in the Temple, the Torah instructs us to observe Yom Kippur as a Day of Atonement when we must abstain from work and “afflict” ourselves. The Jews are then forbidden to offer sacrifices anywhere other than the Tabernacle or Temple.

    It is similarly forbidden to slaughter an animal for personal use within the precincts of the Temple. A korban slaughtered outside is invalid and must be burned, “personal” meat inside is likewise forbidden. Both are wasteful, hence sinful, acts which can be construed as a form of “bloodshed”.

  • Daily Aliya for Acharei Mot-Kedoshim, Rishon (1st Aliya)

    General Overview: This week’s reading, Acharei-Kedoshim, begins with a detailed description of the service of the High Priest on Yom Kippur. Dozens of commandments are then discussed in this week’s reading. Among them: the prohibitions against offering sacrifices outside the Temple; consuming blood; incestuous, adulterous, or other forbidden relationships; various mandatory gifts for the poor; love for every Jew, prohibition against sorcery; honesty in business dealings; and sexual morality.

    Aliya Summary: The High Priest is instructed to only enter the Holy of Holies chamber of the sanctuary once a year, on Yom Kippur; and even on this holiest day of the year, the entry into the Temple’s inner sanctum must be accompanied by a special service and specific offerings which are detailed in this reading. The High Priest was only permitted to enter amidst a cloud of burning incense. Also, special white garments were worn by the High Priest on this day. While offering the day’s sacrifices, the High Priest would “confess” on behalf of the entire nation, attaining atonement for the past year’s sins. This section continues with a description of the “scapegoat” ceremony procedure.

  • Daily Aliya for Acharei Mot, Shvii (7th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: The prohibitions against homosexuality and bestiality are mentioned. The Jews are then warned that engaging in these forbidden relationships will result in their expulsion from the Land of Israel — a holy land which cannot tolerate immoral behavior.

    The prohibition against homosexuality is specifically against the sexual act, NOT against being attracted to the same gender, a common misconception.

     

  • Daily Aliya for Acharei Mot, Shishi (6th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: Continuing on the above theme, the Torah provides a list of prohibited sexual relationships. The list includes adultery, cohabiting with a menstruating woman, and forbidden close relatives.

     

    Not much to write about in this Aliya, except to note the different terminology used for staying away from a menstruating woman. There it says that one should “not come close” to her, which is the source for the prohibition of even touching a woman in that state, a step beyond the other prohibitions of having relations.

     

  • Daily Aliya for Acharei Mot, Revii (4th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: The Jews are forbidden to offer sacrifices anywhere other than the Tabernacle or Temple.

    A korban (sacrifice) slaughtered outside is invalid and must be burned, “personal” meat inside is likewise forbidden. Both are wasteful, hence sinful, acts which can be construed as a form of “bloodshed”.

  • Daily Aliya for Acharei Mot, Chamishi (5th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: We are enjoined not to consume blood. When slaughtering fowl or undomesticated animals, we are commanded to cover their blood with earth. The Jews are admonished not to follow the depraved ways of the Egyptians and Canaanites.

     

    This Aliya contained the expression that we should follow G-d’s statutes and ordinances and “live by them”. While the standard definition is that these are laws to live by, it could also mean that the laws are alive as well, meaning that they are organic and meant to adjust to our times and situations. While some interpret this to mean that some laws are less relevant and therefore don’t need to be followed, the truth is that the laws still exist as a baseline of observance and must always remain, but a “branch” might have grown from it (a perfect example is electricity, which didn’t exist back then, but is a “live” extension of the prohibition of starting a fire on Shabbat).

     

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