Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Kdoshim
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Aloh Naaleh

Parashat Acharei Mot Kedoshim


Rabbi Aharon Angstreich

The result of transgressing the sexual prohibitions of Parashat Achrei Mot is described in Vayikra 18,25 - "The land will 'spit out' its inhabitants."

As R. Shimshon Raphael Hirsch (Commentary on the Torah, Vayikra 18, 24-28) points out, every person ("adam") who comes from the earth ("adamah") is rejected by it, should he defile it. For example, this is what happened in the time of Noach. However, Eretz Yisrael, the chosen land, has a special relationship with B'nai Yisrael, the chosen people. We were selected by God to educate the people of the world to live moral lives and therefore, unethical behavior is absolutely intolerable. The Land of Israel will not flourish unless its society fulfills the lofty goals that God has set for it. If some individuals are guilty of moral corruption, only they will be punished. However, if the entire society acts unethically, and immorality becomes the national "way of life", the entire nation has betrayed the Torah and God's land. Therefore, it will be expunged from the land just as a foreign object is expunged from the body.

This has happened to us and it is a very frightening. How do we deal with it? Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchik (Divrei Hahkafah, 92-93) suggests that we look to the haftara for consolation. At first blush, it would seem that Chapter 9 of Amos has no connection to the mitzvot and prohibitions of Parashat Achrei Mot or Parashat Kedoshim, when it is recited. However, the Rov points out that it is precisely because of the last line in the haftara, where God gives the people of Israel hope, and promises them that galut is temporary and they will return to Eretz Yisrael: "And I will bring my nation Israel back, and they will (re)build destroyed cities and settle in them... and I will plant them in their land, and they will never again be uprooted from the land that I gave them..." (Amos 9, 14-15) We will be given the chance to repent and return.

B'chasdei shomayim, we have been given the opportunity to return to Eretz Yisrael. We pray that more and more Jews come here and join us in creating the moral society mandated by the Torah, thus hastening the arrival of Mashiach.
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