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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Achrei Mot

An Overview of the Torah Portion

Parsha Summary: Acharei Mot - Kedoshim

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Our double-Sedra begins with laws of the Kohanim. On Yom Kippur, the Kohen Gadol brings 2 two identical goat offerings: one "for Hashem" is offered in the Temple; one "for Azazel" is sent to wander in the desert. On Yom Kippur, we abstain from eating, drinking, anointing, wearing leather shoes, washing & marital relations.

We are warned against copying the practices & cultures of foreign nations. Incest is defined & prohibited. Marital relations are forbidden during a woman's monthly cycle. Homosexuality, bestiality & child sacrifice are prohibited.

In Kedoshim, we are told to be holy. Among the Mitzvot: Prohibitions of idolatry; theft; false oaths; delaying payment to an employee; hating or cursing a fellow Jew; gossip; perversion of justice; inaction when others need help; embarrassing; revenge; bearing a grudge; wearing a garment of wool & linen; harvesting a tree in its first 3 years; gluttony & intoxication; witchcraft; tattooing.

Positive Mitzvot include: Awe for parents; respect for the elderly; leaving part of the harvest for the poor; loving others (especially a convert); respect for Torah scholars, the blind & deaf; kashrut. And the all-inclusive Mitzva of "V’Ahavta L’Rayacha Kamocha" – Love your fellow Jew as you love yourself.
Rabbi Stewart Weiss
Was ordained at the Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Illinois, and led congregations in Chicago and Dallas prior to making Aliyah in 1992. He directs the Jewish Outreach Center in Ra'anana, helping to facilitate the spiritual absorption of new olim.
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