Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Acharei Mot

“There can be no-one else in the Tent of Encounter when he comes to atone in the Sanctuary” Leviticus 16:17

    Acharei Mot, literally “after the deaths”, introduces the laws of Yom Kippur against the backdrop of the deaths of the son’s of Aaron. What is the connection between the two?

    The climax of the inaugural week of the Tabernacle, the eighth day, forms the core of Torah. Almost a third of Torah took place on that single day.

    We first met the day in the last chapter of Shemot (Exodus). In that depiction God’s Presence arrived in the Tabernacle and no one could enter. The goal of the book of Shemot was the creation of a nation committed to bring the Presence of God into the midst of humanity. From that perspective, once “the glory of God filled the Tabernacle” (40:35), the job has been done. Living in proximity to God’s Presence can inspire the greatness and Godliness within each of us.

    Vayikra (Leviticus) offers a different paradigm. Right from the start God calls out to man, longingly. It is not inspiration, but intimacy that is sought. In the book of Vayikra the inaugural eighth day is revisited. Suddenly it is the day man could engage with God in loving embrace, entering the Holy of Holies.

    Yet it ended in tragedy. Aaron’s two sons died during the festivities, for little more than overly spontaneous behaviour, bringing a “foreign fire that was not requested”. Relationship demands a profound respect for the boundaries of the other. Self-expression can be no excuse for violation.

    The Yom Kippur service is an annual invitation from God to Israel to rejoin and reconnect at the deepest level. After Vayikra, Torah does not refer to itself as religion (dat), rather as relationship (brit). Relationship demands creativity, self-expression and spontaneity, but it requires developing a profound sensitivity to the requests, demands and boundaries of the Other.

    RELATED STORIES

  • Sidrah

    Toldot

    Rabbi Joseph Dweck

    Thursday, December 1, 2016

    Toldot
  • Sidrah

    Chayei Sarah

    Rabbi Debbie Young Somers

    Thursday, November 24, 2016

    Chayei Sarah
  • Sidrah

    Vayera

    Rabbi Joseph Wolfson

    Thursday, November 17, 2016

    Vayera
Sidrah

Lech Lecha

Rabbi Daniella Kolodny

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Lech Lecha
Sidrah

Chol Hamo'ed

Rabbi Mark Solomon

Friday, October 21, 2016

Chol Hamo'ed
Sidrah

Nitzavim

Rabbi Larry Tabick

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Nitzavim
Sidrah

Noach

Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Noach
Sidrah

Ha'azinu

Rabbi Daniel Roselaar

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ha'azinu
Sidrah

Ki Tavo

Maureen Kendler

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Ki Tavo
Sidrah

Bereshit

Rabbi Joseph Dweck

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Bereshit
Sidrah

Vayelech

Dr Lynndy Levin

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Vayelech
Sidrah

Ki Tetzei

Rabbi Mark Solomon

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Ki Tetzei