Shalom and Bracha!
we read the portions of Acharei and Kedoshim. In the portion of
Acharei the Yom Kippur sacrifice is discussed at length, as is
the Jewish moral code. An interesting can be learned from the
Yom Kippur service. The Kohen Gadol (high priest) performed
every aspect of the Yom Kippur offering. Many aspects were
performed throughout the Temple, and certain aspects were
performed in the holy of holies. Each time he entered the holy
of holies, he had to go to the Mikveh, put on special garments,
and make other preparations. The holiest service of the day was
when he offered the incense. Later in the day, he reentered the
holy of holies solely to remove the incense burner. When he
reentered, he made all of the same preparations as when he burnt
the incense. This teaches us that any Mitzvah that we do for
G-d, however insignificant it may seem to us, is a complete and
total service in His eyes and warrants full respect.
portion of Kedoshim we are commanded to be a holy people, both
in our relationship with Hashem and in our deeds towards our
fellow man. The Ramban explains that every time we refrain from
selfish pleasures and dedicate our energy to Hashem, we fulfill
the commandment to be holy. Similarly, when we train our
emotions, replacing selfishness, jealousy and anger with caring,
compassion and patience we practice being holy. This self
subjugation brings a tremendous divine light into the world.
portion of Kedoshim we find a very special Mitzvah, loving our
fellow Jew as ourselves. Rabbi Akiva said that this Mitzvah is
the great principal of the Torah, and Hillel said that
the entire Torah is an explanation of this Mitzvah. Seemingly,
this Mitzvah is very difficult to understand. How can Hashem
command me to have an emotion? Further, why is the entire Torah
connected to this Mitzvah?
Our emotions are effected by our thoughts. Hillel, in
expressing this Mitzvah, said “Don’t treat others in a manner
which you hate. The Tzemach Tzedek (the third Lubavitcher Rebbe)
explained Hillel’s words. We all resent when people dwell on our
faults. Although we make mistakes, we want others to concentrate
on the positive things that we have accomplished, not the
negative. Hillel teaches us to treat others the same way. Rather
than thinking about their faults, ignore their faults and think
about the good that they have done. Suddenly, it becomes much
easier to stop hating and start loving.
In order to love someone as ourselves,
we must come to a higher awareness as to who we are. The entire
Jewish people are one entity working to perfect the world
through Torah and Mitzvot and prepare the world for Moshiach’s
coming. This awareness is the foundation of the entire Torah.
Although some of us are less active in our mission, we are all
parts of one body. As such, love for a fellow Jew is
actually love for ourselves.
The Temple was destroyed because of wanton hatred and will be
rebuilt because of Ahavat Yisrael. Let’s each do something
special for Jewish unity and may we speedily see the coming of
There is Always
This Sunday is Pesach Sheini, the second Pesach. We do not
say Tachanun on Pesach Sheini. It is customary to eat a piece of
Matzah. After the Jewish people built the Tabernacle in the
desert, Hashem commanded them to bring the Pesach sacrifice. A
group of Jews came to Moshe with a complaint. “We are impure,
and therefore we cannot bring the Pesach offering. Why should we
be excluded from offering Hashem’s sacrifice in the appropriate
time?” Moshe responded that he would ask Hashem. Hashem
responded that if someone was impure of far away at the time of
Pesach, a month later they could bring the Passover sacrifice
and it was to be eaten with Matzah and bitter herbs.
This story has a powerful lesson. The Gemarra explains that the people
who were impure had a good reason. They were busy transporting
Yosef’s bones to Israel. They could have easily sat out this
Pesach and felt that they had done their job. When an
opportunity for a Mitzvah arises, even when we have a just
reason not to participate, it should bother us that we can’t
participate. A Mitzvah is a privilege and not a burden, and as
such we should ask “Why should we be excluded?” Similarly, if
our level in Torah learning is limited due to our background or
faculties, we should not be satisfied to stay on our plane. We
must ask of Hashem “Why should we be excluded?” Rabbi Akiva
began studying at the age of forty and became the greatest sage
Similarly, when others are at a height in service of Hashem which is much
higher than our own, be it in prayer, fulfilling of Mitzvot, or
helping others, we should ask ourselves and Hashem “Why should
we be excluded?” If we ask with full sincerity, Hashem will
create an opportunity for us to reach any level.
When the Torah describes the Mitzvah of Pesach Sheini, it says that
someone who is on a distant path “Lachem (of yours)” (and
therefore is not in Yerushalayim to offer the Pesach) he can
bring a Pesach Sheini. The Gemarra explains that the word Lachem
refers to someone who deliberately skipped the Pesach.
Deliberately skipping the Pesach sacrifice is a serious sin, one
of the only two for which the soul receives Karet. (The other is
circumcision). Nevertheless, when the person does Teshuvah and
seeks to make up his lost opportunity, Hashem creates for him a
new opportunity to return.
The same applies to our wish for the coming of Moshiach. Other
generations witnessed the glory of Hashem’s revelation and the
miracles in the Temple. They were able to fulfill all of the
Mitzvot, not just a small percent. Soon the world will taste the
bliss of universal harmony with the coming of Moshiach. We must
cry out to Hashem “Why should we be excluded!” Just as He
answered then, He will surely answer us now!!
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Nefashot and Kiddush Hashem they are performing.
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