Acharei Mot – Kedoshim – The Power of Cleansing and Unconditional Love

by Avatar of Swerdlow Swerdlow on Apr 30 - 12:04 pm UTC

Kedoshim 2

Acharei Mot – Kedoshim – The Power of Cleansing and Unconditional Love

The weekly Torah portion is more than a story. It is a coded text with a specific energy and wisdom that can be personally applied to improve our lives each and every week.

Acharei Mot – Power of Cleansing -This week we read a double portion, Acharei Mot and Kedoshim. Acharei Mot, which means “after death” is also read on Yom Kippur, considered by many to be the Holiest Day of the Jewish year. The portion describes the Yom Kippur service, specifically the process of the High Priest, the sacrifices and prayers. Why do we read and connect now in the Spring to the same portion read on Yom Kippur which is six months away? Yom Kippur is a day of atonement – also read as “at one-ment”, when we become one with G-d and connect to our highest selves. It is a day of fasting and prayer in order to make amends and seek forgiveness for wrongs done to G-d and all of the people in our lives. It is an opportunity to clean the slate and start anew – unencumbered by misdeeds from the prior year.

Similarly, Acharei Mot is read this year during the Omer, a 49-day period of self reflection and cleansing that extends from Pesach to Shavuot. By reading this portion during the Omer and connecting to the Yom Kippur service, we have the opportunity to tap into the energy of cleansing and purification. The Omer is often a challenging time where we may find ourselves faced with anger, jealousy or discontent. By reading this portion which describes the Yom Kippur service we can overcome these challenges and reconnect to our un-adulterated selves, becoming aligned with endless fulfillment, health and prosperity.

Kedoshim – The Power of Unconditional Love – The portion of Kedoshim sets forth dozens of commandments in connection with sanctifying oneself and relating to the holiness of G-d. Specifically, the portion addresses idolatry, charity, Shabbat, sexual morality, honesty in business, respect for one’s parents and the sacredness of life. The word Kedoshim means “holy”.

The primary rule and wisdom of the Torah is found in the following sentence in this week’s portion – “You should love your fellow (neighbor) as you love yourself”. The great Kabbalist Rabbi Akiva called this the cardinal principal of Torah, while Hillel, one of the leading Jewish scholars, said “[t]his is the entire Torah, the rest is commentary”. It really is that simple. When we love and share with others the same way we’d like to be loved and shared with, then we can become holy and find true happiness and fulfillment. It is beautiful to note that the word “love” in Hebrew is “ahava”, which has the numerical value of 13. When we love others as we love ourselves, we get 2x love or 26. G-d’s holiest name (the Yud Kei Vav Kei) also has the numerical value of 26 so that when we love others as we love ourselves, we connect to the energy of G-d, which is unconditional love.

This Torah principle of loving your neighbor as you love yourself is all we need to understand this week. A story in the Talmud describes how Hillel shared this simple message from Kedoshim when challenged by a heathen to teach him the entire Torah while standing on one foot.

Have a great week!

 

Resources and Credits

The Weekly Wisdom emails and the ideas and concepts presented herein are compiled from a variety of sources in addition to the ideas and philosophies of the editorial staff of Torah.com. We would like to specifically credit and source the following works:

Gutnick Edition Chumash with Rashi’s commentary, Targum Onkelos, and commentary anthologized from Classic Rabbinic Texts and the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Apples from the Orchard – Gleanings from the Mystical Teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria on the Weekly Torah Portion
Kabbalistic Bible, Edited by Yehuda Berg – Kabbalah Centre International, Inc
Chabad.org
LiveKabbalah.org
Other online written and video content that discusses and shares Kabbalistic Wisdom

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Richard Swerdlow

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