Summary of The Weekly Torah Reading:
Parshas Acharei Mos-Kedoshim
Note: The Shabbos Torah Reading is divided into 7 sections. Each section
is called an Aliya [literally: Go up] since for each Aliya, one person
"goes up" to make a bracha [blessing] on the Torah Reading.
1st Aliya:The service of Yom Kippur that was performed by the Kohain Gadol
in the Bais Hamikdash is described. The Kohain Gadol may only enter into the
Holy of Holies wearing his plain linen garments requiring that he change his
garments five times and immerse in the Mikvah five times. The selection of
the he-goats for the primary Teshuva process is described. This portion of
the Torah makes up the "Avodah" that is the lengthy Musaf service on Yom
2nd Aliya:Following the description of the remaining services for Yom Kippur, the Torah discusses the prohibition of offering a Korban outside of
the Mishkan or the Bais Hamikdash. The only offerings allowed were those that
were brought to the Temple. The "Bamah", as an outside altar is called, was
among the most prevalent sins for which the Jews were guilty.
3rd Aliya: The prohibition against eating blood is repeated. The end of
Acharei Mos is devoted to a presentation of the fifteen prohibited sexual
relationships. There is no doubt that G-d considers physical intimacy between
a male and female as singularly important. Therefore, it is essential that
there be a framework of controls for satisfying the physical.
4th Aliya:Homosexuality and bestiality are prohibited. Verses 18: 24-29
clearly state the unique relationship that the inhabitants of Eretz Yisroel
have to the land and the consequences for defiling her sanctity. The
beginning of Kedoshim states that holiness is realized through keeping
Shabbos, being in awe of one's parents, and not worshipping idols. Laws of
charity, honesty, and paying wages on time are stated.
5th Aliya:Showing any deference while administering justice is forbidden as
well as our responsibility to properly reprimand each other. The prohibitions
against wearing shatnez - any mixture of wool and linen, cutting sideburns
(payot) tattooing, premarital sex, and the use of the occult are stated.
6th and 7th Aliya:Proper and equal treatment for the convert, honesty in
business, and the prohibition against worshiping the Molech are stated. The
remainder of Kedoshim states the specific punishments that Bait Din would
administer for engaging in any of the fifteen sexual relationships listed at
the end of Acharei Mos.
The very end of Kedoshim (20: 22-26) explains the concept of holiness as the
means for being separate from the other nations. Three basic formats for
Kedusha exist: Time, place, and person. Acharei Mos began by presenting the
ultimate integration of the three in the person of the Kohain Gadol entering
the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur. The end of Kedoshim states that Eretz
Yisroel (place) the Bnai Yisroel (person) and time in general are intended to
reflect the integration of G-dliness into the daily lives of individuals and
nations. To the extent that we realize our mission as the kingdom of priests
and a holy nation will be the degree to which we retain the right to dwell in
the land of Israel.
Parsha Summary by Rabbi Aron Tendler