Weekly Torah Portion: Acharei-Kedoshim (Leviticus 16:1-20:27)


This week we have a double-portion. Acharei Mot: In this Torah portion, God speaks to Moses after the death of Aaron’s two sons, who were killed for coming too close to the presence of God. God instructs Moses and Aaron the procedures surrounding Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. God describes all the laws surrounding sexual prohibitions. Read an extensive summary on My Jewish Learning
Kedoshim: God describes to Moses many ethical and ritual laws aimed to help people live lives of holiness. The laws described include some of those recorded in the Ten Commandments, such as respecting one’s parents, keeping the Sabbath, and not stealing. God also introduces laws about farming and about belief in supernatural beings. Read an extensive summary of Kedoshim in My Jewish Learning

Related D’var Torah

“Do we treat human beings, who have immigrated from one country to another, with dignity and with respect? Or with indifference, suspicion, or contempt?” – Rabbi Heather Miller in 2013. Read the full drash

“Death,sex, violence and rules, All elements needed for a great movie? Well, not this time. It’s an overly brief outline of this week’s parash.” – Ginger Jacobs in 2003. Read the full drash

“This parish made me reflect on how I interact with other on a daily basis. The kindnesses and the slights.” – Lauren Schlau in 2001. Read the full drash

Torah Verse of the Week*

“The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love them as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am Adonai your God.” (Leviticus 19:34; Parshiyot Achrei Mot – Kedoshim)

Other Suggested Readings

I have spent a considerable amount of time wondering why the chapter dealing with the holiest day in the year and the holiest space in the place of worship started with the words “Acharei Mot.” Why does the text deliberately add a sentence to connect the earlier event with the present moment? Read on Leah Zimmerman’s blog ‘Experiencing Torah’

The dreaded verse, “Do not lie with a male as one lies with a woman; it is an abhorrence (Lev. 18:22)” appears in this week’s Torah portion, Acharei Mot. Read from the archive of Telephone Torah Study on this portion.

“How sad that this one verse still causes such pain, though it comes in the midst of a long list of other prohibitions, few of which are given much attention today” – Rabbi Lisa in a commentary in the Jewish Journal in 2014. Read the full article

*Torah Verse of the Week is chosen by the Torah class during Tuesdays’ studies with Rabbi Lisa Edwards. Check out when our next Torah Study takes place

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