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Parshat Acharei Mot

PARSHA ON PARADE IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY
OF MY DEAR FATHER AND REBBI:
HARAV HAGAON RAV YESHAYA SHIMANOWITZ Z'TZL ,
ROSH YESHIVA
IN
YESHIVAS RABAINU YAAKOV YOSEF
(RABBI JACOB JOSEPH YESHIVA - RJJ)
IN NYC FOR OVER 23 YEARS.
NIFTAR ON 20 ADAR 5758 - MARCH 18, 1998.
MAY HE BE A MAYLITZ YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL.

AND

MY DEAR MOTHER
REBITZEN BRACHA ETEL SHIMANOWITZ A'H
WHO DEVOTED HER ENTIRE LIFE TO MY FATHER AND HIS TORAH,
NIFTERA ON 21 TEVET 5770 - WED EVE. JANUARY 6, 2010.
MAY SHE BE A MAYLITZA YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL


Menachim Z. Shimanowitz

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PARSHA
FACTS

NUMBER OF MITZVOT: 28
2 MITZVOT ASEH (POSITIVE COMMANDMENT)
26 MITZVOT LO TAASEH (NEGATIVE COMMANDMENT - PROHIBITION)

NUMBER OF PESUKIM (SENTENCES): 80

NUMBER OF WORDS: 1170

NUMBER OF LETTERS: 4294

HAFTORA:(Additional portion, from Prophets, which is read after the Parsha)
AFTER PARSHAT KEDOSHIM
Amos 9:7 - 15 (Ashkenazim);
Yechezkel / Ezekiel 20:2 - 20 (Sepharadim)


פסח שני Pesach Sheni is Sunday, 14 Iyar - April 29, 2018.

ל״ג בעומר Lag B'Omer is Thursday, May 3, 2018.


This Shabbat we study Chapter 3 of Pirkei Avot - "Ethics of the Fathers."


פרשת אחרי מות THE
PARSHA
In our last episode, the leper really showed his spots as we were introduced to that Lashon Hora disease, Tzara'at. The stakes were high for the miser when his house started breaking out with red or green spots and he either did Teshuva (repented) or else the house came down.

Now, speaking about Teshuva.......


YOM
KIPPUR
AVODAH

As our Parsha opens we return to the 1st day of Nissan where Aharon has just lost two sons, Nadav and Avihu.

Hashem tells Moshe to warn Aharon not to make the same mistake his two sons have made. Do not enter the Kodesh Hakodoshim without permission. The Kohain Gadol is the only one who can enter the Kodesh Hakodoshim - but ONLY on Yom Kippur, and ONLY to perform the special Yom Kippur Avodah .

With this introduction the Torah goes into a Yom Kippur mode, teaching Aharon and all his descendants the Yom Kippur Avodah to be performed in the Mishkan and in the Bait Hamikdash.

To begin, the Kohain Gadol runs the Korbanot show on Yom Kippur - the most important Avodah of the year must be performed by the holiest of the Kohanim.


DRESSED
TO
FULFILL

On Yom Kippur the Kohain Gadol wears eight garments.
Four contain gold and four do not.

The garments with gold are:

  • Me'il - A coat that has gold bells at the bottom.

  • Choshen - The breastplate contains gold thread and clasps.

  • Aifod - An apron that's got gold thread and gold shoulder harnesses.

  • Tzitz - A headplate made completely of gold.

On Yom Kippur the Kohain Gadol takes off these four garments before he enters the Kodesh Hakodoshim. This leaves him in four white linen garments:

  • Michnasayim - white linen pants.

  • Kutonet - a long linen shirt.

  • Avnait - a belt of linen prepared specially for Yom Kippur.

  • Miznefet - a turban of linen.

On Yom Kippur the Kohain Gadol changes his clothes FIVE times, and at every change immersed himself in a Mikvah.

Before and after each change he also washed his hands and feet.


THE
YOM
KIPPUR
LOTTERY

Two goats are the stars of this part of the show. The Kohain Gadol stands in the Azarah (courtyard) with an assistant kohain to his right and the leader of the kohanim on duty that week on his left.

You've got two goats, one is going to be dedicated to Hashem and the other is going to be sent to "Azazel." - But which will be which?

LotteryA box is placed before the Kohain Gadol. It's got only two wooden lots (pieces of wood) inside, one lot says "L'Hashem"(for Hashem), the other says "L'Azazel" (for Azazel). The Kohain Gadol puts both hands into the box and takes one lot in each hand. The lot in his right hand is placed on the head of the goat on the right. The lot in the left hand is placed on the head of the goat on the left.

The Kohain Gadol announces the goat marked "L'Hashem" will be used as a korban chatat. Later, the goat is slaughtered and its blood is sprinkled in the Kodesh Hakodoshim.

AzazelThe "L'Azazel" goat is led out to the desert by a special messenger who is chosen before Yom Kippur. This messenger's job is to push the goat off a cliff where the animal will be smashed to the rocks below.

Pretty disturbing, eh? Well, it all goes to wake up Klal Yisrael (US - you and me) to do Teshuva (repent). The thought that it should really be us instead of that goat gets the Teshuva juices going!


ENTERING
THE
KODESH
HAKODOSHIM

As we said, the Kohain Gadol only enters the Kodesh Hakodoshim ONE day during the year. That is on Yom Kippur.

On Yom Kippur the Kohain Gadol enters a total of FOUR times:

  • The first time he offers a Korban Ketoret (Incense Offering). This is the highlight of the Yom Kippur Avodah (service).

  • The next time he sprinkles the blood of the bull he personally offers as a Chatat. The blood is sprinkled eight times before the Aron Hakodesh (Holy Ark).

  • The third time is when the blood of the "L'Hashem" goat is sprinkled eight times before the Aron Hakodesh.

  • The fourth time he enters, is to retrieve the spoon and pan he left in the Kodesh Hakodoshim after the Korban Ketoret.

FIRST
TIME -
THE
INCENSE
OFFERING

Offering the incense is the highlight of the Yom Kippur Avodah.

The Kohain Gadol enters the Kodesh Hakodoshim with a spoonful of Ketoret (incense) in his left hand and a pan of hot coals in his right. He places the pan on the floor between the poles in front the Aron Hakodesh. Then, in a rehearsed feat, he transfers the Ketoret from the spoon into his two hands.

This is how it's done:

KertoresThe Kohain Gadol sticks the handle of the spoon under his right arm and bends over so that the contents spill into his cupped hands. It's a pretty neat trick but don't take it too lightly because if he spilled a drop of incense, Hashem might just zap him dead.

Incense Next, the Kohain Gadol pours the incense from his hands onto the coals. The smoke from the pan rises straight up to the ceiling. If the smoke fills the entire Kodesh Hakodoshim then the Kohain Gadol knows that Hashem has forgiven the sins of Klal Yisroel (The Jewish People).

The Kohain Gadol then leaves the Kodesh Hakodoshim slowly, walking backwards. As he enters the Kodesh area he stops to daven (pray) for a year of plentiful food for all the Jewish People.


SECOND
TIME -
THE
CHATAT
OFFERING

The next time the Kohain Gadol enters the Kodesh Hakodoshim, he stands before the Aron Hakodesh and sprinkles the blood of the bull from his own Chatat, with his finger. The Kohain Gadol counts out loud and in an interesting way.

With his finger he sprinkles toward the Aron Hakodesh (Holy Ark) once upward and seven times downward, counting loudly.

Again the Kohain Gadol leaves the Kodesh Hakodoshim backwards. Once he enters the Kodesh he sprinkles some of the bull's blood and then some of the goat's blood on the Parochet (curtain) of the Kodesh Hakodoshim, once up and seven times down, counting loudly.


THIRD
TIME -
THE
"L'HASHEM"
GOAT

The third time the Kohain Gadol enters the Kodesh Hakodoshim he stands before the Aron Hakodesh (Holy Ark) and sprinkles the blood of the "L'Hashem" goat with his finger toward the Aron Hakodesh (Holy Ark), once upward and seven times downward, counting loudly.

Again the Kohain Gadol leaves the Kodesh Hakodoshim backwards. Once he enters the Kodesh he sprinkles some of the bull's blood and then some of the goat's blood on the Parochet of the Kodesh Hakodoshim, once up and seven times down, counting loudly.

Then he mixes the blood of the goat and the bull and puts some on the corners of the Incense Mizbayach (Altar).

The Kohain Gadol also sprinkles some of the mixture into the center of the Mizbayach seven times.


FOURTH
TIME -
CLEAN UP

The fourth and final time the Kohain Gadol enters the Kodesh Hakodoshim on Yom Kippur he collects the spoon and pan used earlier for the Korban Ketoret.

LET'S NOT
FORGET
THE MUSSAF

Before the Kohain Gadol started with the special Yom Kippur Korbanot, he has the standard Korbanot that are offered in the Bait Hamikdash every day as well as the Mussaf Korbanot to offer.

Besides the daily korbanot, (Tamid and Minchat Chavitin among others), the Kohain Gadol also brings a Korban Mussaf for the entire Bnei Yisroel. This consists of a bull, a ram, seven sheep and a goat.

Then he brings two Korbanot that he pays for personally.

1. He offered a bull as a Korban Chatat.

The Kohain Gadol pushes his hands on the bull's head and recited Viduy, asking forgiveness for his sins, and the sins of his family, and the sins of all the Kohanim.

2. A ram is burnt completely as a Korban Olah.


IN THE
NAME OF
HASHEM

Only the Kohain Gadol ever pronounces the name of Hashem. When we daven or read the Torah, we pronounce Hashem's name as A-doh-noy.

But on Yom Kippur, the Kohain Gadol says the real thing - Yud Hay Vav Hay. This name is said three times during each Viduy.

Since the Kohain Gadol says Viduy three times, once for himself, once for his family and once for all the Kohanim, that makes nine times that he says Hashem's name. Then after the Lots are picked, he announces "This goat is L'Hashem." That "L'Hashem" is also pronounced with Hashem's name, making it a tenth time.

Whenever the people in the Azara (courtyard) of the Bait Hamikdash heard the Holy name, they would fall on their faces and cry out "Baruch Shem K'vod Malchuto L'Olam Vaed - Blessed is the name [of Hashem] whose glorious Kingdom lasts forever and ever."


ALL'S
FORGIVEN

When the entire Avodah is finished there is a big sigh of relief.

Throughout history many a Kohain Gadol has gone into the Kodesh Hakodoshim and not come out. If a Kohain Gadol makes it through the entire Avodah in one piece, it's a sure sign that he's doing something right and that Hashem will forgive Klal Yisroel for their sins.

As the Kohain Gadol leaves the Bait Hamikdash, the crowds kiss his hand to show their gratefulness. When he gets home he invites friends and family to a feast and they share the joy of a successful day.

Now, since we don't have the Bait Hamikdash, and a Kohain Gadol to pray for us, we recite the Yom Kippur Avodah in the Mussaf prayers of Yom Kippur.

Hashem tells us that each of us must Fast and not do any work on the Tenth of Tishrei - Yom Kippur.


A FEW
NEW LAWS

Hashem forbids us to make any sacrifices except in the Mishkan or in the Bait Hamikdash.

Hashem adds warnings about eating blood. A Jew is not allowed to eat an animal's blood.

Bird and animal meat have to be salted in order to remove the blood that remains after Sh'chitah (slaughter).

We are not allowed to eat N'veilah - An animal that has died on its own or was slaughtered in the wrong way.

If an animal is killed by another animal, or if it is missing any vital organs or if it is injured so that it won't survive 12 months, it is called a T'reifah. Even if this animal is slaughtered properly.

If a deer or bird is slaughtered it is a Mitzvah to cover its blood. We are not required to do so to a domesticated animal

This is out of respect, since we require blood to live.


MORE
LAWS

Hashem lists marriages that are forbidden and marriages that are allowed. Basically, you can't marry your Mother, Stepmother, Sister, Daughter, Aunt or Daughter-in-law.

I know this next one sound a little kookie but in the old days nations used to serve an idol called molech. The priests used to go around to parents and say, "Molech needs your children to pass through his fire walls. He will be happy if you send them through, and angry if you don't.

Guess what... Hashem forbids the whole concept! You can't give kids to molech's fires (even if they won't be injured) and you can't imitate the non-Jews!


LIVE
BY THE
TORAH

The Torah wants us to know that, for the most part, we should NOT put our lives on the line to avoid an Avairah (sin).

If Kuppie the Greek comes along with a non-Kosher ice cream bar and says "eat it or die," you better start eating.


EXCEPT...............

Three very serious Avairot (sins) that a Jew MUST NEVER commit, even if he has to DIE.

These are:

  • Forbidden Marriages.

  • Murder.

  • Idol Worship.

HERE'S
YOUR
REWARD

Hashem promises us that we will live by the Mitzvot. Some rabbis say this is talking about Olam HaBah, -- - the rewards of the next world. Others say it is a reference to a time when the dead will rise once again and we will live forever in the light of Hashem's Shechina.

Go on to the next Parsha where Hashem teaches us how to be a Holy Nation in the next exciting episode of:

Parsha on Parade

Midrash Maven
See the Midrash Mavin on Acharei Mot


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