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Parashat Achrei Mot-Kedoshim - 5775

My friends,

This is another double portion week. Acharei Mot deals with the service at the Temple on Yom Kippur, describing the role of the Kohanim in bringing atonement for the people. This is the only day when the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies, where the ark is kept.

While the first Parasha deals with the Temple service and laws that are between humans and G-d, the second Parasha, Kedoshim, deals with laws between humans that can help us reach Kedusha, holiness - behaviors that are essential to living in holiness.

The first verse in Kedoshim states categorically, "be holy because I, your G-d am holy." What follows are more than 50 Mitzvot - positive and negative commandments that help us reach holiness.

In this Parasha we find the famous Mitzvah of VEAHAVTA LEREA-CHA KAMOCHA, "Love your fellow being as yourself." According to our great sage Rabbi Akiva, this is one of the most important Mitzvot in the Torah.

Is it possible to love someone else as oneself?

The great sage Hillel urges us to start by refraining from doing anything to others that we do not wish others to do to us. That is the first step in creating an environment where people are sensitive and avoid harming or insulting others.

The next step in holiness is to judge others righteously, helping others with acts of kindness and giving people the benefit of the doubt.

Our sages point out that these laws are universal. We are commanded to treat all human beings equally, as they were all created in G-d's image.

May you always be treated righteously.

Shabbat Shalom,

Avram