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Parashat Achrei Mot-Kedoshim - 5777

Dear friends,

This Shabbat we again have a double Parasha - Aharei Mot and Kedoshim.

The first Parasha deals mostly with the service at the Temple on Yom Kippur, followed by laws regarding permitted and forbidden marriages.

The second Parasha, Kedoshim, is filled with many mitzvot dealing with the concept of Kedusha, holiness. Moses is instructed to tell the entire community, "Kedoshim Tihyu (Be Holy) kee Kadosh Anee, Adonay Eloheichem (because I the L-rd your G-d am holy)."

You would think that the laws that would follow such a command would deal with dos and don'ts that have to do with human's relationship to G-d; however, most of the laws in this chapter deal with relationships between humans. The way to holiness, therefore, is how we treat other people.

Many statements are concluded with the words 'Anee Adonay' - 'I am G-d' – as if to say, do these things because I am G-d - because I said so.

One of the most famous of these commandments is in Leviticus, chapter 19 verse 18:  "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your countrymen. 'Veahavta Lereacha Kamocha' - Love your fellow as yourself: I am the L-rd."

I saw a beautiful interpretation of this verse. Even when you have reason to be angry at someone and wish to take vengeance or keep a grudge, use the love you have for G-d to turn your anger and hate to love. That is why, rather than just forgive and forget, we are commanded to love that person - because of the love that we have for G-d.

Every human being in the course of a lifetime must have reason to be angry with G-d because of some disappointment or sadness in our life. However, can a human being take vengeance or keep a grudge against G-d? Of course not!  We pray for a better future and continue to love G-d. That is what is expected of us when it comes to dealing with other human beings.

Remember these words: "Veahavta Lereacha Camocha" - Love your fellow as yourself.

Shabbat Shalom,