Pearls of Rasahi: Parshas Acharei-Kedoshim II

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This week’s Torah portion, Acharei-Kedoshim, begins by telling us the G-d told Moshe to relay to his brother Aharon, the Kohen Gadol, the service he would need to perform on Yom Kippur. The Torah tells us that this took place after the passing of Aharon’s two elder sons[1], “And the Lord spoke to Moshe after the death of Aharon’s two sons …”

Why is it essential for us to know that Hashem said this after the death of Aharon’s two sons? Rashi quotes Rabbi Elozor ben Azariah, who explained it with a parable of two doctors visiting a patient. The first doctor told the patient not to eat cold foods or lie down in a chilly, damp place. The second doctor told him the same. However, he added the words “so that he should not die the way so-and-so died.” The patient listened to the second doctor. Likewise, Aharon and every subsequent High Priest would be careful not to enter the Holy of Holies besides Yom Kippur.

Why did Rashi need to use a parable involving two doctors? It would be enough to tell us what the second doctor said! Likewise, why did Rashi’s analogy have to discuss sick people at all? Seemingly, a healthy person being warned not to do something which could G-d forbid cost his life would have accomplished the same thing!

One who is ill will generally have a fever. No matter what the doctor tells him, he will want to cool himself off. It is only by warning him that eating cold food or laying down somewhere cold could have the ultimate adverse effect on him that he will listen. Likewise, the Kohen Gadol is sick; he is lovesick for G-d. He may feel that the only way to cool his passion is by entering the Holy of Holies, even on a day other than Yom Kippur. Therefore, the Torah warns him of the consequences of Aharon’s two elder sons, which causes him to heed the Torah’s command.

We must all dedicate our lives to bringing G-d’s presence into this world, just as a Kohen does. Hashem desired a dwelling place for Himself below[2], in a physical world that seems separate from Him. This is very much akin to the job of transforming a physical Tabernacle and Temple into a place of G-dly revelation. However, we must also bear in mind that our genuine desire must be leaving our mundane existence and cleaving to Hashem. In the words of the Mishnah[3], “we live against our will.” However, because of G-d’s Will, we must remain in this world without entering the Holy of Holies.

I wish one and all a good Shabbos and a healthy summer!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 7, Page 117 ff.


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

IN HONOR OF 

The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris 

DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS 

Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris 

לזכות

חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס

נדפס ע”י הוריהם

הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס

Dedicated by Mr. Raziel שיחי’ Gates


[1] . Vayikroh 16:1.

[2] . Midrash Tanchumah Parshas Naso 16. See also Bamidbar Rabbah Chapter 13, 6, and Tanya at the beginning of Chapter 36. See also Likkutei Sichos Volume 6, Page 18 where this is explained at length.  

[3] . Pirkei Avos at the end of Chapter 4.

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