Published Date: April 13, 2018
In this Shabbat’s weekly Torah portion Achrei Mot-Kedoshim Leviticus 16:1–20:27, following the deaths of Nadav and Avihu, God warns against unauthorized entry “into the holy.” Only one person, the kohen gadol (“high priest”), may—but once a year, on Yom Kippur—enter the innermost chamber in the Sanctuary to offer the sacred ketoret to God.
Another feature of the Day of Atonement service is the casting of lots over two goats, to determine which should be offered to God and which should be dispatched to carry off the sins of Israel to the wilderness.
In this week’s Haftara Prophets reading Amos 9:7-15, foretells the exiles and punishments that will befall the Jews because they strayed after the ways of the heathens — behavior that this week’s Torah reading proscribes.
The prophet Amos delivers God’s message, reminding the people of God’s kindness to them — taking them out of Egypt and singling them out as His chosen nation. Nevertheless, because of their misdeeds, . God will destroy the Northern Kingdom of Israel; but will not completely destroy the house of Jacob. The Jews will be scattered amongst the nations, but eventually they will return to their land — on the day of the redemption. God will then reinstall the House of David to its former glory and there shall be peace and abundance upon the land.