In this Shabbat’s weekly Torah portion Acharei Mot, LEVITICUS 16:1-18:30 picks up following the deaths of Aaron’s older sons, Nadab and Abihu. It contains the instructions for the Yom Kippur — or Day of Atonement — service in the Tabernacle, and forbids slaughtering animal offerings outside the Tabernacle and the consumption of blood. It lists a series of forbidden relationships and other abominations condemned by God, and emphasizes the holiness of the Land of Israel.
Topic 1: The Yom Kippur Service
Our portion begins with the Yom Kippur service. God tells Moses to relate to Aaron and his surviving sons that they are not to enter the Holy of Holies, separated from the rest of the Tabernacle by a curtain, except on the Day of Atonement. Dressed in his white linen garments, which he dons after… Read More »
Topic 2: Offerings Outside the Tabernacle and Blood
Although God permits His people to eat meat, in this portion he instructs the people only to slaughter animals as peace offerings in the Tabernacle. Offerings brought outside the Tabernacle are considered bloodshed, and cause the person to be cut off from the nation. The Israel Bible explains the reasoning for this command. One purpose… Read More »
Topic 3: Abominations and the Holiness of the Land
This section begins with a command not to follow in the abominable ways of Egypt, from which God has taken the Children of Israel, or of Canaan, to which God is bringing them. Rather, they are to walk in God’s ways of holiness. From there, the text elaborates on forbidden relationships. These include adultery,… Read More »
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