Weekly Parsha Summary

Following the deaths of Nadav and Avihu, Hashem 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 Mishkan to offer the sacred ketores to Hashem.

Another feature of the Day of Atonement service is the casting of lots over two goats, to determine which should be offered to Hashem and which should be dispatched to carry off the sins of Jewish people to the wilderness.

The Parshah of Achrei also warns against bringing korbonos (animal or meal offerings) anywhere but in the Holy Temple, forbids the consumption of blood, and details the laws prohibiting incest and other deviant sexual relations.

The Parshah of Kedoshim begins with the statement: “You shall be holy, for I, Hashem your Gd, am holy.” This is followed by dozens of mitzvos (divine commandments) through which the Jew sanctifies him- or herself and relates to the holiness of Hashem.

These include: the prohibition against idolatry, the mitzvah of charity, the principle of equality before the law, Shabbas, sexual morality, honesty in business, honor and awe of one’s parents, and the sacredness of life.

Also in Kedoshim is the dictum which the great sage Rabbi Akiva called a cardinal principle of Torah, and of which Hillel said, “This is the entire Torah, the rest is commentary”—“Love your fellow as yourself.”

Rabbi's Shabbos Message

Sholom Aleichem !

When we come home Shabbos night, we sing Shalom Aleichim. In the song, we welcome the angels who walked us home from shul, we invite them in, we ask for their bracha, and we then ask them to leave. The famous question arises, why do we ask them to leave?

The Chofetz Chaim answers. When Yaakov saw angels ascending the ladder in his dream, those were the angels of Eretz Yisroel leaving him. Similarly, the angels descending the ladder were the angels for outside of Eretz Yisroel, and they were going to continue to escort him out. So too on Shabbos, we invite the angels of Shabbos in our homes, and we escort the angels of the week out.

Rav Pincus offers another explanation. Rav Pincus draws parallels between Shabbos and the Beis HaMikdash. When the Cohen Gadol would enter the Kadosh HaKedoshim on Yom Kippur, it was him and him alone.

"And no man shall be in the Ohel Moed when he enters to atone in the holy place, until he exits." (Vayikra 16 17)

The Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni, Iyov 908) says that when the pasuk states 'man', it includes even angels. It's at this one moment of the year, the Cohen Gadol, representing the Jewish people, is completely alone with Hashem. It is the most intimate moment between Hashem and his people.

On Shabbos night, as mentioned above, we are escorted home from shul by two angels. When we come home, we say "Shalom Aleicheim!, Bo'achem l'Shalom (enter with peace), Barchuni l'Shalom (bless us with peace)..." and then in the words of Rav Pincus, "And then we say to them, 'My dear angels, we are about to recite Kiddush and begin the Shabbos meal. This is the meal of Hashem. At this meal, 'No man shall be in the Ohel Moed'. Therefore we bid you goodbye 'Tzeischem l'Shalom!' The time has come for you to leave, because this is the moment when Hashem is alone with His beloved people, and even angels cannot be present at this holy time."

How powerful is that?

Try having that in mind when you sing Shalom Aleichem this Shabbos. It will help change your entire view on Shabbos.

With that, I bid you all an uplifting Shabbos!

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