Friday, May 5, 2017

Parshas Acharei Mos 5777


פּרשׁת אחרי מוֹת
Though the High Holidays are half a year away, the Torah portion we read this week reinforces our awareness of their importance by instructing us now about Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year.” (HaRav Dovid Nussbaum shlita; Sparks of Torah; p. 79).
For in a cloud I appear upon the Kapores.’
‘And it’s Midrash:  He shall not come except if with the Cloud of Incense, on Yom HaKippurim.’ (Rashi HaKadosh from Gemara Yoma 53a).
The Chofetz Chaim (HaRav Yisroel Meir HaKohen Kagan zt”l) notes that the first Service the Kohen Gadol performs when he goes into the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur is…… the Incense Service.  And Chazal have taught us that the Incense Service atones for the sin of Lashon Hara.
This is a lesson to us, Rav Yisroel Meir zt”l explains, just how severe Lashon Hara is. (From Shemiras HaLashon).
‘And Aharon shall put upon the two he-goats lots; one lot “for Hashem”, and one lot “for Azazel”.’
HaRav Shimshon Refoel Hirsch zt”l explains:  We should imagine the service -- two goats, nearly identical (as Mishnah Yoma teaches) brought before the Beis HaMikdash.  The Kohen Gadol draws the lots, one ‘for Hashem’ and one ‘for Azazel’.  
Now the goats part ways.  The goat that was ‘for Hashem’ is slaughtered as an offering to Hashem.  The second goat -- the one for Azazel, ‘stands alive’ as the verse says.
If this goat could think, it would likely be very happy that it was to remain alive!  If it could compare itself to the other goat, it would probably become very proud of itself.  It would say “Look at the difference between us! Certainly, he was brought on the holy Altar, but he lost his life in the process, while I, on the other hand, am alive and well!”
And after he was led to the mountainside of Yerushalayim, his pride would only expand within him.  What a wonderful thing, to step into the free country.  When he is taken up to the cliff, he feels even more fortunate, as he looks over the grand sight below him.  
Of course, if this goat knew what was going on, it would not be having these thoughts at all! One quick push off the cliff, and him and his pride are left splattered on the rocks below.
This is the story of a Jew’s life:  Two paths lie before every Jew; the path of serving Hashem, and the path of the people who lead a secular life, merely enjoying the pleasures of life.  The second group of people are far from Torah and Mitzvos.  
The first path sometimes requires sacrifice, such as not doing certain desires of ours, and having certain so-called ‘restrictions’.  However, all this is worth it, as through this, one merits gaining entrance into Hashem’s Holy Sanctuary.  These great people acquire good things in both worlds.
The people, who just go after their desires, may appear to be right at times, Chas V’Shalom, as they might have sweet-looking lives, because they are just doing what they want. But in the end, we see which way the lives of the members of the two camps go, i.e. the good people and bad people.
When the bubble of the bad people bursts, and they realize that the pleasures of life are but nothing, them and their dreams are left ‘splattered’.
The two goats on Yom Kippur, should remind us all of the ongoing battle between the Yetzer Tov, who tries to convince us to take the good path, that of the first goat, and the Yetzer Hara, who tries to convince us to go in the bad path, that of the second goat -– the one ‘for Azazel’. And we must always listen to our Yetzer Tov, and take the good path, serving Hashem to the best of our abilities. (From BiMaagalei HaShanah -- quoted in The Torah of Brisk and other Gedolim:  Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur).
‘And he shall send it, in the hand of a timely man, to the wilderness.’
Rebbe Lazer Brody shlita notes that the designated man to go with the goat for Azazel really isn’t talked about much -- even though his job is so important!  He is almost like the “unsung hero”, so to speak.
However, this goes to teach us a lesson, he explains:  Every single Jew (and person in general) is important.  No matter who you are -- and no matter how little you are talked about.  
The Jewish People is compared to a body -- and without even one of all the cells, organs, limbs, etc. (Chas V’Shalom) your body would not work as well.  So too, with every Jew.  (Chassidic Pearls -- quoted on


A Gut Shabbos, full of holiness to all!

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