Acharei Mot – Kedoshim:
The two Parashiyot Acharei Mot – Kedoshim, are usually read on the Shabbat before or after Independence Day. Both passages have much in common. Parashat Acharei Mot deals with the regulation of how the Kohen HaGadol enters the Kodesh HaKodashim, once a year on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, in order to atone for the Children of Israel: "And Hashem spoke unto Moses, after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before Hashem, and died…
'Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil, before the ark-cover which is upon the ark; that he die not…
Herewith shall Aaron come into the holy place… (Vayikra 16, 1-3)
"And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make atonement for the children of Israel because of all their sins once in the year…" (Vayikra 16, 34)
This series came after the death of Nadav and Avihu who sacrificed a strange fire. Later on, the Torah deals with the sanctity of the Jewish people and the prohibition against incest.
Parshat Kedoshim also opens with the commandment of holiness. The Torah commands us to choose the life of holiness:
"Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them: Ye shall be holy; for I Hashem your G-d am holy". (Vayikra 19, 2)
However, the Torah does not suffice with a comprehensive revelation. In the continuation of the Parasha, the Torah explains how holiness must be expressed in the conduct of life. It commands a detailed set of Mitzvot that give sanctity to all aspects of practical life: in the holiness between man and Hashem, in the sanctity of man and his fellow man, in the social and communal sphere, in the building of society on justice and morality. In the sanctity of the connection to the land, by commandments dependent on the Kdusha of the land, in the laws of sacrifices, in safeguarding the holiness of the people of Israel by not following the laws of the gentiles and the prohibitions of incest.
In our case, we seek to learn about the issues of choice; the great choice of life that directs the totality of life to their destination, and the daily choice that is derived from it. In our Parasha we seek to deal with the meaning of the choice to live in holiness and in a choice made out of holiness. There are many forces that affect a person's choice. How can the desire for holiness in life be a factor influencing human choices.
The choice of integrating holiness in all spheres of life, of the individual and the general, between man and Hashem and between man and his fellow man, between his place and his art, between man and his people and between man and his country, stems from the motivation of the specific sanctity inherent in the depth of the Israeli soul. But it needs guidance that is found in the commandments of the Torah, and requires its learning. The choice from holiness empowers the soul, and gives strength to its application in practical life.
Our great teacher, Rabbi Neria z"l, expressed the desire to choose holiness in all areas of life, in his last words, before his passing:" Holyness, I ask, Kodesh Kodashim I ask, give me the sanctity of Eretz Israel, give me the sanctity of the love for Israel. "