Acharei Mot / Kedoshim Slides (PDF)
Acharei Mot Slides (PDF)
Acherei Mot Notes (PDF)
This week’s Portion, Acherei Mot (“After Death”) – Leviticus 16:1 – 18:30 – is the Lev HaTorah, the Heart of Torah: the Day of Atonement!
Since Moses came down from Mt Sinai with the two Tablets, the Children of Israel had been working for this day: building and consecrating the Tabernacle, establishing and consecrating the Priesthood and receiving God’s “Laws” of Holiness: the Sacrificial System, clean & unclean animals and people. They had received all of God’s Instruction for holiness…. now they are ready to approach Him – in His Tabernacle – on the Day of Atonement.
We see here the sacrifices and procedures for the High Priest on the Day of Atonement: the symbolic placing of National Israel’s sins on the Scapegoat. This “symbolic” act was much more than symbolism; if you believed that all your sins were placed on that Goat, then your sins were covered (not atoned for) for the year.
The Portion continues with instructions concerning meat not offered to God (considered the same as offered to idols) and the prohibition to drinking blood.
The Portion ends with a rather long list of unlawful sexual relations (with any of your relatives) and other prohibitions (man/man; woman/woman; man/beast).
We see in this Portion the basis for the early Church Doctrine for Gentile converts in Acts 15: no idol worship, no fornication, no eating things strangled (not offered to God first) and no drinking blood. The early Church Fathers were not just making this stuff up – they were following Torah instructions that had been in place for over 1,500 years.