Saturday, April 19, 2008

DVAR TORAH S3: Acharei Mot/HaGadol (Pesach and Yom Kippur? What a Great Shabbat!)

Interesting Torah Portion for Shabbat HaGadol, the week where the Rabbi traditionally explains the complex preparation for Passover. (Though this year as it leads immediately into the first seder and chometz is already cleaned and nullified, it is merely symbolic)

But this week's actual Torah Portion in the cycle is Acharei Mot, the reading which serves as the reading for both the morning and controversial afternoon reading for Yom Kippur, which explains the complex preparations and service of the High Priest on Yom Kippur. It mirrors the tradition that after the Destruction of the Second Temple, the home became the Temple, the kitchen the Holy of Holies due to the familial discourse, the kitchen table the altar, with the head of household standing in as the High Priest.

The psychological, spiritual, and physical preparation of the Kohen Gadol very much parallels our own preparations the week before Pesach. The success of preparation is critical. Incidentially both the sabbath prior to Yom Kippur (Shabbat Shuvah) and the sabbath prior to Pesach (Shabbat HaGadol) used to be the only two at which a rabbi would speak. If only...

A gut shabbos un a gut yontif!

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