Acharei Mot - After the death אַחֲרֵי מוֹת
Torah Portion: Leviticus 16:1-18:30
Haftarah: Ezekiel 22:1-19
Apostolic Scripture: Matthew 15:10-20; Mark 12:28-34
Hashem is teaching here that sexual sin brings defilement to the land. In other words, sin is so detrimental it affects the land you live in. And as the new Israelites were getting ready to inhabit the promised land (that was promised to their fathers) with that came a set of laws. How to live in the land in a peaceful, loving and G-dly way. A way that would honor Hashem and would not take away from Him. I think we forget how when we sin it affects literally everything and everyone around us. Hashem wanted His people to come into a special place, serve Him, love Him and live together in G-dliness. If you study Torah you will see His commandments to be so fair, so gracious and full of compassion. Just like Him.
In verse 30 we read, “Therefore you shall keep My requirements, that you do not practice any of these abominable customs which were practiced before you…”. Again, Hashem is preparing His people to go into a land where sin abounds. But, He doesn’t want them to be influenced or affected by the sins of the people who inhabited the land before them. Just like now. I believe Hashem does not want us to be “influenced” by others in the world around us and fall “prey” to the same sins as the world permeates. Instead He gives us His eternal word, His Torah, to follow to keep us on His path. Review your life today and see where you are faltering in following Hashem. Then make the necessary corrections. His way is the only true way. And we know this in our hearts.
Reading #7 - Leviticus 18:22–30
18:22 “‘You shall not lie with a man as with a woman. That is detestable.
23 “‘You shall not lie with any animal to defile yourself with it. No woman may give herself to an animal, to lie down with it: it is a perversion.
24 “‘Don’t defile yourselves in any of these things; for in all these the nations which I am casting out before you were defiled. 25 The land was defiled. Therefore I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out her inhabitants. 26 You therefore shall keep My statutes and My ordinances, and shall not do any of these abominations; neither the native-born, nor the stranger who lives as a foreigner among you 27 (for the men of the land that were before you had done all these abominations, and the land became defiled), 28 that the land not vomit you out also, when you defile it, as it vomited out the nation that was before you.
29 “‘For whoever shall do any of these abominations, even the souls that do them shall be cut off from among their people. 30 Therefore you shall keep My requirements, that you do not practice any of these abominable customs which were practiced before you, and that you do not defile yourselves with them. I am Hashem your Elohim.’”
What are the consequences for disregarding the Law? Verse 15 clearly displays the wrath of Hashem, I will scatter you among the nations, and disperse you through the countries. I will consume your filthiness out of you.” As we have learned throughout Scripture, when Hashem’s people are in disobedience – He scatters them. He allows them to be conquered and dispersed among the nations. This happened two thousand years ago when Rome came and destroyed Jerusalem and the Jewish people fled to the mountains. And it has taken all this time of repentance and prayers to return.That’s the awesome thing about Hashem. He is a G-d of second chances. We are witnessing the returning of the Jews to their homeland for the past 75 years or so. It is amazing and it is miraculous. But, it requires obedience to be sustained. I pray that Hashem’s people will honor and obey Him and stay in the land. Amen.
Hashem requires love and obedience. In return, He blesses us abundantly. That seems pretty fair to me, does it to you? It shouldn’t be so hard to follow Hashem. To be set apart, is a privilege not a burden. Look at your own heart today and see who you are following. I say, choose G-d.
Haftarah: Ezekiel 22:1-19
22 Moreover Hashem’s word came to me, saying, 2 “You, son of man, will you judge? Will you judge the bloody city? Then cause her to know all her abominations. 3 You shall say, ‘Adonai Hashem says: “A city that sheds blood within herself, that her time may come, and that makes idols against herself to defile her! 4 You have become guilty in your blood that you have shed, and are defiled in your idols which you have made! You have caused your days to draw near, and have come even to your years. Therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mocking to all the countries. 5 Those who are near, and those who are far from you, will mock you, you infamous one, full of tumult.
6 “‘“Behold, the princes of Israel, everyone according to his power, have been in you to shed blood. 7 In you have they treated father and mother with contempt. Among you they have oppressed the foreigner. In you they have wronged the fatherless and the widow. 8 You have despised My holy things, and have profaned My Sabbaths. 9 Slanderous men have been in you to shed blood. In you they have eaten on the mountains. They have committed lewdness among you. 10 In you have they uncovered their fathers’ nakedness. In you have they humbled her who was unclean in her impurity. 11 One has committed abomination with his neighbor’s wife; and another has lewdly defiled his daughter-in-law. Another in you has humbled his sister, his father’s daughter. 12 In you have they taken bribes to shed blood. You have taken interest and increase, and you have greedily gained of your neighbors by oppression, and have forgotten Me,” says Adonai Hashem.
13 “‘“Behold, therefore I have struck my hand at your dishonest gain which you have made, and at your blood which has been within you. 14 Can your heart endure, or can your hands be strong, in the days that I will deal with you? I, Hashem, have spoken it, and will do it. 15 I will scatter you among the nations, and disperse you through the countries. I will consume your filthiness out of you. 16 You will be profaned in yourself, in the sight of the nations. Then you will know that I am Hashem.”’”
17 Hashem’s word came to me, saying, 18 “Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to me. All of them are bronze, tin, iron, and lead in the middle of the furnace. They are the dross of silver. 19 Therefore the Adonai Hashme says: ‘Because you have all become dross, therefore, behold, I will gather you into the middle of Jerusalem.
In the Mark scripture, Yeshua is summarizing the Torah. First and greatest commandment is to love Hashem with everything you have. The second is to love one another. I really believe Yeshua came to teach the “heart” of Torah, that HE IS the heart of Torah! He doesn’t teach that we are to just “do” the commandments but we are to follow the heart, the essence of them. Isn’t that so beautiful?
So, in Matthew here Yeshua is saying that what is really important is what you speak. Yes, it is important to follow the dietary laws, of course. To disobey them is sin. But, again, He goes to the heart of Torah and says what affects the world around you is what you say. Today I was standing in front of an abortion clinic holding a sign that said, “Pray to End Abortion.” That’s it, no graphic pictures or condemnation. Just pray. And people would go by and yell out obscenities and mean words to us. Along with finger gestures. It was so hurtful and felt so sad. That people could be so angry about someone standing in front of a place that literally rips apart babies in the womb – only ironically not angry at the doctors or nurses – but at me. The person praying in front of the clinic for the women and men in this difficult situation. Words are powerful and we need to be so careful about what we speak, myself included. Hashem forgive me for the times I have spoken out and hurt people. And G-d bless those who were angry today – that they may find the eternal love of the Master.
10 He summoned the multitude, and said to them, “Hear, and understand. 11 That which enters into the mouth doesn’t defile the man; but that which proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”
12 Then the disciples came, and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”
13 But he answered, “Every plant which my heavenly Father didn’t plant will be uprooted. 14 Leave them alone. They are blind guides of the blind. If the blind guide the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
15 Peter answered him, “Explain the parable to us.”
16 So Yeshua said, “Do you also still not understand? 17 Don’t you understand that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the belly and then out of the body? 18 But the things which proceed out of the mouth come out of the heart, and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual sins, thefts, false testimony, and blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands doesn’t defile the man.”
28 One of the scribes came, and heard them questioning together, and knowing that He had answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the greatest of all?”
29 Yeshua answered, “The greatest is, ‘Hear, Israel, Hashem our Adonai, Hashem is one: 30 you shall love Adonai Hashem with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 The second is like this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
32 The scribe said to him, “Truly, teacher, you have said well that he is one, and there is none other but he, 33 and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from God’s Kingdom.”
No one dared ask him any question after that.