Parshot Acharei Mot and Kedoshim: Leviticus 16:1 – 20:27

Whew! That's a lot, right? Well the next part is all about what happened when people transgressed. . .  not going to lie, it isn't pretty.

So let's boil it down. What is G-d telling us here? Look, be honest. Take care of the body I gave you. Be nice to the people around you, no matter if it's your mother and father or your slave or your neighbor or your laborer or some poor hungry guy who stumbled onto your farm and collects the bits of the harvest you left. Many people don't put this together but we all remember the story of Ruth, right? She refused to leave her mother-in-law and went back to Naomi's homeland where she collected food on the edge of the pastures (with all the poor people) and met Boaz. That story wouldn't have been possible if G-d hadn't told us here that we must leave the edges of our field to the poor.

Who in the world would have thought of that? Today we collect every scrap to make as much as we can to stay afloat, but Hashem is reminding us that while we may be poor and having troubles getting by, others are far worse than us. I don't have a field to leave for the poor but when I drive my clunker of a 14-year-old car around town and I see people on the street corner I realize. . . I have a car and some money for gas. It's my job to give back to them.

Photo by magerleagues via C.C. License at FlickrMany people don't see the beauty in these parshot because it seems like a lot of rules. But I love it because it reminds me that G-d chose us, that G-d tests us. I don't keep kosher because it's easy, I keep kosher because G-d wants me to be mindful of every bite that goes in my mouth.


Parshat Acharei Mot from
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Parshat Kedoshim from
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Talia Davis is the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of rabbis. She directs the Jewish Portal at Patheos and manages the site's online community.

4/20/2010 4:00:00 AM
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