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Achare - Kedoshim 5781 ~ April 23, 2021

What are our responsibilities in living a life that is “kadosh” that is filled with the sacredness in thought and in action? A great deal of that subject matter in the double portions that we read Acharei Mot and Kedoshim are reflective of the Torah’s requirement that we “love our neighbor as ourselves.”

Most of our lives, we are able to fulfill that mitzvah. Yet, at other times, we find ourselves questioning what might be the correct response to a person or situation. This past Thursday, in our Lunch and Learn program, we asked several questions related to current events:

If I would have been called to officiate at Bernie Madoff’s funeral, how would I conduct such a service? Would I find words of praise to speak on his behalf, since tradition suggests that when a person dies that is what is most appropriate? Would Jewish tradition suggest that I recite the El Maleh prayer, asking God to watch over his soul and that he should be allowed to enter Gan Eden? Or was Madoff’s actions of such a nature that he deserved eternally to remain in Gehhinom, the netherworld or as many of us know in non-Jewish terms as Dante’s Inferno? Should Mourner’s Kaddish, be recited on his behalf?

According to Jewish tradition was it appropriate to celebrate the conviction of Derek Chauvin? Or is there a more fitting response?  Might it have been more correct response celebrating that justice prevailed? In that regard we looked at Moses and the Children of Israel and how they responded to the drowning of the Egyptians at the Sea.

What might have been God’s response to both the death of Bernie Madoff and the conviction of Derek Chauvin?

Perhaps for those who might be interested we can offer a second class on this matter to closely study the sources and texts.

Our Torah reading for this Shabbat provides us with insight on how a family member learns not only how to cope with death, but how one moves forward following a death to find meaning, spirituality, and sacredness in life. The reading guides us with how we can live a spiritual life filled with sacred actions.

This week’s portions remind us that the quintessential element of being a participant in God’s world is finding the meaning of action in what it means to “Love our neighbor as ourselves.” These mitzvot respond to counter the ways of those of who have corrupted our world such as Madoff and Chauvin.

Tomorrow morning, Diane Maran will share with us her insights as to the Torah’s response to the death of Aaron’s two sons. She will reflect upon the Biblical authors’ suggestion that perhaps their deaths were God’s reaction and punishment for sexual inappropriateness in the sanctuary of God and in life. Diane’s reflections will provide us with a comment on how modern Jewish law and thought has re-evaluated the restrictions regarding living a lifestyle that might be LBGTQ and even heterosexual relations. Her thoughts give us a true meaning of what it means to “Love our neighbor as ourselves.” I will use the study session to answer questions based on her d’var Torah. I hope you will join us.

Sat, June 25 2022 26 Sivan 5782