Sunday, April 17, 2011

Parashat Achrei

This week we are privileged to read the portion of Acharei. The portion discusses how the Kohein should conduct himself on Yom Kippur when he enters in to the Kodesh Hakodoshim.

Later, the Torah describes laws of forbidden relationships (arayos), the different improper ways and their punishment.

When beginning to discuss forbidden relationships, the Torah (vayikrah 18/23) begins as follows: as the actions of the land of Mitzrayim, which you sat (lived) in,  and as the action of the canaanites where I will bring you, one shall not do (imitate).

Rebbe Bunim of Przesischa explains this Phraise as follows. When one wants to get someone off a lust/ addiction to Alcohol or any similar lust, the best way to teach him is by taking him to visit another drunk, and say to him "you see how awful it looks and is, when you are drunk, don't follow in his footsteps! The Torah says the same thing "you lived in Egypt, you saw the lives they lead, this is not what you want. You remember what they looked like, and you certainly don't want to follow. You saw their empty lives ....don't follow in their footsteps!

This week the Shabbos preceding Pesach, is called Shabbos Hagadol - the Great Shabbos. There are many reasons given for this name. One reason is, that on the Shabbos preceding the exodus of Egypt, the Jews took the sheep/goats in preparation of bringing it for an offering. As we know, the Egyptian worshiped cattle (sheep), this however did not stop the Jews from taking it in front of their eyes and prepare it for an offering.  Due to the GREAT miracle which occurred at that time, this Shabbos is known as the Great Shabbos.

In addition, we know that the Shabbos preceding a Holiday has an influence on the upcoming Holiday, and being that Pesach is the first of all Holidays, it too has an influence on the remaining Holidays, thereby this Shabbos is empowered with great influence.

May we merit to benefit from the abundance of light that comes from this Great Shabbos and utilize it properly to strengthen our Emunah in Hashem.

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