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April 29, 2023: Parashat Torah Portion Acharei Mot-Kedoshim

This week’s Parashah Torah Portion Acharei Mot-Kedoshim is taken from Leviticus 16:1-20:27. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers, as he analyzes the aspect of holiness we don't often consider; its practicality in our daily living and how it translates into how we treat our neighbor and love him as ourselves!

Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Parashah Torah Portion:

Lion of Judah Speaks: Parashah Torah Portion Acharei Mot-Kedoshim - Leviticus 16:1-20:27

At the center of the Mosaic books is Leviticus and at the center of Leviticus is the “Holiness Code”. (Lev. 19). In Leviticus 19:1-2 there is a momentous call, “Adonai said to Moshe, “Speak to the entire community of Israel; tell them, You people are to be holy because I, Adonai your Yah, am holy.” At the center of Leviticus 19, is a brief paragraph which, by its positioning, is the apex, the high point, of the Torah; Lev. 19:17-18 says, “Do not hate your brother in your heart, but rebuke your neighbor frankly, so that you won’t carry sin because of him. Don’t take vengeance on or bear a grudge against any of your people; rather, love your neighbor as yourself; I am Adonai.”

Let’s ask the question, “Who is holy?” Elohim tells us to be holy then goes into a list of biblical laws from the religious to the ethical. Holiness is not being spiritual…many people consider themselves spiritual. As we look into is Word, we see that the road to holy is more practical and pragmatic. It is found in the ordinary everyday things we do or don’t do such as, self-restraint, discipline, honesty, decency and doing the right thing…all these can lead us to holiness.

We need to learn to control our passions and behave correctly. Holiness is not being spooky but applying the Word to our lives and living it out every day. The aim of Torah and its teachings is not to make a person leave the world, ascending towards holiness and all that is beyond, but the reverse—to reveal holiness and godliness in this physical world. This is why many Torah commandments concern some aspect of our physical lives. As we keep Torah, we are drawing the Divine and the Sacred into our physical domain, into our kitchen, office and bedroom.

This makes us realize that not only the domain of the mitzvot, but every detail of existence is potentially holy. Nothing is ordinary! The entire world is, indeed, or can become, a dwelling for Elohim. So, to speak, we bring holiness down to earth, reaching towards the time when “the world will be filled with the knowledge of Elohim, as the waters covers the sea.”

We know that the earth is full of sin, iniquity and transgression and because of that there needed to be an atonement. Yeshua bore our sin, iniquity and transgressions so that we could walk in His holiness. Yeshua was handed over to Esau- Rome and was crucified. However, through His resurrection He returns from His exile, no longer bearing our sins but bearing our forgiveness and new life! (Isa. 53:11-12).

In Yeshua, Elohim has borne our rejection and removed it from us, and brought forgiveness in its place. Yeshua became a curse for us that He might take away the curse of the law—not the law! Remember to be holy is mostly the practical and pragmatic way we deal with Elohim and our neighbors

In Luke 10:29 the question was asked, “Who is my neighbor”? In other words, the lawyer, was asking, “just how much is this commandment going to demand of me?” In Luke 10:30-37 Yeshua goes further and tells them that their neighbor is the one you encounter in need, the one you are able to love not in theory but through practical and sacrificial action. We are obligated to fulfill that command, no matter what our reasons would be not to fulfill that command. The lawyer who asked for a limit to the commandment wanted to justify himself but the commandment in Lev. 19:18 ends with the words, “I am Adonai”, reminding us that its focus is Divine justice not self-justification.

The entire code of holiness is framed in the same terms as it opens with in Lev. 19:1-2 and closes with Lev. 20:26. In Leviticus, justice and holiness are closely related. The justice and holiness of Elohim do not gaze from a distance at the messy realities of life but actively engage them!

The Samaritan- a despised outsider- could have held a grudge against his Jewish neighbor but instead fulfills the Torah better than any expert. He washed the wounded man, hoisted his body onto his donkey, dug into his purse for extra money to cover the expense and that my friend, is HOLY! The priest and the Levites who kept their hands clean—they are not holy. The lawyer asks the question because he wants to justify himself and in response, Yeshua talks about an outsider who goes beyond self-justification to fulfill Torah. The moral for the lawyer and for us as well is to “Go and do likewise”.

Who is your neighbor? Your neighbor is the one who needs a neighbor. Holiness requires that I find such neighbors and provide the help they need. When I ask “Who is my neighbor?” am I hoping to narrow my neighborhood or expand it? Am I ready to truly become holy?

Holy in Hebrew is “kodesh”, from the root word “kadash”. In simpler terms, it means to be set apart for a specific purpose. It does not refer to piety or perfection…thank Adonai! However, we are to be a “living book” – living our lives just as the Torah teaches us to do by being obedient, loving, kind and serving others. When we do that, we make a difference in this world one day at a time. People are reading our “living book” every day so be ye holy.

Holiness is not just about going to Kehillah while your neighbor stays home or goes somewhere else. It’s not just about keeping kosher or the feasts or even taking a stand for Israel. There are other aspects in our lives that are part of our believing culture, even if they are worthy of our attention doesn’t by themselves make us holy. It’s about having a holy character that sets us apart from others. While other people are being self-centered and indulgent, are we being compassionate and serving? When people all around us are being greedy for all they can get, are we giving ourselves for the benefit of others? When cursing and rudeness abounds, are we blessing people with words of kindness? When individuals gossip and hold grudges, are we in control of our tongues? Are we forgiving others even if they do not deserve it? These are examples of the characteristics of a life that has been changed by the power of the Ruach HaKodesh and reflects the very nature of Elohim. This is the kind of holiness that Elohim desires from us. Lev. 19:2 states, “You shall be holy, for I Adonai your Yah am holy.” Elohim’s Kingdom is not of this world. To learn holiness, we first have to trust Him and then keep following Him until He leads us to His Torah so we can learn and practice His commands. We are not called to blend in with the crowd. What makes us different are Elohim’s qualities in our lives- we model our way of living on Him. We cannot become holy on our own, but the Ruach will be our helper. The Ruach will help us to obey and give us the power to overcome sin. We have no reason for excuses and we have every reason to walk free, righteous, and holy.

Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha,

Join us every Wednesday at 7 pm for Bible study and every Saturday at 11 am for Sabbath service at:

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Walk in the power of His holiness. Search Adonai and He will be found. Run to His House and worship the King of Kings. The time is now to be the “living book” for others to read and follow Yeshua. See you at the altar!

Shalom Aleichem

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