Parashat Acharei Mot

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Parashat Acharei Mot is the sixth parsha in the Book of Vayikra. It is often read lounge with Parashat Kedoshim.


[edit] Following Death of Nadav and Avihu

Hashem spoke to Moshe following the death of Aaron's two sons. Nadav and Avihu had died after entering the Kodesh HaKodashim in attempt to draw too close to Hashem. Moshe was instructed to warn Aharon not to enter the Holy in a prohibited manner to avoid a similar death as his sons.[1]

[edit] Yom Kippor Service

Hashem told Moshe to instruct Aharon that he should not enter the Kodesh HaKodashim, past the curtain dividing the Araon from the Ohel Moed so he should not die the way his sons died[2]. If he does enter except with the cloud of incense on Yom Kippur,[2] he will die[2] since Hashem's pillar of cloud and Divine Presence[2] are revealed over the ark cover.

Aharon and any High Priest that follows must do the following service on Yom Kippor[3] in order to enter the Holy of Holies.

[edit] Immersions

On Yom Kippor the Kohen Gadol must immerse himself in the mikve on five occasions, once for each time he changes his garments when transferring from inside to outside services or vice versa. He was also required wash his hands and feet from the Kiyor twice with each immersion, once when removing the garments he wore and a second time when he donned the next set of garments.[4]

[edit] Garments

Unlike regular days where the Kohen Gadol constantly wears eight garments during services, today he only dons them for the outside services. Any services performed inside the Holy of Holies are done wearing only the four linen garments of an ordinary kohen; shirt, pants, belt and hat. This is done to avoid wearing any gold which is a reminiscent of the golden calf and is therefore a prosecutor which cannot become a defender bringing atonement to the Jewish nation.[4]. Additionally by bouncing back and forth throughout the day between these two sets of garments, the Kohen Gadol is able to maintain a balance between the two energies imposed by these sets of garments, allowing him to properly complete the rectification necessary for proper repentance.[5] These garments are holy since they are purchased with money from the Temple treasury.[4]

[edit] Marriage

A Kohen Gadoel must be married at the time since in order to enter the Kodesh Kodashim and attain forgiveness he needs Tikkun Habris for which marriage is necessary.[6]

[edit] Personal Sacrifices

  1. A young bull as a Chatas sin offering to atone for himself and his household, which was done by placing his hands on the bull and confessing both their sins.[7] This sacrifice was purchased with the Kohen Gadole's personal money rather then public funds.[7] He then made a second confession[8] on this bull for his brothers the Kohanim[8] to atone exclusively for their defiling the Mikdash and its holy things[8] if they had entered the Mikidash or ate sacrifices not realizing they were impure.
  2. A ram for an Olah burnt offering

[edit] Public Sacrifices

  1. Two he goats as a Chatas sin offering. First he places them at the entrance of the Ohel Moed, one on his right side and one on the left. Then, he would insert both his hands into a box which contained two lots, one bearing the inscription "For Hashem" and the other "To Azazel" and pull out one lot in his right hand and the other in his left. He would place these lots on the corresponding goats. As he placed the "For Hashem" lot he would proclaim “To Hashem -a sin-offering”[9] The goat on the side which the "For Hashem" lot was drawn was to be sacrificed while the goat on the side "To Azazel" was drawn would be sent to Azazel,[10] a strong, hard mountain with a high cliff.[10] where it would be thrown to death,[11] after confessing upon it.[11]
  2. A ram as an Olah burnt offering

[edit] Ketoret Offering

The Kohen Gadoel would then take a pan full of burning coals from upon the western side[12] of the outside[12] Mezbeach altar which stands before the entrance of the Mikdash,[12] from before Hashem and fill both his hands with Ketoret incense powder. Normally the Ketoret was ground to a very fine powder and on Erev Yom Kippur it was returned to the mortar in order to crush again and grind it to the finest of the fine for use on Yom Kippur.[12]

He would then bring the Ketoret within the dividing curtain and place it upon a fire that is inside the pan,[13] before Hashem so that a cloud of the incense would envelope the Ahron cover that rests over the Luchos Tablets, so that he shall not die. If the Kohen Gadol would not follow this process he was liable for death.[13]

[edit] Blood Sprinkling

The Kohen Gadol would then take some of the bull's blood and sprinkle it once[14] with his index finger on top of the Ahron cover on its eastern side and seven times before the ark cover making it once above and seven below.[14]

[edit] References

  1. ^ Rashi Vayikra 16:1
  2. ^ a b c d Rashi Vayikra 16:2
  3. ^ Rashi Vayikra 16:3
  4. ^ a b c Rashi Vayikra 16:4
  5. ^ Likutay Halachos, Hilchos Yom Tov5:1-5
  6. ^ Likutay Halachos, Hilchos Yom Kippor 1:2
  7. ^ a b Rashi Vayikra 16:6
  8. ^ a b c Rashi Vayikra 16:11
  9. ^ Rashi Vayikra 16:9
  10. ^ a b Rashi Vayikra 16:8
  11. ^ a b Rashi Vayikra 16:10
  12. ^ a b c d Rashi Vayikra 16:12
  13. ^ a b Rashi Vayikra 16:13
  14. ^ a b Rashi Vayikra 16:14
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