May 23, 2024
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 This week is a double parsha of Acharei Mot and Kedoshim. Parshat Acharei Mot starts with the words Hashem spoke to Moshe after the death of Aharon’s sons. One could then assume that the rest of parsha will speak about the death of Aharon’s sons and how everyone felt about it, but it doesn’t. The parsha starts to speak about many laws and the following parsha of Kedoshim continues to do so as well. Hashem keeps on telling Moshe to tell Bnei Yisrael that they should do certain things or not do certain things and this seems to take up most of the Torah reading. But, why does Hashem choose to put this right after the death of Aaron’s sons?

I believe that it has a direct correlation. After a tragedy or being put into a difficult situation, we may question Hashem. We may ask: Why did this happen or why is this being done to us? Why do bad things happen to good people? Most of the time, the answer is “I don’t know.” While I can not tell you or even myself why bad things happen, I can say that the bad that happens will end up being for the good. We may not see it now, but it is good and it is helping us. I believe that the pain and suffering that we go through is to make us change. In last week’s parshiot, we saw that the direct punishment for speaking lashon hara is tzaraat but for most punishments, we do not know which sin we exactly did. The same thing with Aaron’s sons. They died because they brought a strange fire, but there are so many different meanings based on different commentaries.

Therefore, by putting many mitzvot after the death of Aaron’s sons, Hashem is saying: What are you going to take from this death? Are you going to use this death of important people to start recognizing me and get closer to me through mitzvot or are you going to make that tragedy meaningless? It is the same in our lives… Are we going to use the pain and suffering to thrive or just feel the pain?

By Shira Sedek

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