In most years, the Torah Portions, Acharei Mot and Kedoshim are read together, as they are this week. In a Jewish leap year, they are ready separately. We will indicate the separation of the Parshiot in the Parsha summary so that you can plan your Parsha conversation and treats accordingly in a Jewish leap year.

Parshat Acharei Mot begins following the deaths of Nadav and Avihu, Aharon’s two sons which took place on the inaugural day of their service as Kohanim (priests) when they brought a sacrifice that had not been requested, Hashem warns against entering the Holy of Holies without permission. The Holy of Holies can only be accessed once a year on Yom Kippur and only by the Kohen Gadol (High Priest). On this day, the Kohen Gadol brings the incense offering (ketoret) to Hashem and confesses on behalf of the Jewish People. Another feature of the Yom Kippur service is the casting of lots over two goats, to determine which should be offered to Hashem and which should be dispatched to carry off the sins of Israel to the wilderness. We are also warned against bringing korbanot (sacrifices) anywhere but in the Holy Temple or Mishkan. We are given the commandment that we may not eat blood or enter into illicit relationships.

In Parshat Kedoshim, Moshe is told to speak to all of the Jewish People and command them to be Kadosh, as it states in the Parsha, “You shall be Kadosh, for I, the L rd your G d, am Kadosh.” Although the word Kadosh is usually translated as “holy”, we are taught that this word really means special, consecrated. When a man and woman marry, the husband uses the word “Kadosh” in the marriage vows, meaning that they are sanctified to each other. By being Kadosh, we as a nation are told to separate ourselves from that which is not sacred. The Parsha teaches meany mitzvot (commandment) through which we sanctify ourselves as Jews and allow us to emulate Hashem and become Kadosh. These mitzvot include: the prohibition against idolatry, the mitzvah of charity, the principle of equality before the law, keeping Shabbat and Kashrut (eating kosher foods), not mixing animal or plant species or weaving together wool and linen (shatnez), honesty in business, honor and awe of one’s parents, and the sacredness of life. This week’s Parsha (Kedoshim) contains the famous central topic in Torah which Rabbi Akiva said was “the entire Torah, the rest is commentary”, the mitzvah to “Love your fellow as yourself,” “V’Ahavata LeRayacha KaMocha.” In fact, this concept appears in the physical center of the Torah as we are now midway through the Five Books of the Torah.

There are many symbols in this week’s Parshiot! Candy dots can represent the Urim V’Tumim worn by the Kohen Gadol, the only person allowed to enter the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur. Animal crackers can symbolize the casting of lots on the goats on Yom Kippur, as well as the laws of kashrut and not mixing animal species in this week’s Parsha. Bubble monsters can symbolize the telling of the laws of being “kadosh” to the entire Jewish People by Moshe. The two different colors of “people” can symbolize the concept of separating from the profane to be “kadosh.” They could also symbolize the mitzvot of honoring one’s parents and loving their fellow Jew. Candy coins can represent the mitzvah of charity and the rules given to us to be honest in our business dealings. Candy hearts can symbolize the mitzvah of “V’Ahavata LeRayacha Kamocha, a central theme not only in this Parsha, but in the entire Torah. Finally, Twizzler Pull and Peel candies can symbolize the mitzvah not to combine species of seeds or weave together linen and wool. What other ideas do you have for Parsha sweets and Treats this week? Please share them in the comments section below!

Shabbat Shalom,
Shayna Levine-Hefetz

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