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Parashat Achrei Mot / Kedoshim

Updated: May 10

29th & 30th Portion

[30 April - 4 May 2024 & 5-11 May 2024]


Theme of the Book of Leviticus:

Life as a priest.


Meaning of "achrei mot" = "after the death"

Meaning of "kedoshim" = "holy"


In the 2022/2023 reading cycle, these two portions were read as a double portion (like parashat Vayakhel & Pedkudei and Tazria & Metzora few weeks ago) - hence the combined blog post. Remember that the Hebrew calendar does not work on the Gregorian calendar of the world. The Hebrew calendar are dependent on the moon and the harvest cycles. Some years have 12 months and others have 13 months - each consisting of 29 or 30 days, depending on the moon and the agriculture. These two portions were read together in the 2022/2023 reading cycle (which only had 12 months) and in seperate weeks in this (2023/2024) year's reading cycle (which has 13 months). There are 14 portions which often become double portions, making it 7 double portions. This is the second two portions that are some years read as a "double portion" and the others are still to come, later in the year.

The portions which are combined are selected according to themes - in other words two portions which almost have the same theme to them would be combined.

Next week, we'll link the same blog and you can simply scroll past the Achrei Mot portion to the Kedoshim portion.


Achrei Mot (30 April - 4 May 2024)

This week's Torah portions:

Sunday: Leviticus 16:1-17

Monday: Leviticus 16:18-24

Tuesday: Leviticus 16:25-34

Wednesday: Leviticus 17:1-7

Thursday: Leviticus 17:8-18:5

Friday: Leviticus 18:6-21

Shabbat: Leviticus 18:22-30 & Ezekiel 22:1-19


Apostolic Writings:

Hebrews 9:11-28


Daily Bread for Busy Moms portions:

Isaiah 41-48

Proverbs 21-27

1 Peter 5

2 Peter 1-3

1 John 1-3


This week we have our third double portion. In last week's blog post I have shared why we have double portions from time to time - so I won't bore you by explaining it again. (If you want to refresh your memory or if you are new here - you can check out last week's reading to understand the reason for the double portion.)


In parashat Achrei Mot, the priests received instructions and were warned against entering into the Holy Place and Most Holy Place in an unworthy manner. This is after two of the priests (Aaron's sons) died as a result of not conforming to the standards which they were supposed to keep. The high priest was the only one who was allowed to enter into the Most Holy Place. And he only entered once a year, on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). Leading up to this day, the high priest had to prepare himself to enter into the Most Holy Place. The high priest would then go in once a year and confess the sins of the whole nation and make atonement.


What we can learn from this is that we also have to prepare ourselves to enter into the presence of God. But through Yeshua's work on the cross, the veil has been torn and we have free access to God. And not only once a year. The other thing we can take from this part of the portion is that we also have to confess our sins and wrongdoings to God in order for us to receive atonement.

Yes, Yeshua died for us so that we could be saved. But we have to do our part and apply that to our lives!


The Israelites were forbidden to bring any sacrifices at any other place than the temple. And those who believe that we still have to make physical sacrifices to this day, struggle with the fact that there's no temple where they can do these sacrifices. But we know that we are free from the ceremonial law and the sacrifices that goes with it.


However, there is still a sacrifice that we have to bring! Just like the tabernacle was a physical thing that carries spiritual value for us as believers today - we being the new tabernacle where Abba wants to dwell. The same way the physical sacrifices still has a spiritual value for us today. We have to sacrifice ourselves and our lives. We have to bring a sacrifice of obedience. Our lives should be sacrificed unto Him through obedience.


It's also in this portion where God instructed them that there may be no blood in the food which they consume. Life is carried in blood. And maybe it's time to reconsider that medium rear steak of yours... Not a topic we're getting into now, but I'm leaving the thought with you.


In this portion we also read how the Israelites received the instruction to NOT get involved and indoctrinated with the ways and the customs of the Egyptians and the Cananites. This is a major point for us to take note of. When we pursue a life of obedience to Abba, we cannot partake in the things of the world that Abba clearly tells us to abstain from.

It's also in this portion where the prohibited sexual relationships are described / listed. It ends with prohibition of homosexuality and beastiality (sexual intercourse with animals).


Go read Acts 15. In this chapter we read about a discussion that took place on whether they still had to keep the law or not. Like the late Gerrit Nel says in his teaching - the fact that they discussed whether the law should still be kept or not, meant that at that time they were actually still keeping the law. If they haven't been - there would have been no discussion. The question was not about the Jews. But about the Gentiles (you & me). The Jews kept the law because that was what they were instructed to do. So this was not about the Jews. But about the spiritual significance of Abba's instructions on us as the Gentiles.


This portion in Acts confirms what we read in this parashat of the Torah. Abba is raising up a generation of kings & priests (us). And the essence of being a priest is summarised in these things. We shouldn't do or eat anything that will defile us. And we shouldn't consume or take part in anything that was sacrificed unto other gods or idols.


From this portion we can learn that we have to be willing to adhere to these instructions if we want to be priests. In order to be priests, we have to purify ourselves and get rid of the things that are not in line with Abba's instructions for our lives.


Remember that these instructions were given after Aaron's sons died. They died because they did not adhere to the instructions. Thus we want to pursue life like we are called to do, we have to stick to Abba's instructions. Disobedience to the instructions might not necessarily have physical death as result like it did in the time of the tabernacle. But it does have spiritual death as a result - and none of us can afford that.


To be a priest is to pursue life. And as priests we must know that there is life in the blood. Whenever there is life in anything we consume, we are taking the life out of it and thus we are no longer pursuing life - and no longer living life as priests.


If my body does not have blood, I cannot live. Blood is the carrier of life. Whenever we take blood from things, we take life. And it goes against Abba's instructions for our lives as priests. As a priesthood we should always search for life and look for ways to preserve life. It also include that we should not do anything or be involved in anything that will hinder or take away life.


Because of the Blood of the Lamb, we can pursue life. Yeshua is the source of life and through His work on the cross - we have been set free. He wants us to experience the fullness of life and we have to pursue life in His ways to truly experience that.


From this portion we can learn that we should get to a place where we make the choice to not pursue anything that might cause death. Or even simply hinder life in any way. If we could link a theme to this portion it would simply be "to pursue life."

And that includes what you feed yourself with - physically & spiritually. What you submit yourself to. What you watch, what you listen to, what you touch. In what you find intimacy with. Intimacy brings forth life. What will you give birth to spiritually? In everything and all things we do - we are to pursue life!


The Word says that we will overcome the world by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Thus we can never underestimate the value that's carried in the Blood! When our hearts are set on Him and we intentionally pursue life, we will experience His fullness in our lives!


Kedoshim (5-11 May 2024)


This week's Torah portions:

Sunday: Leviticus 19:1-14

Monday: Leviticus 19:15-22

Tuesday: Leviticus 19:23-32

Wednesday: Leviticus 19:33-37

Thursday: Leviticus 20:1-7

Friday: Leviticus 20:8-22

Shabbat: Leviticus 20:23-27 & Amos 9:7-15


Apostolic Writings:

1 Peter 1:13-16

1 Corinthians 6:9-20


Daily Bread for Busy Moms portions:

Isaiah 49-56

Proverbs 28-31

Job 1-2

1 John 4-5

2 John 1

3 John 1

Jude 1

Romans 1


This week's second portion (Kedoshim meaning holy) continues where parashat Achrei Mot ended off. This portion starts out with a statement "You shall be holy , for I your God am Holy." (Leviticus 19:2) When we read the book of 1 Peter - which is linked to this week's portion, it's clear to see that this concept is not only limited to the Old Testament. It's still just as much in effect in the New Testament.


First of all, when this concept of holiness is discussed... the concept of authority which need to be respected is considered. And then it continues to say that we should observe the sabbath and also to not get involved with idolatry. Whatever we worship or submit ourselves to, is what we will become.


In this portion there are several other instructions listed, including that we should not harvest everything from the land, but to leave something for the poor. All of the instructions listed in the portion is about walking & living in truth. Remember that the previous portion (Achrei Mot) was about pursuing life but also to not do anything that will take life away from anyone else. And this parashat's instructions which has to do with walking and living in truth connects with the fact that you shouldn't live in such a way that it takes life from others. For example withholding wages or harvesting everything from the fields, etc.


The way we live should not only produce life in our own lives. But we should also live in such a way that from our lives, others could also experience life! Justice should always prevail. In this parashat it's once again confirmed that we are not supposed to gossip. When we gossip, we take away life from others - which we know we are not supposed to do from the previous parashat. But now we learn that it goes further than that. We are not only to NOT take life away from others - but we are also called to live in such a way that others could experience life.


When we see others going through tough times in life - we are very quick to sympathise and willing to pray for them. But Abba actually expects more from us. When those around us struggle, we should ask ourselves how we can help and support them in the situation which they are facing.


In this portion we also read the instruction that we are not to sow in two different fields. From this we can learn that we can't speak life in one area of our lives and also speak death in another area of our lives - or someone else's life for that matter. It's reiterated when they are instructed to not mix two types of materials in their garments. The garments we know from previous parashot (plural for parashat) - symbolises our righteousness. Thus when we wear garments that are made of different materials, it will mean that we are no longer pure and dressed in righteousness. Another example given is to not cross-breed animals. Once again it's the mixing of seed. Mixing two things which Abba intented not to go together.


In the time of the Israelites in the desert, the physical aspects of this was important. But today it's not so much about the physical as it is about the spiritual. We are called to remain pure, to not mix unrighteousness with righteousness.


We then also see this concept of the fruit trees which were not to be harvested for the first three years. The fruits were supposed to be left to fall to the ground. And then in the fourth year, the entire harvest had to be offered to God. And only in the fifth year, for the first time the harvest was yours - of course still giving your tithe.


From this sprouts forth how we work with what we have. How we spend what we have. But then it also talks about how we should look after our bodies. We once again see that we have to observe the sabbath.


In the start of the parashat, the instruction is given to keep the shabbat. And then in the end - after all of the above was discussed... Again we are told to observe the shabbat. God does not take this lightly. He feels very strongly about His instruction for us to keep His shabbat and rest in Him. We are also instructed in this portion to keep the tabernacle. When the Israelites were in the desert - the tabernacle was their temple. Later on they had a temple. And today we know that we are the temple - it is no longer a physical building. Abba no longer comes down to dwell in the tabernacle like He did in the desert amongst the Israelites. His Holy Spirit now lives in each one of us who have given our hearts to Yeshua and pursue living life according to His instructions.


This portion also discuss the fact that we should have respect for ourselves and also for those who are our spiritual leaders and those who are older than us. It's a Biblical principle not only good manners.


This parashat also speaks about "converts" - people who did not originally believe the things which we believe and then lateron start to believe it. The Bible tells us to handle these people with greater love and care than those "who have always been there." Those who have always followed Abba's instructions, won't need so much support and guidance on their faith walk - as they are accustomed to the instructions and principles. Whereas "converts" are new to it all and will need some guidance along the journey until they have found their feet. And we have to respect those people because they CHOOSE this, they don't simply follow Abba's instructions because that was how they were raised.


It also address the fact that we have to be honest and just in business deals. Which applies to all deals. Whenever we purchase something from someone for less than what it is worth - we are actually stealing from that person. Even when that person agreed to the price (probably because they had no choice). If you pay less than the worth of something, the Bible says that you are stealing and doing unjust business. It's not my opinion - it's what the Word of God says.


And then it turns even more serious, where this portion says that someone should die when they worship Molech. Molech is one of the names for the sun god. We are once again reminded to not get involved with any form of idolatry. When we look at history, we can see that human sacrifices was brought to Molech. In other words, life was litterally taken from others - which at this point we clearly know that the Bible instructs us not to do. We should not do anything that will destroy the Image of God - seeing that we are His representatives on earth.


The Bible goes even further in this portion - where Abba instructs them that they should not be involved in sun god worship. We also see that those involved in sun worship are not the only ones who will be punished for it. But also the nation which allows it to take place. Suddenly this becomes much more intense. Even when we are not involved in idolatry ourselves but we do nothing when those around us are - the Bible says that we will all be punished!


This parashat also discuss the punishment which have to be implemented when children disrespect their parents and those who are involved in prohibitted sexual acts. Abba wants us to be fruitful and have a harvest (living in His rhythm). And we cannot live in His rhythm when we do not obey His instructions.


This portion draws to a close when it says that we are not to follow the customs of the world. We have to keep ourselves holy and set apart for Him and His Kingdom. Thus linking to parashat Achrei Mot which means holy.


There's obviously a whole lot of instructions given in this portion, but we shouldn't only look at the instructions physically - because what it all comes down to is about being holy and living a set apart life. That should be our focus, and then the rest would automatically follow. And another thing we can't overlook from this parashat is the fact that we should keep the sabbath. When we rest in Him, He will take us on a journey of santification and holy making. We can never live in His rhythm and experience His harvest when we don't live according to His instructions.


Being holy unto God is not about simply doing life set apart and on our own. But it's also about loving our fellow believers and influencing others through our lives - so that they will also choose to walk in His ways. Through our lives we should affect other people's lives. We are God's representatives on earth. Without God's love for us, we would have all been lost. Thus in order for us to pull people to God and His instructions - we have to show them His love. The love which He has shown to us. When we walk in love and live according to His instructions - we pursue life. And we can bring others into His Kingdom.

 

If you are new here, you can follow the Torah portions with us every week!

(Simply click on the one you want to read).

  1. Portion 1: Bereshit

  2. Portion 2: Noach

  3. Portion 3: Lech Lecha

  4. Portion 4: Vayera

  5. Portion 5: Chayei Sarah

  6. Portion 6: Toldot

  7. Portion 7: Vayetzei

  8. Portion 8: Vayishlach

  9. Portion 9: Vayeshev

  10. Portion 10: Miketz

  11. Portion 11: Vayigash

  12. Portion 12: Vayechi

  13. Portion 13: Shemot

  14. Portion 14: Vaera

  15. Portion 15: Bo

  16. Portion 16: Beshalach

  17. Portion 17: Yitro

  18. Portion 18: Mishpatim

  19. Portion 19: Terumah

  20. Portion 20: Tetzaveh

  21. Portion 21: Ki Tisa

  22. Portion 22: Vayakhel & Pekudei

  23. Portion 23: Vayikra

  24. Portion 24: Tzav

  25. Portion 25: Shmini

  26. Portion 26: Tazria / Metzora

  27. Portion 27: Achrei Mot / Kedoshim (This blog you are reading now)

  28. Portion 28: Emor

  29. Portion 29: Behar / Bechukotai

  30. Portion 30: Bamidbar

  31. Portion 31: Nasso

  32. Portion 32: Beha'alotcha

  33. Portion 33: Sh'lach

  34. Portion 34: Korach

  35. Portion 35: Chukat / Balak

  36. Portion 36: Pinchas

  37. Portion 37: Matot / Masei

  38. Portion 38: Devarim

  39. Portion 39: Vaetchanan

  40. Portion 40: Eikev

  41. Portion 41: Re'eh

  42. Portion 42: Shoftim

  43. Portion 43: Ki Teitzei

  44. Portion 44: Ki Tavo

  45. Portion 45: Nitzavim / Vayeilech

  46. Portion 46: Ha'Azinu

  47. Portion 47: Vezot Haberakhah


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