Parashas Acharei Mos

The first segment of this week’s parashah describes the Yom Kippur service that was performed in the Mishkan and the Beis HaMikdash. In regard to Yom Kippur, the Torah declares (Vayikra 16:30): “For on this day He [Hashem] shall grant you atonement, to purify you from all your sins – before Hashem you shall become purified.” The closing Mishnah of meseches Yoma, the tractate dealing with Yom Kippur, records the following statement of Rabbi Akiva: “Fortunate are you, Israel! Before whom do you become purified, and who purifies you? Your Father in Heaven!”
The Maggid elaborates on the signficance of the fact that it is specifically our Father in Heaven who purifies us. He gives an analogy to a doctor treating a patient. If there is no special relationship between the doctor and the patient, the doctor will proceed as he sees fit without making a special effort to lessen the patient’s suffering. But if the doctor is the patient’s father, he will go out of his way to keep the suffering at a minimum.
Thus it is with Hashem and us. As we noted in a previous piece, the Torah calls Hashem our Healer – the One Who cures our spiritual ills. One way to eliminate the negative spiritual effects of sin is afflictions. But, in His kindness, Hashem gave us a special day – Yom Kippur – on which the effects of our sins can be wiped out with no suffering at all (except for very serious sins, as the Gemara in Yoma explains).
There is, however, a precondition that we must fulfill in order to the healing power of Yom Kippur to have effect: We must become purified before Hashem. In other words, we must raise ourselves, for the full 24+ hour period of Yom Kippur – evening to evening – to a lofty level of holiness, purity, and fear of Hashem. Only then will Yom Kippur purge us of our sins.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.