By: Kayla Wolfson (11th)
This week’s Torah portion, Parshat Acharei Mot, discusses the effect Korbanot (animal sacrifices) had on Bnei Israel. A Korban was given when one sinned in a private matter concerning themselves. It is stated that when Bnei Israel brought Korbanot for Hashem to the Beit Hamikdash (sanctuary), the Kohen Gadol would then “deliver” this offering. When this was done, the nation was granted Kappara, otherwise referred to as atonement, and their sins decimated.
The Torah then brings up the process one must go through if they sin to another person. When dealing with the mending of our relationship to other people, more work must be put in. The steps required to get full forgiveness begins with regret, but does not end there. When one feels remorse, they then must confess their sin and vow that they will never do it again. The way in which the Torah explains one who is fully forgiven for their sin, is if they are put in that specific situation again and do not perform what they originally had done. If the person sinned against accepts the apology after all all steps are “completed,” Hashem will lift off the sin from one’s shoulders.
This week’s Parsha also mentions the process the High Priest, Kohen Gadol, would have to go through before entering the Kodesh Hakodashim (the innermost room of the Beit Hamikdash) in order to atone for Bnei Yisrael’s sins. Although this occurred on Yom Kippur, it is relevant to this week, as this week marks six months away from Yom Kippur. The Torah informs us of this yearly occurrence to teach us, the future generations, that Hashem will atone our sins and purify us every year on this day, the 10th of Tishrei.
Yom Kippur is the day that we really think about the religious and/or secular path we are on and whether or not we want to change the way in which we are heading. The gift of Yom Kippur is that not only does Hashem grant us kapparah when He forgives us, but it is also stated the we are given Tahara (purity) since we “reconnect” with Hashem.
Sometimes we are in a situation where we have not technically done anything wrong yet, but if we continue down the same path, it could potentially lead us to danger, and so we must reflect on the possible scenario at hand and decide to continue or step back. Likewise, we must show Hashem that we are committed to the relationship we have with Him, by taking a moment to step back and think every year. When we do this, Yom Kippur is a day or Tahara for our relationship with Hashem and Kapparah for our sins.
This Shabbat is the halfway mark which should remind us to check in with ourselves and see where we are “in our travels.”