Parashat Acharei Mot // “After His Death”

- י ז ל -

Why is Satan an integral part of God’s world?

Expelling the evil inside us is a process that never ends 

“And the LORD spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the LORD, and died; And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother…And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him” Leviticus 16:8 – 10

  • Every moment presents us with the opportunity to choose God over Satan. This is one of our greatest powers as human beings. If we choose to sin, we must also bear the accompanying responsibility. However, repentance is always an option. The right to sin is an integral part of reality. “And God saw all that had been made, and found it very good” (Genesis 1:31). According to the Zohar, this verse refers to the evil inclination – which is an integral part of creation, intended to challenge us. Uprooting evil is therefore a task that never ends – and Azazel and Satan are an indispensable part of God’s universal plan.
  • Nadab and Abihu die because of their arrogance. They desire exclusive privileges and rights, thus neglecting the main trait of public servants, which is humility. When a person – especially a public servant – thinks themselves superior to the rest of the population, they appropriate the portion of sanctity and light that they were meant to pass forward. This wrong choice is dubbed “Azazel” – because it deprives the community of the blessings they are entitled to receive. The purpose of our life is to strengthen God’s light in this world

Human beings are made up of an inferior physical body and lofty soul

“Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD…and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that werebefore you” Leviticus 18:26 – 28

  • Every person is the result of a mixture of keter (כתר, lit. “crown,” the heights of God’s emanations, according to Kabbalah) and malkhut (מלכות, lit. “kingdom,” the lowest emanation). We have both an earthly body and an ethereal spirit. We must neither be dominated by our physical instincts nor detach from the world of the angels. Every person must try to keep the balance and become a “vessel” where the divine presence can dwell – an instrument through which God can manifest. When a person deliberately tries to ascend in a balanced way, their life becomes filled with meaning.

Pearls of Divine Wisdom: “After His Death”

  • The purpose of human life is to become saintly. That is why this Parasha delves into the negative forces that must be expelled. To become saintly, we first need to discover where evil lies instead of resisting it. Only then can we finally choose good.
  • There are no shortcuts. We must first identify what is wrong before we can choose to do good. Evil has an important role – to help us see the potentially majestic order standing behind the chaos. Entropy exists for the purpose of being overcome. When we overcome it, we can choose to do good and create peace and balance inside us and around us.
  • The right to sin is inherent to our world. Any person can choose between God and Satan at any given moment. This faculty is one of our greatest powers as humans. If we sin, we will ultimately have to bear responsibility for this choice and repent.
  • Evil is an integral part of creation. Its purpose is to challenge us. Hence, uprooting evil is a never – ending task and the essence of our existence.
  • Every person is made up of an earthly body and an ethereal soul. Our job is to find the right balance and become vessels that can carry the divine presence’s light.

Abstinence is avoiding addictive pleasures.