Acharai Mos and Kedoshim 2006

This week we again read two Parshas – two portions in the Torah, that of Acharai Mos, and that of Kedoshim. The Parsha of Acharai Mos deals mostly with the laws of the service in the Temple on Yom Kippur. The Parsha of Kedoshim deals with a wide range of different commandments. One of the more famous commandments that are in this Parsha, is the mitzvah to “love your neighbor like yourself, I am Hashem.” Why does the Torah end off the mitzvah to love your neighbor like yourself, with the statement that “I am Hashem?” The Chofetz Chaim explains that the Torah is explaining a way for us to fulfill this mitzvah. Let’s say two Jews, Sam and David, had a disagreement. Each one was very upset at the other. A third Jew, Levi, met Sam and told him, “Do you know who I saw talking to David? Rav Moshe Feinstien, and Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky! They were very eager to seek his advise on a pressing issue.” Sam was very surprised, but figured perhaps they didn’t really know the true David. The next day Levi again met Sam, and told him “do you know who came to visit David yesterday? It was the Gaon of Vilna, the Baal Shem Tov, and the famed Nodah B’yehudah. They all came to consult with David!“ Now, Sam was a little concerned, but figured there still might be a mistake here. The next day, Levi again met Sam. This time the news was even more startling. “Do you know who met with David yesterday? It was Rashi, Miamonidies, and Nachmonidies. They all came to seek out his council.” Sam began to wonder if perhaps he had made a mistake after all. The following week the news was totally devastating. “Do you know who came to David last night? It was the Talmudic sages Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Meir, and Rabbi Yehuda!” By now, Sam was ready to give up. Obviously, if all these great Rabbis had such a high opinion of David, Sam realized he must have made a mistake in formulating his impression of David. The final straw came when a couple of days later Levi told Sam, “I just want you to know that the Almighty Himself convened a meeting with the angels of high, and brought none other than David to speak before them.” By now, Sam was on his way to apologize to David and to ask his forgiveness. This, the Chofetz Chaim explains, is the meaning of this verse. “Love your friend like you love yourself! And if you feel that your friend is not deserving of that love, and there isn’t something very special about him or her, then think again! For Ani Hashem – I am Hashem! If you can’t find something deserving of love in your fellow Jew, just remember – I am Hashem, and I do find something special about every single Jew! You can too!