Parashat Acharei Mot, Mourning, and Caring for Each Other

Inspiring Critical Thinking and Community via Books, Lessons, and Story

     This week’s Torah portion,  Acharei Mot (After the Death of…),  is the 29th (29th/54 or 52, depending on the year: this year, it’s 54…) through the annual cycle, and the 6th parashah in the book of Vayikra/Leviticus.

   This portion deals with preventing tragedies like that of the two sons of Aaron last regular parashah ( Parashat Metzorah), and also lists prohibitions on certain things that now seem pretty obvious, and give us much of our Western Cultural ideas.  For example “the life of the flesh is in the blood,” and not sleeping with your daughter-in-law.  All of these prohibitions suggest a way of reasoning that leads to the idea that caring about others, and for others, is the basis of a functioning society.  From caring for the animals whose lives meat-eaters take in order to feel nourished, to caring for the feelings of those close to our…

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