Parshas Acharei-mos/Kedoshim

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Parshas Acharei-mos/Kedoshim


Everyone has habits. Some are good, while others are to the contrary. It’s only natural that once someone becomes accustomed to a person, place, activity, or anything else under the sun, the feeling of familiarity begins to take over. Ask any professional what his first day on the job was like. There’s no question that everyone will say there was a sense of nervousness and doubt. Ask them six months down the road what it was like, and the answer will most definitely shift gears. They’ll tell you how things sort of flowed, and it almost seemed systematic. What was nerve racking and doubtful, became smooth and decisive. This is the nature of most things in life.

This week’s Torah portion warns us of falling into the danger of habitual behavior. The parsha starts off by warning Aharon Hakohen not to enter the holy of holies as he pleases, due to the fact that the “clouds of incense” are constantly on top of the ketores there. Rashi comments that this is the referring to the presence of the Almighty. Due to the habitual “presence of the Almighty” on top of the holy aron, it would be a danger to constantly enter at will. This would lead to a closeness to the presence of H’m in a rote sort of way (look at Sichos Mussar from R. Chaim Shmulevitz on this point). The Torah is telling us an extremely deep lesson. Although a habit forming link with the Almighty seems like a wonderful and lofty height, it has extremely dangerous ramifications. Our connection with the Almighty is supposed to be one of awe and trepidation. However, when one becomes too accustomed to a closeness to H’m, that sense of fear is diminished. One must always bear in mind in all forms of serving the Almighty that sense of awe. Familiarity seems to always shake that feeling.

The average day of a G-D fearing Jew is almost systematic. Daven three times a day, learn, and make brochos on all meals of the day. The goal is to keep away the systematic feeling, a feel a sense of freshness in everything. When one davens, if it’s the same exact davening as the one before, it loses feeling. One must focus, and feel as if this is the first prayer of the day. It’s not an easy task, but without this feeling, the sense of awe for the Almighty dissipates. Make a habit out of renewal if service to H’m, and nothing will be habit!


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