In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Acharei Mot, we read about Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is the holiest day for Jews across the world. The fast day is our day of atonement after the renewal of Rosh Hashanah. It is a day in which we seek holiness by reducing our physical pleasure and bodily temptations. In fact, many of the practices of the day, such as not eating or drinking and not wearing leather shoes are intended for us to transcend our physical bodies and find a spiritual existence.
Parshat Acharei Mot contains other discussions about holiness and sacrifices. We learn of the many steps in sacrificing an animal for Yom Kippur and the holiness of the process. As Tefillah is the modern-day substitute for sacrifices, this serves to remind us how careful we must be with our prayers. They too must be said in holiness with sincere thought, intention, and mindset.
Perhaps there are additional messages as well. Holiness can be found in our distinct personality and individuality. G-d is reminding us why it is so important to be different and not blend in with those around us. Our individuality is what makes each and every one of us special. We are told in this parsha that we are required to make an offering in return for our sins, as the verse says, “Aaron shall bring forward the goat designated by lot for which he is to offer as a sin offering”. This offering is symbolic of what we can give back in return for our sins. THIS is the part about how each of us are special. We do not need to make a sacrifice for redemption, but instead to use our uniqueness to help those around us. We must use our individuality to stand and take action to become better, we cannot lay down waiting for redemption. G-d created each one of us with unique gifts and it is these special gifts that we must bring as an offering.
Celebrate your individuality. Rejoice in your unique personality. Offer it to the world around you.
Be special, be unique, be yourself.
Gili Weintraub, Delta Region
Read commentary on this week's Parsha from BBYO teens around the world.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
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