One Minute Torah – Achrei Mot 5779

Lori Gilbert Kaye lived her life with radical empathy, right down to her final act of jumping in front of a bullet to save another’s […]

Lori Gilbert Kaye lived her life with radical empathy, right down to her final act of jumping in front of a bullet to save another’s life.  Every human soul is a divine light. Yhat light becomes masked with the yuck of this world unless we work to let it shine. The light of Lori Kaye’s soul shone bright, almost beyond imagination.

On Wednesday afternoon, our 7th graders read excerpts from Anne Frank’s diary, to commemorate the Holocaust.  “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.” I found myself shaking my head with wonder, as I do every time I hear those words read. How did Anne Frank maintain such light in the darkness of that attic?

Our parshah this weeks begins with the words:

וַיְדַבֵּ֤ר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה אַחֲרֵ֣י מ֔וֹת שְׁנֵ֖י בְּנֵ֣י אַהֲרֹ֑ן בְּקָרְבָתָ֥ם לִפְנֵי־יְהוָ֖ה וַיָּמֻֽתוּ׃

Adonai spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, who died when they drew close to the presence of Ado-nai.

The Ba’al Shem Tov, founder of Chasidism, and a radical progressive for his time, made a remarkable comment on this verse:

“The fear of death was distant for Aaron’s sons.  For every moment, they stood face-to-face with death.  As it says, “who died when they drew close to the presence of Ado-nai”.  (As priests, they drew close to God regularly), and every moment that they were close to God, their soul hovered away from them. They were constantly giving over their souls in the service of God.

May we all live our lives like Lori, like Anne, and like Nadav and Avihu sons of Aaron.  Let us fill our days with so much light, that the fear of death becomes irrelevant.