Gentiles

Parashat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim - Leviticus 16:1-20:27

The Four Prohibitions

After detailing the instructions for the Yom Kippur service, the parashot of Acharei Mot and Kedoshim then hit a series of seemingly unrelated topics concerning a number of different things. For the contemporary reader, particularly to those of us from among the nations, these strange regulations seem completely out of the realm our modern lives. Outside of the obvious ethical principles of forbidden sexual relationships, what possible relevance do these seemingly antiquated ritual concerns have for us today?

The Fullness of the Gentiles (Parashat Vayechi)

Every Friday night we bless our sons according to this blessing, “May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.” What is this whole blessing business that Jacob is doing? What is this pattern of blessing he establishes, and why do we desire our sons to be like Ephraim and Manasseh, rather than Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob or like any of Jacob’s other sons? Speaking of Ephraim, Jacob told Joseph, “His offspring shall become a multitude of nations” (Genesis 48:19).

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