The True Mitzvah is the Yearning

· Judaism, Passover, spiritual journey, Torah

The Parsha name “Achrei Mos” meaning “after the death” pertains to the deaths of Nadab and Avihu, the two sons of Aaron who simultaneously made the fatal mistake of bringing their incense offerings behind the curtain into the Holy of Holies uninvited and at the wrong time. However, as the Lubavitcher Rebbe points out in his commentary, the motivation of these two holy Jews was pure unadulterated love for HaShem at the highest level; a love so strong that they simply could not control their impulse to be untied with Him. This, as the Rebbe points out, is the yearning of the Neshama to be with its maker; thus the only thing that keeps our soul from leaping out of our bodies is the desire to fulfill G-d’s will; to remain in this world and elevated it to holiness with Torah and Mitzvahs and return it to its pristine condition of complete obedience to His will as existed on the sixth day of creation before Adam and Eve’s disobedience. However, the yearning is special in the it exists inherent within the Jew and only needs to be evoked with a thought.

To continue, as we approach the last day before Passover, Erev Pesach, we come to the time of commemorating the Korbon Pesach, the roasting of the lamb after using its blood to mark the door posts of the Jewish houses in Goshen. This was the first Mitzvah (commandment) for the Jewish people as a nation. This sacrifice was the beginning of a process that transformed three million children of Israel for individuals of a family to the status of a holy nation. Being a nation means unity and the Mitzvah is the act that unifies the Jewish people as one person in G-d’s service. While remaining as a family, the Children of Israel took on a national identity, whose existence has always and continues to defy human logic.

Yet, today, we are not allowed to perform this and certain other Mitzvahs that are tied to the Holy Temple being in operation as a prerequisite. We get credit for those Mitzvahs because we describe them in our prayers and we ask G-d to accept our words as if we actually performed them. But how do we connect to those Mitzvahs? It’s not enough just to recite the procedure without actually doing it! We can’t be satisfied with the holiest Mitzvahs being relegated to lip service for the last two thousand years!

Therefore, we must connect to our suspended Mitzvahs by yearning for them. We must cry out to HaShem, “Enough is enough! Please! Give us back our Mitzvahs so that we may all be together this Erev Pesach with Mashiach in Jerusalem roasting the Korbon Pesach lamb! A happy and kosher Passover to all Jews everywhere. And, may the blessing of redemption be upon all humanity as G-d said, “My house will be a house of prayer for all the nations.”

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