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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Yonah Burr

Acharei Mos: The Sky is the Limit!

ושמרתם את חקתי ואת משפטי אשר יעשה אתם האדם וחי בהם אני ד' (ויקרא י"ח:ה)

And you should guard my statues and my laws; every man shall perform them and live through them

As we all know, every verse of the Torah is rich with meaning. On the outermost layer, there is the simple translation; then come the ‘Remez’, hints to deeper meanings; Aggadic, or Medrashic interpretations; and the Kabbalistic meaning.

We would expect no less. After all, the Torah is the word of Hashem, and just as Hashem is unfathomable to us, so is His word in the Torah.

This concept is illustrated to us in this seemingly simple verse: “Every man shall perform them and live through them”. But how does one ‘live through the mitzvos’?

Rashi translates the verse according to its simple meaning; it refers to the World to Come, where man literally lives forever; no one lives forever in this transient world.

The Ramban shares with us some of the deeper meanings:

"You should know, that ‘living through the mitzvos’ is relative to one’s preparation; if one performs a mitzva for ulterior motives, i.e. for physical reward, one might merit long life, health and wealth. Similarly, if one performs the mitzvos for eternal reward, i.e. serving Hashem out of fear, will certainly merit a portion of the world to come, and be spared the punishment awaiting the wicked. If one serves out of love, he can merit wealth both in this world and the world to come; one who reaches even loftier levels, completely leaving the pursuits of this world and overcoming his physicality, their entire thoughts devoted solely to Hashem, like someone on the level of Eliyahu the Prophet, literally live forever, their bodies together with their souls, as if they would already be living in the era of the resurrection- as if he is already living in the world to come-all of these levels are included in the meaning of ‘and live through them’”.

The simple words ‘and you will live through them’ are so laden with levels and meanings! And through this single verse, we gain a glimpse into all the verses and mitzvos of Hashem. The opportunities are endless! The mitzvos are but the starting point! Each mitzvah has the potential to give us eternal life!

May we all merit to reach our potential and fathom the depths of the Torah!

Have a wonderful Shabbos!!


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