Sunday, April 27, 2014

Parshat Acharei, (Leviticus 16:25-16:34), 4/8/14

The sprinkling of the blood represents the passions of man and the smoke from the fat represents the pleasures of man.

Passions and pleasures should be godly.

But what is the difference between passions and pleasures? Are there pleasures that aren't connected to passion?

Pleasure is: “a feeling of happiness, enjoyment, or satisfaction: a pleasant or pleasing feeling”
“Passion stems from the Latin work pati, meaning “to suffer.” The stem pass comes from the word passive meaning “capable of suffering.” Pass was coined in the early 16th century to denote "the suffering of Christ on the cross." English also acquired the word through the Old French word passion meaning "strength of feeling.” This has been transferred in our modern times to denote sexual attraction and anger. Webster states the word passion “is a strong feeling, especially of anger, love or desire.” It says that passion “is an emotion, an intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.” It also says that passion “is the sufferings of Christ between the night of the last supper and His death.” Interestingly enough one version states, “it is also the state or capacity of being acted on by external agents or forces.” What stronger force is there then God? Wasn't it God who wanted “The passion of Jesus” to be a reality?—See more at:
Passion and pleasure are both feelings, though pleasure seems to come from passion. Pleasure is also defined as a “state of gratification.” Passion sometimes seems uncontrollable, which makes it a challenge to be godly. We want to feel passion. Yet sometimes passion leads us to places that we shouldn't be. How does one lead a passionate life but not hurt others? Is controlling passion being inhibited?

The parshah is about Yom Kibbur, the holiday for atonement. Everyone observes Yom Kibbur by not working and not eating. I like how atonement is celebrated with pleasure and passion. Atonement does not seem to be sitting in the corner, biting one's tongue. Instead it is to live life fully, yet in a godly manner. At first, thought, this might be a contradiction. Yet if the passion is not godly, then it will be followed with regret.

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