Shabbat Kodesh Parashat Achrei Mot-Kedoshim

Danger of (over) self-confidence…

This week’s (first) Parsha starts with the highest point in the Jewish calendar and in detailing what the highest regarded person (Cohen Gadol) is doing on that holy day. 

The Parsha concludes with a stark warning against engaging in rather low kinds of indecent behaviour. 

A dramatic change within the same weekly reading!

Perhaps it is intended to remind us that even as we manage to achieve high moral values, we are never (totally) immune from falling down and even deteriorating fast…

Indeed, our sages tell us of such a case: 

Yochanan Cohen Gadol served as the high priest in the second Beit Hamikdash (Hasheni). Caught in the swirling controversy of internal religious debate, in his old age he abandoned his Pharisaic roots orientation to join the Sadducean movement, prompting the Rabbis to issue the adage, “Never (over)trust in yourself till the end of your life.”

Surely we should be satisfied with any moral degree we might reach. However, staying “on guard” is strongly recommended, always… 

Warm regards and Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Chaim Michael Biberfeld