Rabbi Elyssa Joy Austerklein serves as senior rabbi of Beth El Congregation in Akron, Ohio. She is a graduate of Brandeis University, BU School of Theology, and the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College. She is an artist, yogi, Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, and was named one of America’s 33 most inspiring rabbis of 2015 by The Forward. She is a devoted wife and mother.
We read two parshas this week. Parashat Acharei Mot (Leviticus 16:1-18:30) – describes the Tabernacle ceremony of the Day of Atonement, establishes general rules for sacrifice and sanctuary, and lays down specific laws about sexual relationships. Our discussion focuses on the curious practice of sending a goat to ‘Azazel’ on Yom Kippur as part of the process of atonement.
Parashat Kedoshim (Leviticus 19:1- 20:27)- features God telling Moses to give the people of Israel a set of rules which are meant to help them live a life of holiness. These rules include variations on several of the ten commanments, as well as different laws concerning basic ethical behavior (prohibitions on cheating, stealing and false oaths), harvest, religious rituals, and sexual conduct.
Previous Torah Talks on Achrei Mot and Kedoshim