- Neshama Staff
Parshas Acharei Mos
This week's Torah portion starts off with a reference to the tragic and perplexing deaths of Nadav and Avihu, sons of Aharon HaKohen, who brought an unscheduled offering into the Kodesh HaKodoshim (Holy of Holies) and offered it before Hashem. Why were they killed for this seemingly righteous act? There was no commandment to bring an offering at that time, and that means that bringing an offering would be inappropriate, and wrong. But they seemed to be trying to serve Hashem, so what was lacking in their action that deserved the punishment of death?
It was their brashness is not seeking out the true Will of Hashem, and deciding that they knew best on their own. This lack of seeking the true Will of Hashem cost them their life, which served as an example to the nation portraying how perilous it is to ignore one important message. This message is: the ultimate goal of each and every individual in this world is to serve their Creator, Hashem. But not simply in the way we see fit, and certainly not in the way we see most convenient, rather, our intentions should be solely to discover the true "desires" of Hashem and commit ourselves to fulfilling what we've discovered.
Such an approach to service of Hashem is the most rewarding. Those who follow in this path will certainly feel more accomplished, knowing that their own preferences and desires are not the focus of their life. Rather, their focus is to serve Hashem, simply for the sake of doing His Will, no strings attached. One "desire" that Hashem holds in the highest regard is the burial of every deceased Jew. Death is not in all senses an end to the deceased one's existence. Instead it is the beginning of the afterlife, where Hashem takes each and every Neshama (Soul) to the Heavenly Tribunal for an accounting of their life's deeds. The traditional Jewish burial of the physical body is the beginning of this process of ascent to the Heavenly court, allowing the spiritual Neshama to receive its merits earned by the actions of the physical body. The time of burial is auspicious for the deceased, for it is the last opportunity to gain favor in the Eyes of Hashem, by following His Will. For this reason, it should be treated accordingly by the family, friends, and community of the deceased. This final opportunity to obtain merit for the Soul before the ultimate Judgement should be taken seriously, for the sake of Hashem, and of the deceased one. We should all merit to have a clear vision of the Will of Hashem, and only endeavor to fulfill that Will, letting nothing get in our way.