Sedra of the Week: Acharei Mot– Kedoshim

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Sedra of the Week: Acharei Mot– Kedoshim

Rebbetzin Lisa Levene of Belmont United Synagogue looks ahead to this week's portion of the Torah

Torah scroll (Photo by Tanner Mardis on Unsplash)
Torah scroll (Photo by Tanner Mardis on Unsplash)

Can there be such a thing as too much love? This week’s sedra, Acharei Mot–Kedoshim seeks to answer just that question.

Decades of studies show that fostering a close relationship with someone contributes to critical brain development, promotes independence and stimulates other positive outcomes. 

Other research contradicts this: too much love might create over-dependence, blur boundaries, be construed as suffocating and lead to issues of control and manipulation. Research and popular discourse offer contradictory opinions. 

Queen’s famous song Too Much Love Will Kill You is challenged by the multiple articles arguing that there is no such thing as too much love. So what does the Torah say? 

This week’s parsha opens with the death of Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu. After the inauguration of the Temple, God laid out specific instructions about what sacrifices to bring, when and how. 

However, Nadav and Avihu took it upon themselves to bring their own offering outside the parameters of what they were told. The consequences of their actions led to their
untimely deaths. 

There are many explanations as to why they died. One suggests that they went into the Temple when they were drunk; another is that they sought to be close to God and ascertain a higher level of spiritually, but by doing so they crossed the boundaries of what was ‘right’. The result was death – meaning Queen’s 1995 hit was right! 

Is there such a thing as too much love? The opening of this week’s parsha teaches us that yes, there can be such a thing – and, in fact, it might even kill you if not channelled in the appropriate way.

  •  Lisa Levene is Rebbetzin of Belmont United Synagogue

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