AUJS WEEKLY DVAR TORAH - Acharei Mot & Kedoshim
Written by Josh Bartak
This week we read Parshat Acharei Mot & Kedoshim together.
Laws of Yom Kippur.
Laws of kosher animal slaughter.
The prohibition of eating blood.
The dangers of immorality.
A list of forbidden sexual relationships is given.
It says in Parshat Kedoshim “you shall not stand by the blood of your fellow” (Vayikra 19:16). This says that if a Jew sees another person in danger or if they see something bad happening and they can do something about it, they have an obligation to act and not stand idly by. I believe this idea extends beyond physical trouble to include social and economic trouble. I want to talk about this idea in relation to us generally and then specifically as AUJS members.
We have the obligation to be concerned about other people. We must act if they are in trouble and we must strive not to be the cause of their problems. This idea can be illustrated with a few examples. If you’re inside a shop and you see someone shoplifting, you have the obligation to raise the alarm. If you see a fight happen in the street and you have a phone it must be you who calls the police and not walks away pretending it isn’t happening. We all know that this is what we should do but how many of us would just do the easy thing and take no notice? Too many people live each day not caring about other people but themselves. They are greedy, stingy and arrogant and we must not live our lives this way.
The verse equally applies on a macro level and in relation to us as AUJS members and this Parsha comes at a very important time as we fight the BDS Campaign. We could easily push Israel to the side and say that all of its issues are foreign to us. But as Jews we have a continued obligation to stand with it and be informed about what’s happening there. Israel needs us. Obviously we shouldn't join the “Israel is perfect” club because we all find things wrong in Israel just like we do here and that’s fine.
We all remember how The AJN published negative articles saying (wrongfully in my opinion) that AUJS wasn’t doing anything about the assault on Israel on campus. But how good was it over the past few days that we had such good events on campus celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut? Our Yom Ha’aztmaut party last week at Boutique saw hundreds turn out and it was a massive success! I was pleased to see the photos from “Israel Peace Week” in Sydney which I’m sure was a big success too. It was also quite funny to watch the anti-Israel protesters this week have to sit quietly and behave themselves in the Magistrate’s Court.
Our challenge is to keep up our good work on campus, flight the good fight and be proudly Jewish and pro-Israel. We must continue to hinder the efforts of Students for Palestine against us, while at the same time making ourselves stronger.
The author is the AUJS Victoria Religious Officer. The above piece reflects the view of its author and does not necessarily represent that of the organisation.