This week’s portion of Acharei Mot-Kedoshim is so potent, we read it twice a year – once on Yom Kippur, and once during Shabbat in the month of Iyar (Taurus). There are countless lessons we can learn from the story and innumerable benefits from listening to its reading. One of the most important among them is the spiritual teaching that is the purpose for which all the precepts exist. For in this portion we find the Golden Rule: Love thy neighbor as thyself.
For many, this precept is complicated. How can I love my neighbor as myself if I don’t love myself? For that matter, how can I love myself if I don’t know myself?
Let’s use spiritual understanding to help us reveal the deepest and most concealed essence of this phrase and its complexities:
With regard to knowing ourselves, some people spend a lifetime trying to get to know themselves. The truth is, we are meant to be ever evolving, changing and growing. Who we were ten years ago is certainly not who we are today, and as such to know ourselves is more journey than destination.
Furthermore, to truly love ourselves is to understand that we are divine beings. The strongest self-love is a total awe and regard for the fact that at our core we carry a spark of the Creator, which can never be belittled, tarnished, or torn asunder. It is with a deep respect for the Light within ourselves and others that we can begin to love.