Acharei Mot, After the Death, focuses on what happens to Aaron after his sons, Nadav and Avihu, die. He undertakes a series of rituals in order to transition to this period of after his sons’ deaths.
We are in the midst of a period on campus that we focus on “after.” After graduation. After the semester ends. After the summer.
We each need our own ritual of transition to move into “after.” We might take a trip, pack boxes or throw away old clothes and class papers. Both students and staff need to take the time to move forward into “after.”
Pause to offer gratitude. Go for a walk. Write in a journal. Make time for Shabbat in the midst of finals.
Aaron was forever changed by the death of his sons. We too are deeply impacted by our time on campus, whether as Hillel staff or as Hillel students.
In Acharei Mot G-D tries to instruct Aaron in how to live a life of holiness. May we, as we transition into this period of “after” also find ways to live holy lives, deeply shaped by our time at Hillel.
Rabbi Melissa B. Simon is the Jewish chaplain and Hillel director for Muhlenberg College.