|The Profundities of Torah-Acharei-Kedoshim-Understand the Warning|
|Written by HaRav Yochanan Zweig|
“...the two of them shall be put to death...” (20:11) Parshas Kedoshim contains the consequences that befall a person who engages in the prohibited consanguineous relationships. In the previous parsha, Acharei Mos, the Torah enjoins Bnei Yisroel from engaging in these relationships.1 This reflects the Talmudic dictum “ein onshim elah im kein mazhirim” - “A punitive action is not meted out for the transgression of a prohibition unless there is a prior warning.”2 Why does the Torah divide the warnings and the punishments into two separate parshios?
A legal system which expects its citizens to abide by its laws for fear of the consequences that occur if the laws are broken is doomed to fail. If the only restraint is punishment, man will risk the negative consequences to attain the perceived benefits. Only a system which instructs its adherents to abide by the laws because transgression of them is inherently wrong and damaging to the individual, can be successful. Therefore, the Torah separates the directives enjoining us from engaging in these illicit acts from the consequences that accompany them to illustrate that we should not adhere to these rules out of fear of punishment, but because they are inherently destructive.
1.18:6-22 2.See Makkos 17b
After nightfall, when the time for counting the Omer arrives, a person should exercise caution not to say “today is...” because he may inadvertently fulfill the mitzva without having made the blessing. Therefore, if a person is asked what day of the Omer we are counting, he should respond “yesterday was...” If he mistakenly announced that day’s count, he can no longer count with a blessing for that evening. This is because there are opinions that one can fulfill a mitzva even without intention. However, since the consensus is that fulfillment of a mitzva requires intention to do so, he is required to count again with intention to fulfill the mitzva, albeit without a bracha.