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Home » Emor

Emor: Room for Growth

Submitted by on April 30, 2006 – 5:37 pmNo Comment | 1,090 views

The Grizzled Lamb

“A bull, sheep or goat, that is born to you, shall remain under its mother for seven days. From the eighth day onward it is acceptable as an offering to G-d.” Why does the Torah refer to the newborn animals by their mature names instead of the usual calf, lamb and kid? To teach us that an animal is born with its entire potential already actualized. It cannot develop into something greater then it already is.
Its qualities will never erode but its inherent faults will always remain.

Young At Heart

Not so for human beings, man is always capable of more. For us there is always room for growth. Rabbi Akiva, for example, was forty years old before he learned to read Hebrew, yet he became the greatest Torah Scholar in history. Every human being, background and affiliation not withstanding, can to transform him/herself and thus make great strides forward.

The Circumcision Milestone

A calf is born and lives for one week. Having completed one full cycle of life it is ready for its greatest milestone, to be brought as an offering before G-d. There is no sense in waiting any longer for it won’t develop into more than it already is. Mankind, on the other hand, lives for one week and only then begins the journey. Circumcision, performed on the eighth day, enables us to begin a process that only intensifies as we grow and mature.
Though girls are not circumcised they don’t miss out on this process. Jewish thought views women as endowed at birth with the inherent quality that men receive only at circumcision. In this sense women begin their process of spiritual growth one-week earlier, from the time of birth.

Forward March

It is never too late to turn over a new leaf. Life is filled with milestones. Birth, circumcision, bar/bat Mitzvah, graduation, marriage, parenting, grand parenting and so on. If physical maturity marches inexorably forward it follows that spiritual maturity can, at the very least, keep pace.
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