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Home » Emor

Emor: Food for Thought for your Dinner Table

Submitted by on May 4, 2008 – 4:14 amNo Comment | 2,592 views

Sunday: Inherent Sanctity

The Kohen (priest) must be holy for G-d is holy. It is not easy to be holy; holiness requires discipline, devotion, commitment and constant vigilance, which is why there are so few holy people. Yet the entire tribe of Levi was holy. The Levite’s holiness was not the product of hard work or internal discipline, the Levite was born into holiness. In His infinite kindness, G-d apportioned a greater measure of soul power to the Levite, which makes him naturally more inclined toward holy behaviour. We honor the Levite because he is holy. We honor the Levite because he plays host to a higher degree of Divininity. This is the inner meaning of the words,”You should treat him as a holy person for I G-d (within him) am holy” Ketav Sofer

Monday: Rabbinical Ordinances

The first chapter of Mishnaic ethics exhorts us to create a fence around the Torah. This is widely understood to mean that leading rabbis of successive generations are required to ordain rabbinic laws against behaviours that lead by virtue of habit or error to actual Biblical transgressions. It appears that the rabbis fulfilled this instruction with gusto, but where does one find such authority in the Torah? The answer appears in our Parshah. “Veshamru Et Mishmarti,” they shall guard my observance. The observance of Torah is guarded when safety nets are erected around biblical prohibitions to help us avoid actual transgression. Toras Kohanim

Tuesday: Perfect Offerings

Halacha stipulates that only animals in perfect condition are fit to serve as an offering to G-d. Even a slight blemish renders an animal unfit. The sacrifices were intended to inspire our minds and hearts to repentance and to G-d. It is in our nature to be awed by perfection. When we take note of the animal’s perfection we realize that G-d is perfect and nothing short of perfection is worthy of being offered to Him. Anything short of perfection fails to inspire, which in turn fails to achieve the underlying purpose of the sacrificial offering. Sefer Hachinuch

Wednesday: Weeks of Separation

The seven weeks between Pesach and Shavuot is a time for spiritual introspection and character development. During this time we prepare to receive the Torah by correcting our faults and spiritual imperfections so that we might be worthy of the cosmic gift bestowed upon us on Shavuot. These seven weeks reflect the seven days of separation between husband and wife following the cessation of the menstrual flow. Human nature is such that we covet the forbidden, but grow bored with the abundantly available. Accordingly, many couples have reported that after adopting the tradition of monthly separation and reunification their marital passion was enhanced and their romance rekindled. This is also the intention of the seven weeks that precede Shavuot. We focus on our shortcomings and on our distance from G-d and thus rekindle our yearning for G-d. This, in turn, enhances the excitement of our eventual reunification during Shavuot. Maor Einaim

Thursday: The Purpose of Creation

Rosh Hashana, the Hebrew New Year, is not the anniversary of the first day of creation, the day heaven and earth were created, but the sixth day of creation, the day Adam and Eve were created. Why does the world’s birthday commemorate humanity’s creation rather than that of the universe? G-d’s purpose in creating the world was so that humankind might be created and serve Him in it. So long as Adam and Eve were not created, all of creation lacked purpose. There was no point in celebrating a purposeless creation for purpose creates history by providing a flow between past, present and future. Only when Adam and Eve appeared on the world’s stage was there reason to celebrate creation. Likutei Torah

Friday: Dependence on Above

“You shall sit in the Sukkah for seven days . . . so that you will know . . . that I settled the children of Israel in Sukkas (of clouds) when I liberated them from Egypt.”

The Sukkah commemorates the protective canopy of clouds with which G-d enveloped our ancestors during their forty year journey across the desert. Within these clouds they were protected from the harsh elements of the desert. When we enter our Sukkah we too reflect on the Divine protection from which we benefit. Experience has taught has that we cannot rely on international goodwill for protection. Anti-Semitism has historically raised its ugly head even in countries were Jews were treated with respect and have achieved positions of prominence. The Sukkah reminds us that we live in a harsh world, as harsh if not harsher, than the conditions our ancestors faced in the desert. Just as they threw their lot in with G-d and benefited from His largesse alone, so should and do we. Maharam Shik

Shabbat: Revealing Words

“A man who inflicts injury on another, as he has done so is done to him.” On a literal level this verse addresses physical injury, but on a more refined level this verse also addresses injurious words, for words are often more hurtful than deeds. When we shame another we shame ourselves more than we do the other. “As he has done,” meaning as he shames the other, “So is done to him,” so is he shamed in the process. A loving sibling does not speak ill of a family member in public. Those who lash out against their family shame themselves more than anyone else. Divrei Yisroel