Emor – Sheini

April 20, 2013, by

G-d told Moshe that kohanim had to free of physical imperfections to perform the service. Examples of disqualifying conditions include blindness, non-working or malformed limbs, dwarfism and extreme skin conditions, among others. Kohanim with such conditions may still eat the portions reserved for priests, they just can’t perform the service. Why is a kohein with […]

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Emor – Shlishi

April 20, 2013, by

G-d gave Moshe instructions about animals for sacrifices. A korban olah (burnt offering) had to be male sheep, goats or cattle without any disqualifying blemishes. A blemished animal would not be accepted. A korban shlamim (peace offering) had to unblemished sheep or cattle. Examples of unacceptable sacrifices include animals that are blind, that have broken […]

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Emor – R’vi’i

April 20, 2013, by

Next, G-d outlined the various holidays, starting with Shabbos (every Saturday). He then detailed Pesach (Passover – one week, starting the 15th day of the month of Nisan, with the Passover sacrifice offered on 14 Nisan). When the Jews settle Israel, they would bring an omer (a specific measure) of the barley harvest, which the […]

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Emor – Chamishi

April 20, 2013, by

Rosh Hashana is the 1st day of the month of Tishrei. On that day, we sound the shofar (ram’s horn). Yom Kippur is 10 Tishrei. On that day, the Jews must fast as it is a day to atone for their sins. Eating on that day carries the penalty of kareis (except if one eats […]

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Emor – Shishi

April 20, 2013, by

15 Tishrei marks the start of Succos (“Tabernacles”), which lasts a week. The eighth day is a separate holiday called Atzeres. (We call it “Shemini Atzeres,” shemini meaning the eighth day.) Work is forbidden on all of these special days, except for the middle days of Passover and the days in between Succos and Atzeres. […]

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Emor – Sh’vi’i

April 20, 2013, by

Next, G-d gave Moshe instructions pertaining to lighting the Menorah in the Tabernacle (and, later, the Temple). The Menorah could only be lit with the purest oil, from olives crushed by hand. Aharon (and his successors) would light the Menorah each evening to burn overnight. (Some find it significant that after discussing Succos, the Torah […]

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Emor – Haftarah

April 20, 2013, by

This week’s haftarah focuses on how priests of the future will conduct themselves. While the match to the Torah reading’s opening discussion of the rules for priests is clear, these chapters challenge us in their portrayal, since it differs in important ways from what we see portrayed in the Torah and the Book of Kings, […]

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Two Aspects of Chesed

April 18, 2013, by

And Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying: Speak to Bnai Yisrael and say unto them, “The appointed times of Hashem, which you shall proclaim to be sacred convocations, these are My appointed times:” (Sefer VaYikra 23:1-2) And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corner of your field. Neither […]

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Parshat Emor: Cosmos and History

May 11, 2012, by

Mircea Eliade, a leading scholar of religions during the twentieth century, contrasted two conceptions of time. Cosmic time is circular whereas historical time is progressive. The cosmic conception of time was prevalent in ancient times and reflected the world of nature in which the seasons reoccur each year. Despite being a fascist anti-Semite, Eliade credited […]

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