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Teach Your Children
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As is often the case, the name of this week’s parasha is taken from a word in the very first verse: emor – “speak”. In fact, the act of speech appears three times in this verse: And God said to Moshe: Speak to the kohanim, the sons of Aharon, and say to them: Let none […]
Respect for the Departed is Respect for Life
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And Hashem said to Moshe: Speak unto the priests the sons of Aharon, and say to them: None shall defile himself for the dead among his people; (Sefer VaYikra 21:1) The kohen’s unique status A kohen is distinguished from other Jews. He has exclusive rights and privileges. These include the privilege to serve in the […]
Emor – Haftarah
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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, […]
Emor – Sh’vi’i
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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 […]
Emor – Shishi
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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. […]
Emor – Chamishi
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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 […]
Emor – R’vi’i
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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 […]
Emor – Shlishi
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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 […]
Emor – Sheini
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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 […]