Weekly Portion

Weekly Portion: Emor 5775 (Leviticus 21-24)

This week’s portion sets forth the standards of purity and perfection for a Cohen; specifies the physical requirements of sacrifices and what is to be done with blemished offerings; proclaims as holidays the Shabbat, Pesach, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.

It reminds the Jewish people to provide pure olive oil for the Menorah and designates the details of the Showbread (two stacks of 6 loaves each which were placed on the table in the portable sanctuary and later in the Temple once a week upon Shabbat).

The portion ends with the interesting story of a man who blasphemed God’s name with a curse. What should be the penalty for this transgression? Curious? Leviticus. 24:14.

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Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

“And they (the Cohanim) shall observe my charge, and they shall not bear sin for it” (Leviticus 22:9).

Rashi, the commentator, explains that this verse is a warning to the priests (Cohanim) not to eat trumah (tithes from crops given to theCohanim) while they are in a state of tumah (spiritual impurity). Why the special warning and what can we learn from it?

Even though eating trumah is the fulfillment of a mitzvah for the priests, they must be very careful not to do so in a manner that will transform the potential good into a transgression. Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz commented that we learn from here an important principle: even when a person is involved in doing the Almighty’s service, he must be very careful that no transgressions should come from it.

To reiterate, our lesson: whenever you are engaged in doing a good deed or involved in a worthwhile project, be on guard that the good you do is complete and does not include any transgressions. (And remember to say ‘thank you’ when appropriate!).

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Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

“And the Almighty said to Moshe, ‘Speak to the priests, the sons of Aharon, and say to them: Let no (priest) defile himself amongst his people ” (Lev. 21:1).

The Chozeh of Lublin explained this verse to mean that Moshe was told that the priest should be worthy of being the descendants of Aharon (Aaron, the High Priest). Just as Aharon had the trait of loving and pursuing peace, so too, they should work on acquiring this trait. Therefore, the latter part of this verse warns them that even though they should try to make peace between people whenever they can, they must be careful not to defile themselves in the process. At times they might come into contact with very aggressive and violent people and they should not become too close to them lest they become negatively influenced by their faults.