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Parshat Emor

Parshat Emor

The Parsha of Emor commences with a severe warning to the Kohanim not to defile themselves through any uncleaniless, especially through contact with the dead who are not among the seven close family members.

                The Parsha concludes with a broad description of all the Yomim Tovim (holidays) celebrated throughout the year and which are days of joy and rest.  The combination of these topics, in this order, teach us a general lesson in life.  Even during days of sorrow, hardship and suffering, we must not let ourselves fall into a state of depression and loss of hope. We must overcome our anguish, and hope for better days, days of joy and celebration.

                The word "Emor" indicates a supply form of dialect.  This form of speech is mentioned three times in the first Posuk and the entire Parsha takes its name from it.  One would think that placing such difficult restrictions upon the Kohanim would require a stricter form of speech such as the words "Diber". however, even though the Kohanim were given such severe instructions in marriage and mourning, they were happy to wave these acts for the entitlement of serving in the Mishkon and the Bais hamikdash. any personal sacrifice on their behalf was worth the spiritual elevation and closeness to Hashem they received in exchange.

                Later on in the Parsha, the terminology "Vayidaber" is used when listing the disqualifications of a Kohen from performing the service. Not willing to relinquish such lofty service, it was difficult for the disabled Kohanim to give up this privilege and they needed to be commanded with a stricter language.

                "Emor el Hakohanim bnei Aharon VeAmarta Lahem"  according to the literal translation, the Torah instructs the children of Ahron the Cohen that it is not enough to fulfill the commands give to them, but they must teach their children all the mitzvos of the Priesthood so they will not make any errors.

The Chasam Sofer offers an additional interpretation. when one leaves this world, the Chevra Kadisha and other community leaders, make sure to attend to the "gedolim", the important ones. They do everything for the honor of the deceased, a respected funeral, honorable eulogies etc.,  they forget all about the "ketanim", the orphans and the widows whom the deceased left behind in this world, without enough provisions for their support. Thus, the torah begins this Parasha by emphasizing; "Lehazhir Hagedolim al Haketanim". when the head of a household dies, the major concern should be for the Ketanim, the poor little orphans and the lonely widow, who need help and encouragement during this tragic time in their lives. If we fulfill our obligation toward the weak and the "small" we have then fulfilled our obligation towards the "great" as well. 

The Parsha of Emor commences with a severe warning to the Kohanim not to defile themselves through any uncleaniless, especially through contact with the dead who are not among the seven close family members.

                The Parsha concludes with a broad description of all the Yomim Tovim (holidays) celebrated throughout the year and which are days of joy and rest.  The combination of these topics, in this order, teach us a general lesson in life.  Even during days of sorrow, hardship and suffering, we must not let ourselves fall into a state of depression and loss of hope. We must overcome our anguish, and hope for better days, days of joy and celebration.

                The word "Emor" indicates a supply form of dialect.  This form of speech is mentioned three times in the first Posuk and the entire Parsha takes its name from it.  One would think that placing such difficult restrictions upon the Kohanim would require a stricter form of speech such as the words "Diber". however, even though the Kohanim were given such severe instructions in marriage and mourning, they were happy to wave these acts for the entitlement of serving in the Mishkon and the Bais hamikdash. any personal sacrifice on their behalf was worth the spiritual elevation and closeness to Hashem they received in exchange.

                Later on in the Parsha, the terminology "Vayidaber" is used when listing the disqualifications of a Kohen from performing the service. Not willing to relinquish such lofty service, it was difficult for the disabled Kohanim to give up this privilege and they needed to be commanded with a stricter language.

                "Emor el Hakohanim bnei Aharon VeAmarta Lahem"  according to the literal translation, the Torah instructs the children of Ahron the Cohen that it is not enough to fulfill the commands give to them, but they must teach their children all the mitzvos of the Priesthood so they will not make any errors.

The Chasam Sofer offers an additional interpretation. when one leaves this world, the Chevra Kadisha and other community leaders, make sure to attend to the "gedolim", the important ones. They do everything for the honor of the deceased, a respected funeral, honorable eulogies etc.,  they forget all about the "ketanim", the orphans and the widows whom the deceased left behind in this world, without enough provisions for their support. Thus, the torah begins this Parasha by emphasizing; "Lehazhir Hagedolim al Haketanim". when the head of a household dies, the major concern should be for the Ketanim, the poor little orphans and the lonely widow, who need help and encouragement during this tragic time in their lives. If we fulfill our obligation toward the weak and the "small" we have then fulfilled our obligation towards the "great" as well. 

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