Torah – Leviticus 21:1-24:23  Haftarah – Ezekiel 44:15-31  Brit Chadashah – 1 Peter 2:4-10

We are looking at parasha (portion) Emor this week.  Emor is the Hebrew word for “say.”  We will not get too far into the above listed verses.  In fact, we will pretty much stay in the first four verses, so be certain to study the rest on your own.

Leviticus 21:1-4, “the L-RD said to Moshe, “Speak to the Kohanim, the sons of Aharon, and say to them, ‘A Kohen shall not defile himself for the dead among his people; 2 except for his relatives that are near to him: for his mother, for his father, for his son, for his daughter, for his brother, 3 and for his virgin sister who is near to him, who has had no husband; for her he may defile himself. 4 He shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself.” (HNV)

First, we will look at what is likely pretty obvious.  We will ask the question, why the prohibition of contact with the dead?  Why is this something that defiles us and specifically the Priests?

Remember that we are talking about ritual purity or being ceremonially clean.  The uncleanness of contact with a corpse and preparation for burial is not sin.  So why then the Mitzvah to not have this contact?

The Priests were not to have contact, except for the mentioned relationships, in order to protect them.  Unnecessary exposure to death can contaminate one’s mind.  When we see a lifeless body, it is easy to be tempted to think of death as final, or the end.  This simply is not true, or course!  Death is merely an illusion.  It is a transition where the individual simply moves from this dimension of reality to that which lies beyond.  For believers and followers in Yeshua, death is the entrance into a Glorious and eternal existence with the King of Kings.  While death for the non-believer is an entrance into an altogether different and eternal reality.  This reality is so horrible, I wish to only focus on the intended reality for all, that, of course, is Heaven.

Our Haftarah portion this week reflects the Mitzvah for the Priest to avoid contact with the dead person, except for certain relationships as listed in bothTorah and here in Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 44:25-26, “They shall go in to no dead person to defile themselves; but for father, or for mother, or for son, or for daughter, for brother, or for sister who has had no husband, they may defile themselves. 26 After he is cleansed, they shall reckon to him seven days.”

Now let’s focus briefly on the very first verse of our Torah portion, Leviticus 21:1.

As Rabbi Cliff often points out to us, when G-d says something it is truly important.  If He repeats something multiple times, it is a huge clue for us to slow down and pay attention because there is something very important for us to uncover.

In the opening verse, we see the words “said, speak and say”— all forms of the same word.  We also see something we might easily miss.  Why would G-d choose to tell Moses to speak to the Cohenim and then as if to clarify, He says the sons of Ahron (Aaron).  Of course, G-d is speaking about Aaron’s sons because they were the only ones that were Cohenim, or Priests!

One of the teachings of the sages is pretty interesting and worth sharing.  It is sort of separating the adults from the children in a way.  The Cohenim is related to the Priests, the adults trained in Torah and in service to the L-RD, while the sons of Aaron refers to the little ones and those to come.

It is an admonition for the Priests to be sure to not only pass on what they know, but to in a way humble themselves by spending time with and teaching the younger generation.  This was not to be a job for others of lesser or lower position.  This is tied to Deuteronomy chapter 6, when we are told to teach the Torah diligently to our children.

We see this modeled in various other places in the Word.  It is so important that G-d Himself took on lowly human form in order to mingle with us, His children in order to teach us.

Psalm 8:4, “What is man, that you think of him? The son of man, that you care for him?”

Matthew 19:14, “But Yeshua said, “Allow the little children, and don’t forbid them to come to me; for to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven.”

We ought to take to heart that we are all called to be Priests in His Kingdom.  Therefore, we all ought to be busy in service to the King, but also we should give attention to the little ones and pay attention to teach correctly even the smallest of details.

Matthew 10:30, “but the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

If G-d gives such attention to creating such a massive and awesome Universe where every detail matters, even though we may never see it, how much then should we pay attention to details?  G-d who gave names to every star in the heavens and masterfully created and supports them, also cares enough to know how many hairs are on our heads…wow!  May we all endeavor to be a people also concerned with the smallest of details when it comes to His Word and how we ought to live.  Shalom!