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Parshat Emor

PARSHA ON PARADE IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY
OF MY DEAR FATHER AND REBBI:
HARAV HAGAON RAV YESHAYA SHIMANOWITZ Z'TZL ,
ROSH YESHIVA
IN
YESHIVAS RABAINU YAAKOV YOSEF
(RABBI JACOB JOSEPH YESHIVA - RJJ)
IN NYC FOR OVER 23 YEARS.
NIFTAR ON 20 ADAR 5758 - MARCH 18, 1998.
MAY HE BE A MAYLITZ YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL.

AND

MY DEAR MOTHER
REBITZEN BRACHA ETEL SHIMANOWITZ A'H
WHO DEVOTED HER ENTIRE LIFE TO MY FATHER AND HIS TORAH,
NIFTERA ON 21 TEVET 5770 - WED EVE. JANUARY 6, 2010.
MAY SHE BE A MAYLITZA YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL


Menachim Z. Shimanowitz

You too can dedicate a Parsha or any other section of Torah Tots in honor or in memory of someone close to you.
For further info, click here.

PARSHA
FACTS

NUMBER OF MITZVOT: 63
24 MITZVOT ASEH (POSITIVE COMMANDMENT)
39 MITZVOT LO TAASEH (NEGATIVE COMMANDMENT - PROHIBITION)

NUMBER OF PESUKIM (SENTENCES): 124

NUMBER OF WORDS: 1614

NUMBER OF LETTERS: 6106

HAFTORA: (Additional portion, from Prophets, which is read after the Parsha)
Yechezkel / Ezekiel 44:15 - 31

ל״ג בעומר Lag B'Omer is Sunday, May 14, 2017.


This week we study Chapter 4 of Pirkei Avot - "Ethics of the Fathers"


פרשת אמור
A LEVI
BECOMES
A KOHAIN
In our last episode Hashem called the Bnei Yisroel a "Holy Nation."

As our Parsha opens, Hashem zooms in on the "Holy Shevet "(Tribe) in the Holy nation, Shevet Levi.

In Mitzrayim, and again in the desert, the Leviyim have a history of being more dedicated to Hashem than the rest of the nation.

Of all the Leviyim, Aharon stands out as the holiest man in the Shevet. Therefore Hashem chooses to make Aharon the Kohain Gadol. His descendants will be the Kohanim, the priests of the Jewish nation, dedicated to Avodah (service) of Karbanot (sacrifices) in the Mishkon and later the Bait Hamikdash (Holy Temple). The Leviyim will provide other services to the Bait Hamikdash as well.


A COUPLE
OF
KOHAIN'S
CONDITIONS

We start off with a few details about what a Kohain may or may not do...

Firstly, a Kohain is not allowed to touch a dead body - not even stay under the same roof with a dead body. A Kohain also can't enter a cemetery unless he's burying a close relative. The Torah defines seven:

  • wife
  • mother
  • father
  • son
  • daughter
  • brother
  • unmarried sister
A Kohain Gadol cannot even bury these seven relatives.

These laws apply to Kohanim today as well. (Men and boys, but not women and girls).

Any Kohain, even a Kohain Gadol, must bury a Mait Mitzvah. A Mait Mitzvah is a dead body that lies on a lone road. A Kohain who comes across a dead body cries out, "I've found a Jew who needs to be buried. Whoever hears my voice please come to bury him!" If no one answers his call, the Kohain must bury the body.

If a Kohain becomes Tamay (impure), - by touching a dead body, as an example, - he cannot serve in the Mishkon until he is purified with water that's mixed with ashes from a Parah Adumah (red heifer; - we'll get to that during another episode).

As a holy person, a Kohain takes on more stringent rules when it comes to choosing a wife. One rule is that he can't marry a divorced woman. A Kohain Gadol can't marry a divorced woman or a widow. A son born from such a forbidden marriage is called a challal and may not do the Avodah because he is not a Kohain.

These laws apply to Kohanim today as well.

The Torah commands that a Kohain who serves in the Mishkon or the Bait Hamikdash, must be "perfect." This means that if a Kohain has any physical defect, such as, if he's blind or has a broken bone, he can't perform the Avodah. There are other jobs that these Kohanim can do, however, like checking firewood for worms.

All Kohanim, perfect or not, that serve in the Bait Hamikdash, can eat Terumah. That's the portion of grains given to the Kohanim by all the Jewish farmers. When a farmer harvests his grains he puts aside a portion called Terumah. Any Kohain who is pure, (not Tamay), together with his family, can eat the Terumah. They also eat from korbanot and share the gifts given to Kohanim.

If you're not a Kohain, you may not eat Terumah under penalty of death.


MOOM'S
THE WORD

Now that we've discussed "human conditions," here are a few conditions for animals used for Korbanot.

"Moom" means "imperfect," or an animal with a defect. A korban is a gift to Hashem. Just as we would want to give an undamaged gift to a friend, we want our gift to Hashem to be perfect. There are more than 50 ways to make an animal "moom," including a blind eye, a cut on its tongue, and a tail too short. An animal is acceptable as a korban only after it is eight days old.

The mitzvah of bringing "undamaged" animals (the best) for korbanot also applies to the flour, wine, incense and anything brought for a korban. They must be the best of its kind.


MOTHER
AND
CHILD

The Torah teaches us that we shouldn't slaughter a mother animal and its child on the same day.

IN THE
NAME
OF
HASHEM

As Jews we represent our people, the Torah and Hashem. People look at us to see the way Hashem wants people to act. If, chas v'sholom, we do an avairah (sin) or act silly in front of others, people get the impression that this is what happens when a person follows in the ways of Hashem. This is embarrassing to Hashem and disgraces Hashem's good name.

In our last episode (Parshat Kedoshim), we discussed that one must live by Hashem's mitzvot. So if someone holds a gun to your head and says, "wear Shatnez or I'll blow your brains out," you MUST do the avairah. But there are three mitzvot you must take the bullet for:

  • avoda zara (idol worship),
  • murder, and
  • forbidden marriage
The reason is that it is a great disgrace to Hashem - a Chilul Hashem - for a Jew to commit these avairot. When a Jew gives up his life for these three mitzvot he makes a great Kiddush Hashem - he brings honor to Hashem's name - and he is greatly rewarded in the World to come.

YOM TOV'S
HERE

You've heard of Shabbat and the 39 melachot you can't do on that day. Now Hashem introduces "Yom Tov." It's sort of like a Shabbat but there are two melachot that don't apply here:

You're allowed to cook and you're allowed to carry.

There are five "Yomim Tovim," (holidays) Sholosh Regalim

  • Pesach
  • Shavuot
  • Sukkot
  • Rosh Hashana
  • Yom Kippur.

The first three, Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot are called the "Shalosh Regalim." That's because when these Yomim Tovim came around, people headed up to Yerushalayim to the Bait Hamikdash to offer korbanot.


PESACH (PASSOVER)

Pesach - also called Chag Hamatzot (holiday of matzot), is the Yom Tov where Hashem commands us to remember the exodus from Mitzrayim.

In the times of the Bait Hamikdash the entire nation traveled from all over Eretz Yisroel to celebrate the Yom Tov of freedom. On erev Pesach each family brought a lamb or goat to be offered in the Bait Hamikdash. This is called the Korban Pesach. Once the animal was slaughtered, it was roasted and eaten that evening with Maror (bitter herbs) and Matzoh (unleavened bread).

Today we celebrate Pesach with a Seder. We read the Hagadah and perform the mitzvah of remembering Yetziat Mitzrayim (the exodus from Egypt). On Pesach we are not allowed to eat chometz (leavened bread).

For more details about Pesach, Click here to see our Pesach pages.

In Eretz Yisrael there are seven days to this Yom Tov. On the first and seventh days we don't do any melachot.

The five days in between are called "Chol Hamoed." They are sort of like a weekday when it comes to melachot, but they are holy and part of the Yom Tov.

In the Bait Hamikdash, the Kohanim would offer a mussaf service on all days of Pesach.

Outside of Eretz Yisrael we celebrate eight days of Pesach - two days at the beginning and two at the end where we don't do melachot and four days in between of Chol Hamoed.


KORBAN
OMER

On the second day of Pesach (the 16th of Nisan) the Korban "Omer" is offered.

On the second night of Pesach (the first night of Chol Hamoed in Israel) in a field outside Yerushalayim, harvesters cut enough bundles (three sa'a - about 16 lbs.) of barley to make 5 pounds of fine flour.

Back in the Bait Hamikdash, the Kohanim thresh the stalks till the kernels come tumbling down. Next the kernels are roasted over a fire and ground into flour. The flour is sifted until only the finest flour remains.

It takes about five pounds - an Omer - of flour mixed with oil and a handful of levona spice to make a Korban Omer. The mixture is placed in a pan. The pan is waved in all directions. Then a handful of the mixture is burned on the Mizbayach (Altar) and the rest is given out for the Kohanim to eat.


BARLEY
TIME TO
COUNT

Pesach starts the grain harvesting season. Hashem commands that the barley cannot be harvested until the Korban Omer is brought.

49 Omer DaysThe Korban Omer is also a starting point in the countdown to Matan Torah (the giving of the Torah). For 49 days we count "the Omer" starting with "Hayom Yom Eh-chud L'omer" - ("Today is one day of the omer counting") and ending with "Hayom Tish-ah V'Arba-imYom She-heim Shivah Sha-vu-ot L'omer" - ("Today is forty nine days which is seven weeks of the omer counting.")

These 49 days represent the 49 days of preparation from Yetziat Mitzrayim (exodus from Egypt) to Matan Torah on the seventh day of Sivan.

For more details about Sefirat Ha'Omer, click here.


TIME TO
GET THE
TORAH

Hashem commands the Jews that on the fiftieth day of counting the Omer we must celebrate the Yom Tov of Shavuot.

Like the other Regalim, we don't do melacha on Shavuot.

In the Bait Hamikdash the Kohanim would offer the Shtay Halechem (two loaves) baked from the first wheat of the new harvest.

Hashem promises that as a reward for the wheat offering He will bless the fruit of your fields.

Unlike other dough offerings, the Shtay Lechem offering is allowed to rise.

This offering is not burnt on the Mizbayach (Altar), it is shared by all the Kohanim.

Even though the Yom Tov of Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah, nowhere in the Torah is this mentioned. This teaches us that we must constantly receive the Torah in our hearts.

For more details about Shavuot, Click here to see our Shavuot pages.


"ROSH"
INTO THE
NEW YEAR

Rosh Hashana is the Jewish New Year. The Torah commands us to make the first of Tishrei a Yom Tov (holiday), to blow shofar (ram's horn) and declare that Hashem is the King.
(To HEAR the Shofar sound, CLICK on the name of the sound).

  • Tekiah, a 3 second sustained note;
  • Shevarim, three 1-second notes rising in tone,
  • Teruah, a series of short, staccato notes extending over a period of about 3 seconds;

On Rosh Hashana, Hashem judges the Jewish people and the nations of the world.

For two days the Book of Judgment hangs over our heads and we celebrate this Yom Tov with trembling seriousness and joyful trust.

For more details about Rosh Hashana, Click here to see our Rosh Hashana pages.


YOM
KIPPUR

Yom Kippur is different from the other Yomim Tovim mentioned in this Parsha. On the tenth of Tishrei, Hashem commands us not to eat or drink or do any melachot.

Yom Kippur is a last ditch effort for Jews to do Teshuvah before the book of life is closed.

It was on Yom Kippur that Hashem accepted the prayers of Moshe and forgave the Jewish people for the sin of the Eigel Hazahav (golden calf). Yom Kippur is a day of forgiveness for all generations.

It was also on Yom Kippur that Hashem gave Moshe the second set of Luchot (tablets).

Yom Kippur is filled with ritual performed by the Kohain Gadol in the Bait Hamikdash. This Avodah (ritual) is described in Parshat Acharei Mot.

For more details about Yom Kippur, Click here to see our Yom Kippur pages.


SUKKOT

Sukkot is the third of the Regalim. On the 15th of Tishrei the Bnei Yisrael are commanded to leave their homes and celebrate this Yom Tov by living in temporary dwellings called Sukkot.

On Sukkot it is a mitzvah to pick up the four species:

  • Etrog (citron)
  • Lulav (palm branch)
  • Hadassim (myrtles)
  • Aravot (willows)
The Lulav, Hadassim and Aravot are tied together.

This Yom Tov is a happy Yom Tov. It reminds us that Hashem is our protector.

For more details about Sukkot, Click here to see our Sukkot pages.


SHMINI
ATZERET

Following the seven days of Sukkot, Shmini Atzeret is one last day to say goodbye to Yom Tov. In Israel, the Yom Tov of Simchat Torah is celebrated on the same day. Outside of Eretz Yisrael, we add a ninth day to this Yom Tov and celebrate Simchat Torah on that day.

Click here to see more information on Shmini Atzeret.


A
PUBLIC
STONING

The Parsha ends with the story of the Egyptian's son who cursed Hashem.

In Mitzrayim, his Egyptian father had forced Shlomit Bat (daughter of) Divri to marry him. Moshe killed his father when he saw him beat a Jewish slave.

The son had a fight with another Jew and cursed Hashem's name.

Hashem told Moshe to take him outside the Israelite camp and tell all the Jews to come and watch as this man is stoned to death for causing a great Chillul Hashem.


Tune in next week as the yearly cycle becomes a seven and 50 year cycle... we're going Shmita and Yovel and it's gonna be a free for all in the next exciting episode of:
Parsha on Parade



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