Parshat Emor 5778: The Purity of One’s Learning and Sanctification of Hashem’s Name

Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshiyot HaShevua Emor is being sponsored by Seth and Ester Grossman and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated Lilui Nishmas for Seth’s Father Dovid ben Menachem Munish. To the Grossman family, many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
skype: mark.burt3

Parshat Emor 5778: The Purity of One’s Learning and Sanctification of Hashem’s Name

by Moshe Burt

The positioning in Torah of our Parshat Emor, following last week’s Parshiyot Acharei Mot/Kedoshim gives rise to thought and contemplation.

In the previous 2 pairings of Parshiyot; Acharei Mos and Kedoshim, and Tazria and Metzora before them, we learn about the Kohen as the only one Divinely invested with ruling as to Tumah or Ta’Hara regarding ones’ skin, hair, clothing or homes, as well as with being the vehicle for the Yom Kippur avodah, on behalf of the nation, in the Kadosh Kedoshim and as the model, the paradigm of the Darchim for the entire B’nai Yisrael to emulate as a model for all mankind.

In Parsha Emor, we learn how the Avodah, the Service of the Kohanim necessitated them “…to maintain an especially high standard of purity and perfection.” (L’lmod L’Lamed, Rabbi Mordechai Katz, Parsha Emor, page 119)

Shem Mishmuel (Sefer Shem Mishmuel, Parsha Emor, pages 273-275) explains the function of the Kohen and the manifestation of his Kedusha in this way:

“The job of the Kohen is to join the physical world to it’s spiritual counterpart.” He performs the Avodah in the Beit HaMikdash, the place where heaven and earth meet. He brings Hashem’s fire upon the Mizbei’ach (altar) in a service which joins the physical earth to Hashem.

Thus, we learn again that one of the attributes of a Kohen is to serve as a paradigm of how a Jew is treat his brethren. Referring to a point made in a previous Parshat HaShevua, Tzav, the sefer “Torah Gems”, by Aharon Yaakov Greenberg (page 254) cites R’ Menachem Mendl of Kotzk to explain the use of the word “mokdah” regarding the first reference to the Altar in our opening posukim:

The word used for “Altar” [Mizbeiyach] here is “mokdah”, and by tradition, the letter “mem” in “mokdah” is smaller than the other letters. This teaches… that the burning enthusiasm one has for Torah study and prayer should not be visible to all, but must remain deep in the heart, in the depths of one’s soul.

Our Parsha opens in this way:

“Hashem said to Moshe: Say to the Kohanim, the sons of Aaron and tell them…” (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 21, posuk 1 as rendered to English in the Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash)

The sefer “Torah Gems”, by Aharon Yaakov Greenberg (page 323) cites Rashi on this posuk:

“Speak” and “say” — To admonish the big ones about the little ones. This is an admonition to the leaders of the nation to humble themselves and not lord it over the people.

Rav Zelig Pliskin expands on the above ideas in his sefer, “Growth Through Torah” in citing Sefer Vayikra, Perek 22, posukim 31-32 as well as in citing The Chasam Sofer, Rashi and Yoma 86a: Toras Moshe) on posuk 31 (page 284-285):

“You shall observe My commandments and perform them, I am Hashem. You shall not desecrate My holy Name, rather I should be sanctified among the B’nei Yisrael: I am Hashem Who sanctifies you.” (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 22, posukim 31-32 as rendered to English in the Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash)

A person who studies Torah must strive to interact with others on an elevated level.

The Chasam Sofer commented that verse 31 is an introduction to verse 32. Rashi states [in citing the posuk] that “you shall observe My commandments” refers to studying Torah… Therefore the Torah immediately warns those who study Torah against chilul Hashem, desecration of Hashem’s Name, and obliges those who study to make a kiddush Hashem, a sanctification of Hashem’s Name. The behavior of anyone who studies Torah should be on such a level that it will be an expression of the sanctity of Hashem. People who observe those who study Torah should be able to say that the Torah gives those who study it much wisdom and promotes excellence in their daily behavior. (Yoma 86a: Toras Moshe)

This author gleens from all of the above citings that the sanctification of Hashem’s Name necessitates that Torah study and prayer should be accomplished with purity of heart and mind and should be viewed by others, including by one’s learning partners, as with modesty and humility, free of ulterior motives, lust for kavod, desire for credit or notoriety, or “lording it over” others..

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them and that the expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes, at government expense; both due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. May our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of three and a half years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

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