Weekly Parsha Summary

The Torah section of Emor (“Speak”) begins with the special laws pertaining to the kohanim (“priests”), the kohen gadol (“high priest”), and the  service in the Mishkan: A kohen may not become ritually impure through contact with a dead body, save on the occasion of the death of a close relative. A kohen may not marry a divorcee, or a woman with a promiscuous past; a kohen gadol can marry only a virgin. A kohen with a physical deformity cannot serve in the Mishkan, nor can a deformed animal be brought as an offering.

A newborn calf, lamb or kid must be left with its mother for seven days before being eligible for an offering; one may not slaughter an animal and its offspring on the same day.

The second part of Emor lists the annual festivals of the Jewish calendar: the weekly Shabbos; the bringing of the Pesach offering on 14 Nissan; the seven-day Pesach festival beginning on 15 Nissan; the bringing of the Omer offering from the first barley harvest on the second day of Pesach, and the commencement, on that day, of the 49-day Counting of the Omer, culminating in the festival of Shavuos on the fiftieth day; a “remembrance of shofar blowing” on 1 Tishrei; a solemn fast day on 10 Tishrei; the Sukkos festival—during which we are to dwell in huts for seven days and take the “Daled Minim-Four species ”beginning on 15 Tishrei; and the immediately following holiday of the “eighth day” of Sukkos ,Shemini Atzeres.

Next the Torah discusses the lighting of the menorah in the Temple, and the showbread (lechem hapanim) placed weekly on the table there.

Emor concludes with the incident of a man executed for blasphemy, and the penalties for murder (death) and for injuring one’s fellow or destroying his property (monetary compensation

Rabbi's Shabbos Message

One of the qualifications that the Cohen Gadol had to have was that he was not allowed to be tamei l'meis,he was not allowed to come in contact or be near a dead body. 

Rabbi Avigdor Miller suggests that one reason that a Cohein Gadol is not allowed to be near a body is because the Cohen Gadol is not allowed to be in a state of depression or sadness. Obviously, a body would bring some degree of sadness to whoever sees it.

The lesson learned from the Cohen Gadol is applicable to all of us. Life is full of hardships. Each individual has their life tailored to fit 'their need' and we all have difficulties and tests that we need to go through. However, we need to take these trials and tribulations, as hard as it is, in a spirit of happiness, certainly not that of depression.

Rav Miller continues and says that a man needs to be the Cohen Gadol of his home and "He must serve Hashem with simcha (happiness)" (Tehillim 100:2) When he walks into his house, his children should be able to see a happy person and they too will be in a good mood.

Happiness though, is something that does not happen by working on directly. That being, a person cannot say to himself over and over "I must be happy, I must be happy..." and expect results. Happiness is a barometer to a person's spiritual level. 

When a person is connected to Hashem or is making progress in spiritual ascent, he will then naturally feel happiness in his life. Happiness is not something to be worked on directly, it's simply an indication on whether one is fulfilling his duty in the world. The more he is fulfilling that duty, that happier he naturally is, no matter what comes his way.

Have a great Shabbos

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