Erev Shabbos Kodesh Emor Inspiration 5775

The Book of Vayikra is referred to as Toras Kohanim, the laws of the Kohanim, and this weeks’ parasha, or, certainly fits that appellation, as the bulk of the parasha discusses laws for the Kohanim regarding purity and impurity, blemishes, and how the non-Kohanim are required to treat the Kohanim. The Parasha begins with the words (Vayikra 21:1) וַיֹּאמֶר יְ-ה-וָ-ה אֶל מֹשֶׁה אֱמֹר אֶל הַכֹּהֲנִים בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם לְנֶפֶשׁ לֹא יִטַּמָּא בְּעַמָּיו, HaShem said to Moshe: Say to the Kohanim, the sons of Aharon, and tell them: Each of you shall not contaminate himself to a [dead] person among his people. The word אֱמֹר, besides for the literal meaning of saying, also can be interpreted to mean praise (See Rashi Devarim 26:17-18). The Kohanim are praiseworthy because they wear clothing of splendor and they conduct themselves in a priestly and regal manner. Similarly, the non-Kohanim are required to glorify the Kohen, by granting him the first Aliyah to the Torah, proffering upon the Kohen to lead Bircas HaMazon, and other honorifics. Nonetheless, this parasha is also about the glory of the entire Jewish People.

The Rambam (Hilchos Bais Habechirah 8:1) writes that there is a positive commandment to guard the Bais HaMikdash. The Rambam continues and writes that although there is no concern to be fearful of enemies and bandits, the guarding of the Bais HaMikdash is a sign of honor. It is not the same a palace that is guarded as opposed to a palace that is left unguarded. What does this statement of the Rambam and the laws regarding the Kohanim teach us? Every Jew is a vehicle of holiness and one needs to safeguard and glorify that holiness. Even without a Bais HaMikdash and the Kohanim serving, it is incumbent upon us to erect safeguards to retain our holiness. We must protect our homes from foreign influences, and even more so our minds and the minds of our children. Hashem should give us the courage and determination to resist the blandishments of society and then we will merit the rebuilding of the Third Bais HaMikdash with the Kohanim serving, the Leviim singing, and the entire Jewish People restored to our dwellings, with the arrival of Moshiach Tzikdeinu, speedily, in our days.

Have a Protected and Holy Shabbos!

Rabbi Adler


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