Emor | ???? | “Say ” – Return to me, and I will return to you,”
-He will sit, testing and purifying the silver; he will purify the sons of Levi,
refining them like gold and silver, so that they can bring offerings to Adonai uprightly.
-A cohen’s lips should safeguard knowledge,and people should seek Torah from his mouth, because he is the messenger of Adonai-Tzva’ot.
The Thirty-first reading from the Torah is called Emor ( ???? ), the first verse of the reading, which says, “Then the LORD said to Moses, Speak (Emor) to the priests, the sons of Aaron …’” ( Leviticus 21:1 ). Emor begins with special laws of sanctity and purity for the priesthood. Leviticus twenty three provides an overview of the biblical calendar, a listing of the LORD’s appointed times. And HaShem said to Moses, ‘Speak….’ . G-d speaks about how priests should act and to perform their duties in the Tabernacle. He speaks about how Israelites should not oppress one another. And he speaks of the seventh year sabbatical year and the fiftieth Jubilee year.
The Eternal One said to Moses: “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them: None shall defile himself for any [dead] person among his kin, . . .” – Leviticus 21:1
- Laws regulating the lives and sacrifices of the priests are presented. ( Lev 21:1-22:33)
- the Sabbath, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the Pilgrimage Festivals of Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot. (Lev 23:1-44)
- G-d commands the Israelites to bring clear olive oil for lighting the sanctuary menorah. (Lev 24:1-9)
- Laws dealing with profanity, murder, and the maiming of others are outlined. ( Lev 24:10-23)
The Torah section of Emor (“Speak”) begins with the special laws pertaining to the kohanim (“priests”), the kohen gadol(“high priest”), and the Temple service , 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 Holy Temple, 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.
He also speaks about His Mo’adim – his holy appointments with His people and dear to those who revere the Torah of HaShem. Emor lists the annual Callings of Holiness—the festivals of the Israel calendar: the weekly Shabbat the bringing of the Passover offering on fourteen Nissan; the seven-day Passover festival ; the bringing of the Omer offering from the first barley harvest on the second day of Passover, and the commencement, on that day, of the 49-dayCounting of the Omer, culminating in the festival of Shavuot on the fiftieth day; a “remembrance of shofar blowing” on 1 Tishrei; a solemn fast day on 10 Tishrei; the Sukkot festival—during which we are to dwell in huts for seven days and take the “Four Kinds”—beginning on 15 Tishrei; and the immediately following holiday of the “eighth day” of Sukkot (Shemini Atzeret ).
But the appointed times in Leviticus provide the framework for the entire book of John in new testament. They are the same words and has come from same source. When G-d speaks, his servants should hear ( Sh’ma, hear and obey )
Now before the feast of the passover, when Yeshua knew that his hour was come…. – John 13 : 1
But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near.…. – John 7:2
Remember, G-d speaks His will. “And HaShem said to Moses, ‘Speak….’” It is our delightful duty to sh’ma ( hear and obey ).
Let us respond as Samuel did when he was a child: Now HaShem came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.” Then HaShem said to Samuel: “Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.” -1 Samuel 3:10-11
… man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of HaShem.
And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. –Deuteronomy 8:3
And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of G-d, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of G-d.’” –Matthew 4:3-4
Torah says, “Not on bread alone will a man live, but rather on that which comes out from the mouth of Hashem.” The word of Hashem that He puts into food is what sustains us. All of the outer processes of separation that are involved in preparing food are a reminder of the inner separation, the hidden sparks that we must elevate. When a person is conscious that eating is a way of connecting with Hashem, his physical and spiritual aspects unite as one.
Physical food is not the only thing that ensures man’s existence. Apart from the normal sustenance there are Divine forces which sustain man in his progress through life. Food is something both physical as well as spiritual : means that the body is maintained by the physical composition of the food, i.e. bread; Over and above that, life is maintained, i.e. the soul is kept going, by the invisible spiritual elements in food, i.e. G-d’s command, for those spiritual elements to become active within the person.
As the midrash explains: “Hence Rabbi Eleazar of Modi`in would say that whoever had food to eat one day and worried whether he would have food on the morrow showed lack of faith” (Tanhuma, Be-Shalah, 20). Similarly, we find in the Zohar (Part II, 62a).
But seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Don’t worry about tomorrow — tomorrow will worry about itself! Today has enough tsuris already! – Matthew 6:34
Rabbi Jose began: You give it open handedly (Psalms 145:16)…What is said just before this? “The eyes of all look to You expectantly” (Psalms 145:15). All people on earth look expectantly to the Holy One, blessed be He, hence all those who have faith must daily request their sustenance of the Holy One, blessed be He…but why? “That I may thus test them, to see whether they will follow My instructions or not” (Exodus 16:4). In this (eating) one can tell the persons of faith, for each and every day they follow the straight path of the Torah. Rabbi Isaac said: Hence, “The righteous man eats to his heart’s content” – Proverbs 13:25.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life ………. (i.e Accept and Eat the Teachings of Soul Torah and Doer of the Torah) – John 6:54
Thus manna expresses the degree of faith of those who eat it; hence in Hassidism it is called the “food of faith.” The Tzadik eats to satisfy his soul” (Proverbs 13:25) “Man did eat bread of the mighty” (Psalms 78:25), which Rabbi Akiva interpreted as meaning bread which ministering angels eat. When these words were reported to Rabbi Ishmael, he said to them…Do the ministering angels indeed eat bread?…Rather, bread of the mighty (=abirim) is bread which is absorbed by the two hundred and forty-eight parts of the body (ebarim or organs and limbs).
Challah – “a loaf of bread”
The Torah therefore commanded us to set aside the challa, the portion to be given to the Kohen, or priest; by fulfilling this commandment, the spiritual element in the bread should be “awakened” and contribute its share to maintaining our souls. Since the Kohen represents holiness, he is given this “holy” part of the bread. The bread thereby acts as a refining agent for both body and soul.
Adam, was considered as the challa of the universe. The first man, Adam, was considered as the challa of the universe. (Jerusalem Talmud Shabbat 2) He was perfect in mind and body until he sinned and caused the curse “[the earth]will sprout thorns and thistles for you…by the sweat of your brow will you eat bread.” The net effect on the bread after challa has been set aside and has been given to the Kohen, is for a person to qualify for the blessing inherent in the verse, “bread will sustain man’s life”. – Psalms 104:15
Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai also said: “If a man ploughs in the ploughing season, and sows in the sowing season…what is to become of the Torah? Rather, when Israel perform the will of the Almighty, their work is performed by others.” Whereas Rabbi Ishmael said that study of the Torah should be combined with a worldly occupation (Berakhot 35b). The Sages maintained that Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai’s approach is suitable only to the specially gifted: “Many have followed Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai…and it has not been successful” (ibid.). It says of the manna, “I will rain down bread for you from the sky” (Exodus 16:4). Generally rain comes down from the sky, then people plough and sow and make bread of the grain; but here everything comes from heaven, just like the rain itself.
The Torah commands us: “Six days you shall labor and do all your work” (Ex. 20:9). Specifically, we are to till the soil of the land of Israel and to bring the first of our grain yield to the Lord, as it says in this week’s reading: “You may not partake in your settlements of the tithes of your new grain or wine or oil, or of the firstlings of your herds and flocks” (Deut. 12:17). This text mentions several symbolic foods associated also with the Temple, grain being associated with the showbread and meal offering, oil with the oil for the lampstand, wine with the wine used for libation, and the animals mentioned, in the sacrificial offerings—in other words, everyday eating has a particular status in the Temple. Likewise the Sabbath table: we light candles (oil) at the table, recite a blessing over the wine, and eat challah (grain) and meat dishes (animal sacrifices). Thus, “This is the table that stands before the Lord” (Ezek. 41:22); the Sabbath table parallels worship in the Temple, and today, in the absence of sacrifices, “a person’s table makes expiation for him” (Berakhot 55a). These three foods have further symbolism: oil is a flammable substance, and its function both in the Temple and at the Sabbath table is to burn. Fire is the way through which human beings change nature. Likewise with wine and bread: bread starts with grain, which is then ground into flour by man, kneaded into dough and baked to make bread. Wine starts from grapes, to which man applies a series of actions until wine is achieved. In other words, these foods symbolize the change that human beings bring about in the natural world: instead of eating bread of the mighty that comes down from heaven in the form of manna, human beings must expend effort to produce their food and bring the work of their hands as a present to the Lord, a tithe indicating that we “ascribe might to G-d” (Psalms 68:35), because G-d is interested in human endeavor, which is the object of the Torah and its observance.
We were given manna as bread from heaven, just as a child at the beginning of his life is fed by his parents in the hope that he will grow, develop and become independent and able to support himself; so, too, the Israelites when they came out of Egypt, a people at the beginning of its life, were supported by G-d, caring for all their needs—”The clothes upon you did not wear out, nor did your feet swell these forty years” (Deut. 8:4). We were like a child at his mother’s breast—”He fed him honey from the crag, and oil from the flinty rock” (Deut. 32:13). Next comes the stage of the nation’s adolescence: “I accounted to your favor the devotion of your youth…how you followed Me in the wilderness, in a land not sown” (Jer. 2:2); and finally, entering the land, symbolizing maturity, the stage at which a person is expected to be self-supporting. Instead of the Lord giving us bread, we are supposed to give Him a gift. However, the gift is not actually intended for G-d, for he has no need of gifts: “Who asked that of you?” (Isa. 1:12). G-d is interested in man following in His ways, and just as the Lord shows kindness, so humans are expected to give terumah and tithes to the priest and Levite: “But do not neglect the Levite in your community, for he has no hereditary portion as you have” (Deut. 14:27). We are commanded to help out the Levite, who has no land, giving him of the bread that we obtained by the sweat of our brow. The definition of a talmid hakham, a Torah scholar, is “one who is above suspicion regarding tithes,” a person who does not hesitate to help those who are in need. This is not an intellectual definition, rather a moral one (Rabbi Yehudah Ashkenazi, z”l).
Following G-d’s Torah (which includes Messiah) in faith, brings salvation:
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. -Revelation 22:14
Soncino Zohar, Vayikra, Section 3, Page 85b – Happy are those who know the ways of the Torah and study it in the proper manner, for they plant trees of life which are superior to all healing medicines. Therefore it says, “The law of truth was in his mouth” (Mal. II, 6). For there is a law which is not of truth, namely, of him who gives decisions without being qualified, and one who learns from him learns something which is not truth.
Then Yeshua said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “L-rd, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
– John 6:67-68
If you love Me, keep My commandments. – John 14:15
He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him. -John 14:21
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. -John 15:10
You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. -John 15:14
Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. -1 John 2:3-4
By this we know that we love the children of G-d, when we love G-d and keep His commandments. For this is the love of G-d, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. -1 John 5:2-3
Rabbi Shaul was a faithful follower of the Messiah. He taught what Yeshua taught – and Yeshua taught what Moses taught, because the source for all of them was the same: the mouth of the Almighty.
Rabbi Shaul Says: Imitate me, just as I also imitate Messiah. -1 Corinthians 10:33
For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words? -John 5:46-47
Yeshua said: Not everyone who says to Me, “L-rd, L-rd,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “L-rd, L-rd, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness! ( anomia, literally “Torah-less-ness” ) . -Matthew 7:21-23
Hear and obey the words spoken by the Almighty. They are words of life.
Zohar Writings: And Hashem said to Moses, Speak to the priests the sons of Aaron, and say to them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people” (Vayikra 21:1). Rabbi Yosi said, what is the reason that this corresponds with that which is said before, “A man also or woman that is a medium or a wizard, shall surely be put to death” (Vayikra 20:27), so that THE VERSE, “Speak to the priests” is adjacent to it? HE REPLIES: once admonishing Yisrael to sanctify themselves in every manner, it also admonished the priests to sanctify themselves and the Levites as well. How do we know it admonished the priests? From the words, “Speak to the priests.” And as for the Levites, it says, “Thus speak to the Levites, and say to them” (Bemidbar 18:26). Thus they will all be righteous, holy and pure.
“Speak to the priests the sons of Aaron, and say to them.” Rabbi Yehuda opened with the verse, “O how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You (Tehilim 31:20). “O how great is Your goodness”: how superior and precious is that lofty light that is called good, as written, “And Elohim saw the light, that it was good” (Beresheet 1:4). This is the treasured light with which the Holy One, blessed be He, does good in the world. He does not withhold it any day, and the world is maintained and supported by it. “Which You have laid up for those who fear You”: for we have learned that the Holy One, blessed be He, made a lofty light when He created the world, and treasured it for the righteous for the future to come. This is the meaning of, “which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have performed for those who trust in You.”
“Speak to the priests the sons of Aaron”: HE ASKS, what is the reason it is written here, “the sons of Aaron”? Do I not know they are the sons of Aaron? AND HE ANSWERS, THIS TEACHES US they are “the sons of Aaron” rather than ‘the sons of Levi’, because Aaron is the first of all the priests. For it is him that the Holy One, blessed be He, had chosen above everyone, so as to make peace in the world, and because Aaron’s practices have brought him up to this. For Aaron strove throughout his life to increase peace in the world. Since these were his ways, the Holy One, blessed be He, raised him TO PRIESTHOOD, to introduce peace among the celestial retinue, FOR THROUGH HIS WORSHIP HE BRINGS ABOUT THE UNION OF THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE AND HIS SHECHINAH, WHICH BRINGS PEACE THROUGHOUT THE WORLDS. Hence, “Speak to the priests the sons of Aaron.”
Anointed ones – Aaron and the priests ; Prophets and Kings
“I am the G-d of Beit-El, where you did anoint a pillar, where you did vow a vow to Me” – Genesis 31:13
“Where you did anoint a pillar”, – As we have seen, The ‘Ladder’ was connected to the ‘Sinai’, where Moses received the Torah and gave it to Israel. How many stones there were? Tradition says they were twelve; as alluded in the verse: ‘the stones will be… twelve… according to the twelve tribes’; The stones will correspond to the names of the twelve sons of Isra’el; they are to be engraved with their names as a seal would be engraved, to represent the twelve tribes. -Exodus 28 :21
The stones were many prior to the dream, but became one single stone after the dream. All were merged into one (cf. Hulin 91b).
“And you must make a breastplate of judgement… and you must set in it rows of stones… The Stones must be twelve, according to the sons of Israel, according to their names… ” – Exodus 28:15-21.
Yeshua said to them, Yes. I tell you that in the regenerated world, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Isra’el. – Matthew 19:28
Head of Israel – Anointed One
The Torah says when this Rock became One, Yaakov put Oil on its head (Rosh).
Every spiritual “Head” of Israel is a Messiah (ie. Consecrated by being anointed with oil). Aaron and the priests are ‘anointed ones’ (Exodus 30:30), the Prophets are ‘anointed’ ones (1 Kings 19:16), the kings are ‘anointed ones’ (1 Samuel 16:12; 1 Kings 1:39).
But the King Messiah is the “Head” of them all, and represents them all.
The Head of Israel is the Messiah (the anointed one). And He ( Messiah ) is the head of the body, the Assembly ( i.e Twelve tribes community of Israel) , who is the beginning……. -Colossians 1:18
The Stones and Messiah:
Yaakov said: “This stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be G-d’s house” –Genesis 28:22
Yaakov set that Stone or Rock to be G-d’s house. The community of Israel led in unity by the Messiah, who is their head. This is the secret in the words: “You are my servant, Israel, I will be glorified in you… It is too small thing for you to be my Servant to restore the tribes of Yaakov and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the gentiles, that you bring my salvation to the ends of the Earth” (Isaiah 49:6); which can be compared to:
“In you and in your seed all the families of the Earth will be blessed” – Genesis 28:14.
The ‘Seed of Yaakov’ through which all the nations are engrafted is, in a sense, the Jewish nation, as it’s written: “You are my servant Israel… I will give you for a light to the nations” (Isaiah 42:6), but specifically it’s also the Messiah, the Head of Israel, as it’s written: “There shall be a root of Yisai, which shall stand for a sign of the people, to him the Gentiles will seek” (Isaiah 11:10). For ‘the heart of the King is the collective heart of the nation’ (cf. Hilkhot Melakhim 3:6). He is the ‘Seed of Yakov’ through Judah (Genesis 49:10), through King David, as it’s written: “I will raise up your seed… and I will establish his Kingdom… he will build me a House and I will establish his throne forever” (1Chr 17:11-12).
The connection of these words: “he will build me a house” and Yakov’s statment: “this stone… shall be G-d’s house”.
The Seed of Abraham was Isaac, and the seed of Isaac was Yaakov, the seed of Yakov is Messiah, as it’s written: “…. the Royal Son with your Righteousness… His name endures forever; before the Sun Yinon is his name, and in him all the nations will be blessed” (Psalm 72:1, 17).
In him, this is, in Yinon (ie. The Messiah), all the nations (ie. All the gentiles) will be blessed; meaning, the promise given to Abraham and Yakov will be fulfilled in him. And this is what Yakov saw in his dream; The World reaching a spiritual Unity and acceptance of G-d’s Word by that spiritual Ladder that connects it all; the soul of Messiah.
There’s an Upper Unity and a Lower Unity in the scene. The Upper Unity is the Ladder that connects Heaven and Earth. The Lower Unity are the stones that become one under Yakov’s head. Messiah’s duty is to bring absolute Unity (Yekhida). An Upper Unity, as Messiah brings the whole world to a perfect unity with the Creator and His Holy Word. This is supported by the verse: “In that day there will be one Lord, and his name one” (Zechariah 14:9), and also: “Earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord” (Is 11:9). And a Lower Unity, as all Israel attains her unification through the soul of Messiah, the exiles back home and the whole world is unified. This is supported by the verse: “he shall… gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (Isaiah 11:2).
A Prophet Like Moses:
Just as Moses represents the whole Israel, Messiah represents the whole Israel, even in a higher level than Moses. For it’s written about Moses: “Be for the people (lo Am) in front of G-d” (Exodus 18:19). And then: “I will raise them up a prophet like you” (Deut 18:18), and when Joshua became the leader it’s written: “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses” (Deut 24:10). And about Messiah it’s told: “He will be raised and highly exalted” (Isaiah 52:13); meaning, he towers above the patriarchs, and Moses and the ministering angels (cf. Midrash Tanhuma Toldot).
HaShem your G-d will raise up for you a Prophet like me [Moses] from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, according to all you desired of HaShem your G-d in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of HaShem my G-d, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die. And HaShem said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you [Moses] from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him. But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’” -Deuteronomy 13:15-20
Samuel said to the people, “It is HaShem who raised up Moses and Aaron, and who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt. Now therefore, stand still, that I may reason with you before HaShem concerning all the righteous acts of HaShem which He did to you and your fathers: When Jacob had gone into Egypt, and your fathers cried out to HaShem, then HaShem sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your fathers out of Egypt and made them dwell in this place. And when they forgot HaShem their G-d, He sold them into the hand of Sisera, commander of the army of Hazor, into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab; and they fought against them. Then they cried out to HaShem, and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have forsaken HaShem and served the Baals and Ashtoreths; but now deliver us from the hand of our enemies, and we will serve You.’ And HaShem sent Jerubbaal, Bedan, Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side; and you dwelt in safety. And when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when HaShem your G-d was your king.
Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have desired. And take note, HaShem has set a king over you. If you fear HaShem and serve Him and obey His voice, and do not rebel against the commandment of HaShem, then both you and the king who reigns over you will continue following HaShem your G-d. However, if you do not obey the voice of HaShem, but rebel against the commandment of HaShem, then the hand of HaShem will be against you, as it was against your fathers. -1 Samuel 12:6-15
If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’ – which you have not known – ‘and let us serve them, ‘you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for HaShem your G-d is testing you to know whether you love HaShem your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after HaShem your G-d and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from HaShem your G-d, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which HaShem your G-d commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.
In Rabbinic literature a Pesher can be labelled as a form of Midrash (especially of Aggadic nature). The so-called “Melchizedek Midrash” from the Dead Sea Scrolls is a Pesher. As an example of a Midrash reflecting Pesharim, there’s a Midrash (Tanhuma Toldot) that says that Messiah will be greater than Moses. How was this deduced? By reading Numbers 11:12: “… that you say to me, carry them in your bosom.” As is evident, there’s absolutely nothing about Messiah being greater than Moses at the literal level of interpretation.
“What does it mean, Who art thou O great mountain? ( Zechariah 4:7 ) This is King Messiah. And why does he call him great mountain? Because he is greater than the Fathers…loftier than Abraham…more elevated than Moses…and higher than the ministering angels…and from whom will he issue? From Zerubbabel…”
Midrash Tanchuma, Toldot 14 ( ed. Buber 1:139, cited in “The Messiah Texts,” Raphael Patai, pg. 41)
A prophet from the midst of you.- In fact the Messiah is such a Prophet as it is stated in the Midrash [Tanhuma] on the verse “Behold my Servant shall prosper” ( Isaiah 52:13 )… Moses by the miracles which he wrought brought a single nation to worship Elohim, but the Messiah will draw all peoples to the worship of Elohim. (Ralbag on Duet. 18:18)
The Midrash Tanhuma (cited above) says: It is written, Behold, my servant shall deal wisely, He shall be exalted, and extolled, and be very high (Isaiah 52:13). It means, He shall be more exalted than Abraham of whom it is written, ‘I lift up my hand’ (Genesis 14:22). He shall be more extolled than Moses of whom it is said, ‘As a nursing father beareth the nursing child’ (Numbers 11:12). ‘And shall be very high’—that is, Messiah shall be higher than the ministering angels. (Midrash Tanhuma Is. 52:13)
Most High is our King and Messiah is our Master and He is Head of His congregation.
Who is this “Prophet like you ( Moses )” : We find the same information in the writers of the Apostolic Scriptures. Peter, in Acts 3:22; and Stephen, in Acts 7:37, identify Messiah Yeshua as the “Prophet like Moses.”
The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews writes of Messiah Yeshua comparing Him to the faithful Moses: Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Messiah Yeshua, Who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house. -Hebrews 3:1-2
And He Commands: “… you shall listen to HIM…”, “… you shall hearken to Him…”
“Adonai your G-d will raise up for you a Prophet like Me from among you, from your brothers, you shall listen to him…” – Deuteronomy 18:15.
“This is My Beloved Son: listen to Him…”, “… you shall listen to Him”, “… you shall hearken to Him…” … listen to Him…” – Matthew 17:15; Mark 9:7.
Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. -John 14:10
He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. -John 14:24
Then Yeshua said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.” -John 8:28
But he said to him, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.” -Luke 16:31
Who will redeem them from exile:
The first one was Moses our master, and the last one is Messiah. Yosef began the process of Redemption. It can understood wit these words: “And they shall oppress them for four hundred years” (Genesis 15:13). This is because, as Rashi says, the exile began already at the birth of Isaac, since he never lived in his own land. Therefore, Yosef began the process of Redemption; a process that many could not perceive, as things got actually worse after he passed away.
“Messiah ben Yosef” is the process of redemption: a redemption in the likeness of Yosef. He leads the footsteps until the revelation of Messiah ben David, who is said to have the soul of Moses himself – as it’s written: “a Prophet like me” (Deut 18:15).
It is a secret in the verse: “wicked people will not oppress them anymore… I will also subdue all your enemies” (1 Chronicle 17:9-10); It is a task of Messiah ben Yosef who fights the Wicked One, as it is known to those who study the ‘grace’ [KheN] of the Torah.
“The house of Yakov will be a fire, and the house of Yosef a flame, and the house of Esav stubble, they will burn them and consume them, and there will be no survivor of the house of Esav” – Ovadiah 1:18.
“The progeny of Esav shall be delivered only into the hands of the progeny of Yosef” (Baba Bathra 123b).
“The essential function of Messiah ben Yosef is to prepare Israel for the final redemption, to put them into the proper condition in order to clear the way for Messiah ben David to come” (Saadia Gaon, Emunot veDeot 8:6).
Parshas EMOR – studies from Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum
SAY TO THE PRIESTS :
As discussed in Universal Torah TETZAVEH, the Torah conception of the priests and their relationship with the people is radically different from the conception of the priesthood in other traditions. The Cohen of the Torah does not absolve the Israelite of his obligation to forge his own personal relationship with G-d. The Cohen is not an intermediary who performs mysterious rituals that magically guarantee that all will be well for the ignorant worshipper who stands by watching.
In many religions, the priests held or hold a monopoly on religious knowledge, often actually discouraging the pursuit of such knowledge by the masses, whose very ignorance is necessary in order for the priest to maintain his position.
By contrast, the Holy Torah was given as a fountain of truth and wisdom to Israel and to all others who want to drink its waters. The entire people of Israel is intended to be a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation: the goal is for each Israelite to develop, build and cultivate his or her own bond with G-d in every detail of life. How can we do this? We need to learn how to do it. For this reason, pride of place in the Torah tradition goes to the sage and teacher, because he is the one who can tell us how to do this. Even a MAMZER TALMID CHACHAM (an outstanding sage who is of illegitimate birth) takes precedence over the High Priest!
In our present parshah of EMOR, which is largely taken up with laws specifically relating to the priests, we see that Moses was commanded to instruct not only the priests themselves in these laws but also the Children of Israel. The Children of Israel are not to be excluded from all knowledge and understanding of the priesthood. On the contrary, they too are to study the laws relating to the priests. This is because the Israelites, as a kingdom of priests, have to have a model to learn from. The Cohanim are a kingdom within a kingdom. The Cohanim are to be to the Israelite what the Israelites are to be to the world.
The Temple is G-d’s palace on earth: a center-point for all the world to see, in order to contemplate the profundity of the message it contains and thereby to draw closer to the King. Everything about the Temple is about coming closer to G-d, particularly the KORBAN (“sacrifice”, from the Hebrew world KAROV, “close”). The entire Temple services center upon the sacrificial rites: the daily animal, grain, wine and incense offerings, the lighting of the Candelabrum, and so on. Like life in a royal court, life in the Temple was a spectacle. This was particularly so for the Israelite who brought a personal KORBAN, be it a SHLAMIM (“Peace”) offering, or an OLAH and particularly a CHATAS – sin-offering.
The animal is substituted for the person to undergo the slaughter, flaying, cutting and burning the sinner really deserves. (Those who worry about the alleged cruelty to the animal should first go and complain about the millions of animals daily slaughtered all over the world, often with great cruelty, as “sacrifices” for the gratification of men’s selfish lusts. To understand the meaning of the KORBONOS, we must be willing to think of the Temple as it actually was and will be, not try to adapt it to man-made moral “standards”.)
The SEFER HACHINUCH (explaining the meaning of the 613 commandments) discusses the sacrificial rituals at length in Mitzvah #95: Building the Temple. The ceremony consisted of various stages: SEMICHAH (the penitent’s laying on of hands on the animal’s head), SHECHITAH, the slaughter of the animal, KABALAH, collecting of its blood and sprinkling it on the altar, the flaying and cutting of the carcass, salting of the meat, the burning of the altar portions and eating by the priests of their share. The SEFER HACHINUCH explains in detail how the different stages of this unsettling and even shocking ceremony all communicated an unforgettable lesson to the penitent about how man must bring his animal side under control. We are to learn how to “slaughter” and elevate our animality by devoting our energies to G-d’s service and thereby burning our fat on His altar. (See also Nachmanides’ commentary on Leviticus 1:8).
The priests in the Temple, who conducted these ceremonies, were actors in a drama that was calculated to awaken people and induce them think and repent rather than to hypnotize them with hocus-pocus. The role of the priest was as a facilitator, enabling people to understand the lesson for themselves.
Carrying the obligation to serve as ministers in the House and Court of G-d, the priests are a nation set apart, and are subject to an even more stringent code than the Israelites, as laid out in our parshah of EMOR. They are not allowed to defile themselves for the dead except in the case of their closest relatives. They are strictly forbidden to blemish their own bodies. They are not allowed to marry a divorcee or a woman who has been involved in a relationship tainted by immorality, etc. The Cohanim are to be a completely pure breed, fit to serve as G-d’s ministers on earth. The true Cohen is to be an exemplar in his very life of the elevated purity to which every Israelite should aspire, each according to his or her level.
The ultimate exemplar is to be the COHEN GADOL (“high priest”). Although the COHEN GADOL appears in costumes that are most gorgeous by the standares of this world, he must remain completely separated from this world. This is because his task is to keep our eyes focussed upon G-d’s world. Thus the COHEN GADOL is not allowed to defile himself with the dead even in the case of his closest relatives. For in G-d’s world, there is no death but only life.
Everything about the Temple is designed to lift us up above the often tawdry world around us and to teach us how to draw closer to the underlying reality of G-d. For this reason, the Temple must be a place of the imposing splendor and beauty. Everything must be in the best repair. Not a flagstone must be loose nor an altar stone chipped. The vessels must be the finest gold and silver. And so too, the ministers themselves must be people of pleasing looks. Our parshah details the physical blemishes that disqualify a priest from participating in the Temple service itself (though not from eating sacrificial portions). The parshah also details the blemishes that disqualify an animal from being offered as a KORBAN. Everything offered to G-d has to be the very finest and most beautiful. So too, we must seek to beautify our offerings of prayers, our mitzvot and acts of kindness, and take care that they should not be blemished.
THE CYCLE OF THE YEAR
The calling of the COHANIM was very exalted. The separation and purity demanded of them is not required of the Israelites, who on the contrary are required to be involved in the world — farming, manufacturing, selling and buying, raising families, etc. As discussed in the commentary on the previous parshah, KEDOSHIM, it is precisely through bringing every area of our actual lives under the wing of the Torah that we attain holiness.
Only the Cohen Gadol is to remain within the Temple precincts or in his nearby home in Jerusalem all the time. The people are to be throughout the country, going about their lives. For the Israelite, the relationship of G-d is one of “running and returning”: “running” in the sense of regularly rising above the mundane to make a deeper connection with the underlying reality of G-d, but then “returning”, in the sense of going back to grappling with everyday reality.
The Torah appointed a rhythm of weekly, monthly and seasonal MO’ADIM, “appointed times”, whereby the Israelites rise above the mundane and restore and strengthen their connection with the divine. Our parshah is one of several in the Torah (Ex. ch. 23; Numbers ch. 23; Deut. ch. 16) that set forth the cycle of festivals and their associated practices, each with its own particular focuses.
In our parshah (Leviticus ch. 23) one of the main themes that runs through the account of the various festivals and their associated Temple practices is that of drawing ecological balance and agricultural blessing into the world. During the ALIYAH LE-REGEL — the foot-pilgrimage to the Temple on Pesach, Shavuos and Succos — the Israelites would leave the work of making a living and tilling the ground in order to participate in ceremonies whose purpose was to bless that work with G-dliness. Pesach, and Shavuos are particularly bound up with grain, which is man’s staple food. The Matzahs eaten on Pesach may be made from one of the five kinds of grain. On the second day of Pesach, at the beginning of the grain harvesting season, an Omer measure is to be brought from the newly-ripened barley crop. During the coming weeks, while the wheat-harvesting is going on, the Sefirah count directs our minds forward to Shavuos, when a “new grain offering”, the first wheat offering from the new crop — two loaves of leavened bread — was brought.
The observances of Succos are particularly bound up with the water-cycle. The four species of Esrog (citron), Lulav (palm branch), Hadass (myrtle) and Arovos (willow branches) all require ample water. Succos comes after the hot, dry summer of Eretz Israel, prior to what should be the rainy season. We take these four species in our hands and pour out our hearts like water in thanks and praise, hinting to our heavenly Father how totally depend we are on His blessings and mercy.
The chapter in our present parshah of EMOR relating to the festival cycle leads us in the direction of next week’s parshah, BEHAR, which sets forth the commandments relating to the cycles of Sabbatical and Jubilee years, which are also bound up with agriculture, ecological balance and reverence for the earth.
Besides the cycles of festivals and Sabbaticals that give time its rhythm, the world is also governed by cycles that are often not apparent, because one generation does not know what happened in previous generations and therefore cannot understand how what happens today is cyclically rooted in what happened earlier.
To understand the incident of the MEGADEF (“blasphemer”) in the closing section of our parshah (Leviticus 24:10ff), it is necessary to understand that “the son of the Israelite woman who was the son of an Egyptian man” was in fact the issue of an illicit relationship. Our rabbis teach that Shulamis Bas Divri was the wife of the Israelite whom Moses saw being beaten by an Egyptian the first time he went out to visit his brothers. The Egyptian would daily drive the Israelite out of his home and send him to his labors, thereafter going in to his wife. (See Rashi on Lev. 24:10 and on Exodus 2:11).
There is a deep counterpoint in the positioning of this episode in parshas EMOR, which centers on the special purity demanded of the priests. Shulamis Bas Divri is the exemplar of the opposite: immorality. While the holiness of the priesthood requires separation and the making of distinctions between pure and impure, fine and blemished, she sought to erase distinctions, greeting everyone with a naive “Peace be upon you, peace be upon you”. As if friendly chatter is enough to turn evil into good. It was Shulamis Bas Divri’s endeavor to erase distinctions that laid her open to the immoral relationship which led to the birth of the blasphemer. The latter, however, discovered that, whether you like it or not, this IS a world of distinctions. While the blasphemer was an Israelite through his mother, he had no tribal affiliation, since this comes only through the father. Accordingly the blasphemer had no place in the Israelite camp.
Contemporary political correctness will cry out in the voice of Shulamis Bas Divri that he should have been given a place — isn’t it unfair that he should be excluded because of a quirk of birth? Endless similar questions can be asked about other commandments in our parshah. Why should a blemished priest not be allowed to serve in the Temple? Why should a divorcee not be allowed to marry a priest? etc. etc.
Rashi brings a midrash that the blasphemer “went out” (Lev. 24:10) in the sense that he departed from the Torah: he mocked the idea that the Sanctuary Show-Bread (subject of the preceding section), which was eaten by the priests when it was nine days old, was a fitting institution in the Sanctuary of the King (Rashi ad loc.). The blasphemer could not accept G-d’s Torah the way it is. He wanted to adapt the Torah fit his own personal views.
There was a way that even the blasphemer could have found his place. As quoted at the outset, even a MAMZER TALMID CHOCHOM has precedence over the High Priest. If the blasphemer had been willing to submit himself to G-d and accept the position G-d put him in, he could have been saved. But he was not willing to submit and instead he opened his mouth and poured out a torrent of abuse.
Over sixty years previous to this, when Moses saw this man’s father striking Shulamis Bas Divri’s husband, Moses knew that there was no potential. “And he looked here and there and he saw that there was no man [that no man would come forth from him to convert, Rashi] and he struck the Egyptian” (Ex. 2:12). The rabbis taught that Moses “struck” him by invoking the Name of HaShem. It was precisely this name that the son of the Egyptian’s illicit relationship blasphemed. Prior to the Giving of the Torah, Moses inflicted instant justice on the father. However, after the Giving of the Torah, Moses was subject to the Torah like everyone else and he had to wait to hear from G-d how to deal with the blaspheming son.
The account of the punishment of the blasphemer includes related laws of punishments for killing and the damages that must be paid for inflicting injury to humans and animals. The cycles of crime and its penalties and payments revolve from generation to generation, but this is not apparent to the onlooker who sees only the here and now and does not understand what was before and what will come afterwards.
Shabbat Shalom – Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
Haftarat Emor – ‘Say’ – Ezekiel 44:15-31
This week’s Torah readings are centred around the priesthood and some of the instructions on the offerings. Let us look at this week’s haftarah portion from Ezekiel and it describe in intricate detail the building and operation of a yet-future Temple in Jerusalem. This is King Messiah’s Temple. Our haftarah portion is describing a real priesthood – descendants of Aaron. They are serving in a real Holy Temple .
Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a Kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel. -Exodus 19:5-6
And HaShem spoke to Aaron: “Here, I Myself have also given you charge of My heave offerings, all the holy gifts of the children of Israel; I have given them as a portion to you and your sons, as an ordinance forever… All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer to HaShem, I have given to you and your sons and daughters with you as an ordinance forever; it is a covenant of salt forever before HaShem with you and your descendants with you.” -Numbers 18:8; 19
For if He ( Messiah ) were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the Law. -Hebrews 8:4
Kohenim [priests] of the line of Zadok:
And she [Leah] conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi. -Genesis 29:35
First, the Tribe of Levi are those called to “join” others to HaShem. “Levi” means “to join.” Next, Aaron, of the Tribe of Levi was named, “Light bringer.”
The kohenim [priests] were called to “bring light.” Lastly, the sons of Zadok (from our Ezekiel passage), of the line of Aaron, of the Tribe of Judah were named for their ancestor Zadok. “Zadok” [Tzadok] means, “righteous.” The sons of Zadok live and teach righteousness.
But the Priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood,” says Ad-nai HaShem. They shall enter My sanctuary, and they shall come near My table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge.” -Ezekiel 44:15-16
The Kohenim ( priests )of the line of Zadok: They kept charge of HaShem’s sanctuary :
- Stand before Most High to offer to Him the fat and the blood
- Enter Most High sanctuary
- Come near HaShem’s table to minister to Him
- Keep HaShem’s charge
- Put on linen garments; no wool shall come upon them while they minister
- Have linen turbans and linen trousers
- Neither shave their heads, nor let their hair grow long
- Not drink wine when he enters the inner court
- Not take as wife a widow or a divorced woman, but only virgins of Israel
- Teach HaShem’s people the difference between the holy and the unholy
- Stand as judges according to HaShem’s Mishpatim ( judgments )
- Keep HaShem’s Torot ( instructions ) , Chokot (Divine decrees), Moadim (appointed feasts), and hallow HaShem’s Shabbats.
- Not defile themselves by coming near a dead person – and if so, cleans themselves according to the Torah
- Eat the Minchah [grain offering], Chatat [sin offering], and Asham [guilt offering]
All these Levites, sons of Aaron, sons of Zadok will have HaShem as their inheritance. He is their possession. They are the anointed ones of Most High
We will see that the children of Israel return to Most High and Torah of Mashiach, And will hug in the Holy Land, and by obeying and listening the “VOICE of Most Ancient Holy One of Israel”, will bring offerings in a righteous way on the holy mountain and also bring the Ark of the covenant with pure heart in the right place ( i.e In Har HaBayit, on the foundation Stone) .
We will Welcome the son of David on Mount Zion, Jerusalem.
[ Ha Khadosh Baruch Hu – Baruch HaBa B’Shem Adonai ] – Gaddi, President, BeitYaaqov International.
Gaddi – President
A Servant of Most Ancient Holy one of Israel and Disciple of Yeshua HaMashiach
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