Weekly Reading Insights: Emor 5765


Overview of the Weekly Reading: Emor

To be read on 5 Iyar 5765 (May 14)

Torah:Lev.21:1-24:23 ; Haftorah: Ezekiel 44:15-31(Kohanim in Temple)

Emor is the 8th Reading out of 10 in Leviticus and 31st overall, and 20th out of 54 in overall length.

Emor opens with laws concerning priests and the high priest: which blemishes or states of impurity disqualify them from serving, with whom they may marry, for which deceased person may they become impure, and more. The next topic discussed is which animals are eligible for sacrifices. The following section speaks about Shabbos and lists some of the dates and laws of the holidays. Then comes instructions about the menorah’s ‘eternal lamp’ and the showbread in the Tabernacle. The  concluding section relays how a Jew blasphemed and what his punishment was.


From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:31-65/Emor)

Just as our own thought process is remote and unknowable to others unless expressed openly, so is the wisdom of G-d remote and holy. This wisdom can be drawn down into the sefirot below and this in fact is an integral part of the Kedusha prayer, as we shall now see.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed (A:31-65/Emor)

The mystery of the Resurrection of the Dead [is as follows]: In the future G-d will resurrect the dead with dew.... [Resurrection] will occur by means of holy [spiritual] droplets that manifest the name of G-d whose numerical value is that of the word for "dew" [in Hebrew, "tal" = 39, formed by spelling out the first three letters of the name Havayah,] yud- hei- vav.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the Shelah, Shney Luchot HaBrit by Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (S:31-65/Emor)

When such an elevated soul somehow commits a sin, the result is that it will lose its status of being "married" to her holy roots and will become "widowed or divorced", as the case may be, in either case forfeiting the source of its sustenance, the most holy domain, the world of Atzilut.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.


"You shall count for yourselves…." (23:15)
The word "u'sefartem - and you shall count" is from the same root as the words "sapphire" and "bright" as if to say, "Work on 'yourselves' until you are shiny and bright."
(The Maggid of Mezritch)


from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org


"Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is Shabbat Shabbaton." (a Sabbath of strict rest) (Lev. 23:3)
Our Sages compare the first six millennia of the world's existence to the six working days of every week, for they serve as preparation, through Torah and mitzvot, for the seventh millennium -- the ultimate stage of the Messianic era referred to as "the day that is entirely Shabbat and repose for life everlasting."
On Shabbat there are two levels of holiness: the cessation of work, and an additional, more sublime level of inner peace that transcends mere cessation from labor. This higher level, too, is derived from the six days of work, for it is a direct result of the good deeds one has performed throughout the week.
Similarly, the six millennia of service prepare the world not only for the first stage of the Messianic era when evil will be subdued, but also its final stage, when the "spirit of impurity will be forever removed from the earth."
(Maamar "Vayakhel Moshe" 5714)

[Reprinted with permission from L'Chaim Magazine (www.lchaim.org).]

An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:31-65/Emor)

This week's Torah portion describes some 'special dates' in the Jewish calendar. This section begins (23/4), in literal translation, "These are G-d's appointed times," (Aylu mo'aday Hashem), "the callings of holiness" (mikra-ey kodesh), "that you {the Jewish people} should designate in their proper time" (asher tikri'oo otam b'mo'adam). We say this verse on holidays in the daytime kiddush.

There is a traditional Chassidic teaching that has a very different take on the verse. The Rebbe Rayatz taught as follows: G-d's name of four letters, the Tetragramaton -Yud and Hai and Vav and Hai-as it appears in this verse, is G-d's essential name, describing G-d on His first and foremost level, as Creator of all. Therefore, the verse can be read, "These (holidays) are the appointed times of G-d's Name". In other words, these holidays are the set times that G-d's essence is able to be revealed. The continuation, "Mikra-ey kodesh", can also be translated as 'holy events', meaning that the revelation of divine energy is not something only spiritual and ethereal, rather it is something real in this plane that you and I can experience. "Asher tikri'oo otam b'mo'adam" can translate as, 'you will make this happen' (literally, 'you will call them into being'), each at their right time and in a way unique to that holiday through your appropriate preparation for that particular holiday.

This explanation of this same verse was the very first Torah concept transmitted by the Baal Shem Tov to his main student and protoge, Rabbi Dov Ber, the Magid of Mezritch. It was also with this Torah concept that the Magid later acquired his disciple, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the first rebbe of Chabad. Furthermore, when the Alter Rebbe used his spiritual powers to formulate the personality of his son and successor, Rabbi Dov Ber, enabling him to become a teacher and leader, he also taught him this concept. The Alter Rebbe explains that it was this Torah concept that the Besht used to merge souls with the Magid, creating a Chassidic 'Giving of the Torah'. In this context, the Alter Rebbe continues, I was the first to hear it from the Magid, akin to the Jewish people receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai.

This exact potential to reveal G-d's essence during the holidays is, in fact, accessible to us at any time, on the condition that we make ourselves a vessel to receive it. A person does not have to be stuck in the rut of day to day life all of the time. If a person considers these ideas and lifts himself a few inches above the 'ground', you will immediately feel and see things in a different way.

Unfortunately, the constant problem is that we are in a heavy darkness, a vacuum, an atmosphere where G-dliness is hidden. Even though we all realize this on some level, most of the time we have become accustomed to think of the darkness as being light. A story is told about the master chassid, Rabbi Hillel of Paritch, who once made a chassidic gathering in a wine cellar. In the middle, someone came in and said, 'Wow, it's so dark!' One of the other participants answered him, 'What's the big deal? When you get used to it, the darkness becomes light.' Rabbi Hillel responded, 'No. It's a real problem when you get used to the darkness and think it is light!

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

P.S. Please also read my weekly Shabbat Law, below.)

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