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Emor in a Nutshell

Emor in a Nutshell

Leviticus 21:1–24:23


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.

The second part of Emor lists the annual Callings of Holiness—the festivals of the Jewish calendar: the weekly Shabbat; the bringing of the Passover offering on 14 Nissan; the seven-day Passover festival beginning on 15 Nissan; 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-day Counting 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).

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).

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Shelley May 9, 2017

Animals It's important to see this, as all of the original laws, in context of culture and society at the time. There is a critical difference between what G-d asked Hebrews to do, in terms of the animal sacrifice, and what other heathen religions did at the time. Many of them had human sacrifice. Part of the metaphoric meaning behind the story of Abraham and Isaac is the reinforcement that G-d is an enlightened deity from which no human sacrifice shall be made in His name. And yes, while these animals were sacrificed ritualistically there were slaughtering laws in place for mercy, and the animals were treated humanely and used mercifully (yes, for eating). This was the way of things after Noah: agriculture and animal husbandry. In Eden Adam cared for the animals. But on earth we are flawed humans and are given the law to guide the lowest forms of us to be as holy as possible. After Moshiach Temple is restored. But Isaiah 11:6 has wolf with lamb. Only G-d knows what will be. Pray all are free. Reply

Ari Dale Israel May 11, 2017
in response to Shelley:

Yes, a good and helpful insight. Reply

Anonymous May 21, 2016

The animal sacrifice, serves as a reinforcement to define the separation between man and the rest of creation. We should never consider animals as an equal to human beings. Also, we should consider the noahide laws and never be cruel to animals for the purposes of our amusement. Reply

Yohananben moishe Watts, Ca. May 14, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

The Torah teaches we are custodians of the land created by Adoshem; that includes fauna and animals; When we misuse pollute or destroy habitats for our economic benefit we violate Adpshem directly and he therefore will set evil upon us; animals must never be mistreated nor enslaved; animals and habitats must be preserved or restored in other locations w/o loss of life; our needs as humans are second to that of nature: A classic sign of paganism and defilement of Hashem is when humans put themselves first above all else: Tp do this will always result in destruction of human society; witness Babalyon Rome Evypt Nazi Germany Reply

Lawrence Iowa May 20, 2016

Shavuot--Weeks Should this not begin with Sunday after Pesach and continue for Seven Weeks? Karaites? Discussion? Reply

Anonymous Potomac, md May 9, 2015

All the animals slated for euthanasia could be rounded up and used for sacrifice so their sad deaths are transformed into heavenly and Holy use. Turn waste into sacrifice with a purpose. Conversely, perhaps there is No more need for sacrifice? Perhaps Elohim will acknowledge our love for all his creatures and provide his chosen people with a dispensation to abandon offering him the lives of the most innocent and helpless of all his creatures; the lower animals. After all, as Elohim's wisest creatures, have we learned nothing about the value of life? Would G-d anticipate that we would behave now as we did 3 thousand years ago? How would the rest of the world see B'nai Israel if we started sacrificing animals again? Reply

Anonymous London via May 2, 2014

Sacrifices It just occurred to me from looking at the previous comments, that perhaps animal sacrifice was there so people feel truly sorry and would rather not have to sacrifice.
Behave or bring your pet hamster kind of thing perhaps ... ?? (ok, hamsters are not kosher, but how many people still raise their own animals if they are meat eaters) Reply

Bob Texas May 2, 2014

Have you forgotten that sacrifices were offered for more than just sin? Reply

Anonymous toronto May 2, 2014

Head The Head of the nation should make laws for the people, it is not the other way around. This is what happens when one goes out of order in Torah. Reply

Efraim Miroshnikov Toronto/Philippines May 1, 2014

Animals are neither innocent nor guilty. when there is a lack of knowledge and education on a subject those offering an opinion do it from an empty barrel, animals are neither guilty nor innocent they are animals. placed on earth to serve man kind. if you wish to be vegetarian G-d wont punish you for he gave you free will. but your free will is my free will, you respect mine and I will respect yours. but don't speak of innocence as if it were a child in Israel being shelled by hamas, or a child in the ghetto of Chicago, G-d gave us commandments on how to honor him/her and sacrifice is one of them. Reply

Miryam H. Israel April 30, 2014

Sacrifices In addition, it has been taught that when Moshiach reigns the only animal sacrifices will be the very first ones. After his establishment of the Third Temple. And that the animals will voluntarily offer themselves. After this there will no longer be any animal sacrifices. Reply

Harry crown heights April 29, 2014

What the 2 previous comments fail to realize is that animal sacrifice is the will of the creator, bottom line. Put your own will aside . Reply

Ari Dale Israel May 4, 2013

Sacrifices Yes, killing innocent animals is a bit of an easy-out when it comes to dealing with our own shortcomings. As we learn more from zoologists and physiologists about animal sentience, we must withdraw from inflicting suffering on animals. Reply

Beverly Kurtin Texas April 27, 2013

Sacrifices Some people are looking forward to the building of the third temple. Why? So animal sacrifices can be done again? I pray that is not so. Hashem said that he did not want the blood of animals, he wanted obedience! The thought of killing an innocent calf or kid is repugnant to me.
Instead of sacrificing again, let's just obey Hashem's commandments. I'm as guilty as anyone else of erring when it comes to the commandments, but please, no more blood offerings. Reply

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