At first glance, the first verse in this week’s Torah portions seems to need some editing: “G‑d said to Moses: Speak to the priests, Aharon’s sons, and say to them…”

G‑d seems to be telling Moses to speak and say something. It’s sort of like a kid asking, “Can I ask a question?”

But as we know, our G‑d-given Torah is flawless. Throughout the generations, ritual scribes have been meticulously copying letter by letter to ensure that our Torah will not be changed in any way.

Rashi explains that the verse is indicating that Moses should tell the priests who should in turn teach the laws of purity to their children so that they should maintain their ritual purity.

So not only must they educate their children, they must make sure that their children apply their knowledge in real life.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, often said that when one knows Aleph, one must teach Aleph, meaning that everyone – regardless of background and training – has the capacity to teach another.

And we too can learn from this verse that we must be like the priests and make sure that not only do our children increase in knowledge, but use their knowledge to act according to the Torah.

Emor also introduces the counting of the Omer, something we started at the end of the second Seder. As we count the Omer every day, we seek to refine the many aspects of our personality listed just after the blessing in the Siddur.

According to Chassidic thought, it is through the constant, daily process of education that we can make our children literally shine with light. Just as a person must work hard to turn seed into grain, and then make it into flour and eventually bread, so to we must work hard to educate our children every day. But just like the farmer, we need to have faith in G‑d that with His help the end product will be spectacular.

My parents, both native South Africans, taught me the value of Jewish education. Because there was no Jewish school in the Canadian city where I was brought up, they researched Jewish day schools across the border and then carpooled with a few other families so that we could have a Jewish education. I also fondly remember Friday night Shabbat dinners at my parents’ house, how we used to always have a community Yom Kippur break-fast at our house, and that we had the best built sukkah in town thanks to my beloved late grandfather who designed and built it so many years ago.

So as a thank you to my parents, here’s a family favorite. A South African treat, crunchies are a delicious dessert that is both easy and quick to make. And if you are missing ingredients, you can always substitute, but they will turn out differently. So too, we all have the ability to teach our children every day – whether we can teach them the letters of Aleph-Bet or how to treat others with love and respect or even how to make Shabbat extra special with your own Parsha-themed desserts…


  • 4 cups whole grain oats
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups coconut
  • 12 oz. margarine (3 sticks)
  • 3 Tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 2 tsp. baking soda


  1. Mix the first four ingredients.
  2. Boil the margarine and syrup.
  3. When boiling, add the baking soda and mix well.
  4. Add to the dry ingredients and mix.
  5. Pack lightly into a large baking pan lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake at 350˚ for about 15 minutes.
  7. While still warm, use cookie cutters if you have them to make Alephs or any other shape, or just cut into squares.

Have a good and sweet Shabbat!