Emor

Parsha Emor, Responses To Disability And What Must Change

Parsha Emor contains a disturbing mitzvah: those priests who have disabilities are explicitly prohibited from officiating at the Temple. Of course this related to a tiny percentage of a tiny percentage of the population—grown men whose fathers were Kohanim. It was only relevant during Temple times and only with respect to animal sacrifices. So it may be irrelevant. Until the Temple is rebuilt there is no possibility of sacrifice. Even when the Temple is rebuilt it may be that, following Rambam, there will be no sacrifices. So why the geshrei?

Disability Inclusion. Courtesy of Google Images

This Week's Torah: Moses Taught the Priests One Way, The People Another

In this week's Torah portion, Emor, we find this sentence in the very beginning: 

“And the Lord spoke to Moses:  Speak to the priest, the sons of Aaron and speak to them . . .” (Leviticus 21:1)

Even God, even at Sinai, spoke differently to the priests and to the people. Fotolia

The Role of Jewish Priests: A Matter of Life and Death

05/14/2012 - 20:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Jewish priests (Kohannim) are prohibited from attending funerals or encountering the dead (unless it is a close relative). How can the leaders of society neglect one of the most important aspects of community service? Here we learn a value of humility, empowerment, life, and transparency.

Rabbi Yanklowitz is founder and president of Uri L'Tzedek, director of Jewish life and senior Jewish educator at UCLA Hillel.
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