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וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה אֱמֹר אֶל־הַכֹּהֲנִים בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם לְנֶפֶשׁ לֹֽא־יִטַּמָּא בְּעַמָּֽיו

Vayomer ADONAI el-Moshe emor el-haCohanim b'ney Aharon v'amarta aleyhem l'nefesh lo-yitamah b'amayv

"ADONAI said to Moshe, "Speak to the cohanim, the sons of Aharon; tell them: 'No cohen is to make himself unclean for any of his people who dies."


Welcome to Parashat Emor. Last week we focused on holiness. This week the first two chapters of Emor focus on the cohanim (priests) and their separation unto holiness. As priests, as leaders in a high-visibility position, they needed to take extra special care to demonstrate the holiness of HaShem in the sight of the people. As we shall find out in a future parashah, although not a priest, Moshe was the preeminent high-viz leader and his failure to demonstrate this holiness—as a leader among them—coupled along with disobedience and a lack of faith (read Hebrews 3:15-19 carefully) warrants his inability to enter into the Land of Promise. Don’t get me wrong. The same chapter of Hebrews states that Moshe was faithful (3:2, 5). However, this must be balanced with the truth of his angry outburst in striking the Rock that HaShem commanded to be spoken to only. From this example alone, we should be able to catch a glimpse of the seriousness of representing God on a priestly/leadership level.
— Parashat Emor