Blog Emor 20 Iyar 5778 בלוג אֱמֹר, כ’ אייר תשע”ח
The full message can be heard at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAY22cGv98g
Parashat Emor speaks of the importance of the role of the kehunat the priesthood, of Israel. The Creator chose Aaron, the elder brother of Moshe to be the head of this priesthood. We could wonder why Aaron was chosen to be Cohen Hagadol, the High Priest after all his failures but this shows us that our Creator didn’t make us perfect. in spite of what religions teach their followers, there is no human being who is infallible! In Jeremiah 17:5-11 we read, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man…blessed is the man who trusts in the Creator… Who can know the heart of man; deceitful it is? The Creator knows and tests the heart of men and rewards them accordingly”. Even if the High Priest himself or our rabbis today were to say anything that goes against Torah, we are to always choose Torah.
The priesthood carried a tremendous responsibility in its role to teach the people about Torah, not about human traditions; to help the people understand His principles in order to apply them to their lives. When we say that we are Shomer Torah, it is not about imitating others by eating or dressing a certain way. It means that Torah is within us and that we walk in His ways. Our Creator has placed us in a dual system whereby we are both temporal and eternal. He breathed His spirit into us, placing within us a spark of divinity. It is not only the Jews, the Israelites who have this spark. Every human being on earth contains His divine spark. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is not only the God of the Jews, He is the Bore Olam, the Creator of all. In Lev. 23 we will see the importance of the temporal – being within time however, beyond time we also dwell in the eternal.
Even our Hebrew calendar is a dual calendar; it is lunar however our rabbis have gone to great lengths to have it coincide with the solar calendar by adding months so that His Moedim, Appointed Times remain in the same seasons year after year. The Moedim were to demonstrate to us just how temporary we are on this earth while pointing to the eternal. Pesach represents the beginning of all things and Sukkoth represents “The beginning of the End and a new beginning”. The Biblical festivals are all related with agriculture except for two –Yom Teruah (also known as Rosh Hashanah) and Yom Hakippurim (the Day of Atonement) both of which point to a different dimension – the Eternal. Yom Teruah Yom Hakippurim and Sukkoth are all in the 7th month; number 7 in Gematria signifies that His work is accomplished. Sukkoth which contains 7 days plus one extra day, signifies a new beginning; here the Creator is giving us a taste of Eternity.
Israel was chosen to be a holy priesthood. (Ex. 19:6) The word priest portrays the idea of being a link, bringing continuity and Israel, who was called to be the priesthood for the nations, was to be the link between the nations and the Creator, to be or l’goyim (light to the nations). We were called to set an example and to bring the wonderful message handed down to us at Har Sinai, that His basic Ten Commandments were for all the nations. In these, lay every principle for humanity to live a good life. We humans however have decided to do things our own way. What happens when the priesthood, our leaders become corrupt? The entire community is led toward its downfall. That is what was happening at the time of Yeshua. The priesthood had been sold to the highest bidder instead of following the line of Aaron. It had nothing to do with the moral fibre of the person. We are, however, to follow His morality, to have integrity, not to be immoral which leads to the amorality of the world. The Creator said, “I am holy; therefore, I will make you holy” meaning He is separate from the rest, and we were not to be like the other nations.
History teaches us that the greatest empires fell for three reasons – corrupt leadership, total immorality, and the persecution of Israel. Israel always comes under persecution when these things happen however one of our greatest problems is that we were called to be a nation of “priests”, to be “or l’goyim” and once again we are running away from that responsibility. We prefer to be accepted by the other nations than to be accepted by our Creator. This, for the most part, is due to the example being set by a corrupt religious system which is exactly what was happening at the time of Yeshua. He was murdered because he was trying to get his people to return to the simplicity of the Torah, telling them that the religious faction had no right to replace God’s Words with their own, that they had no right to purchase the priesthood. The Sadducees and Pharisees where well entrenched and didn’t like to be told what to do while the “am ha’aretz”, the general population of Israel loved and accepted Yeshua’s teachings. Sadly, the Gentiles took Yeshua’s message and totally divorced it from the Torah, changing his message to one that most Israelis would have to reject in light of the Commandments and giving them a negative view of Rabbi Yeshua. It is our duty in this community both here and abroad, to teach both the Jews and Gentiles the truth about our great teacher Yeshua, our messiah.
The Creator wants us to see that although we dwell in temporary bodies, our soul is eternal and is in constant communication with Him. He asks us to be moral, to have integrity, in this we will do what is right; in this way we choose life. The immoral person does what is wrong, knowing that it is wrong, while the amoral person cannot discern; doesn’t care about what is right or wrong; he cares only what is good for him. Today’s world is amoral. The Creator told us to love our neighbor as ourselves. How can we do right to our neighbor, if we do not do what is right for ourselves. And how can we do right for ourselves if we are not right with the Creator? Religiosity makes us think like the ostrich who hides his head in the sand thinking that no one sees him. That’s how he becomes the lion’s lunch. As Rabbi Yeshua told us, we are in the world but not of it. You and I are called to be “priests”, links between the temporal and the eternal shining His divine spark to all with whom we come in contact each and every day.