Emor

Emor: The Right Balance

Judaism measures greatness by spiritual achievements. It should come as no surprise that many of our founding fathers suffered from physical ailments. Yitzchak was blind, Yaakov partially crippled, and Moshe had a speech impediment. Their eminence was such that whatever "handicaps" they might have had were simply irrelevant. Physical limitations are no impediment to greatness.

Emor: Body and Soul

 

 Judaism measures greatness by spiritual achievements. It should come as no surprise that many of our founding fathers suffered from physical ailments. Yitzchak was blind, Yaakov partially crippled, and Moshe had a speech impediment. Their eminence was such that whatever "handicaps" they might have had were simply irrelevant. Physical limitations are no impediment to greatness.
 

Emor: The Joys of a Kohen

Being a kohen today is not what it used to be. While one may receive more aliyot and lead birchat hamazon on a regular basis, a kohen is bound by the many restrictions of the Torah without "reaping its benefits". There are strict restrictions on whom they may marry and whom they may bury. This, despite the fact that there is no Temple for them to work in, no sacrifices to bring, no regal clothes to wear, and no special food to eat.

Emor: G-d's Name

Of all possible wrongdoings, only one does not allow for the possibility of teshuva, repentance. Causing a chilul Hashem, a desecration of G-d's name, is not something for which one can just say sorry, promise never to do it again, and move on. The lingering effects of desecrating G-d's name do not go away just because one is sorry. Thus, Maimonides (Teshuva 1:4) writes that it is only upon death that repentance might be obtained. If chilul Hashem is so severe, it follows that kiddush Hashem, the sanctification of G-d's name, would be the greatest of mitzvot.

Emor: Religious Secularism

Two of the most dangerous threats to society are religious fanaticism and rampant secularism. The dangers of the former have received more attention in recent years, as people literally fear for their physical safety. Furthermore, violently extremist positions that claim to be divinely based are a desecration of the name of G-d and affect all practitioners of religious faith. When people are convinced G-d is on their side even as they engage in the most heinous of activities, there is little one can do to dissuade them from evil.

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