Emor – A thought for the week by Mike Lewis

This week, as we read Emor, we are introduced to the rules applying to the Cohanim and those concerning sacrifice. The festivals of the year are set out. The Sedra finishes with the question of blasphemy; Chillul Hashem.

As the Sedra begins we read

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying; Speak to Aaron, saying: Any man among your offspring throughout their generations who has a defect, shall not come near to offer up his God’s food

These defects or blemishes which disqualify them are set out in great detail. They are all physical defects or disabilities. In our own times this would be seen as unacceptable discrimination. The infirmities which disqualify them from offering sacrifices are either inherited, developmental or accidental.

What is not broached is the possibility that the disabling factor might be a moral defect.

We also read

Do not desecrate My holy name. I must be sanctified among the Israelites. I am the Lord, who made you holy and who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord.

Big or small, physically strong or disabled, it is the moral fibre of our teachers and leaders that offers real sanctification. That is Kiddush Hashem.

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