Torah Tidbits

3 September 2014 / 8 Elul 5774
Issue 1042
Shabbat Parshat Emor
April 25, 2013

Divrei Menachem

Divrei Menachem

Parshat Emor relates to the question of K’dusha, generally translated as ‘Holiness’. The term applies to time and space, to appropriate behaviors in the service of Hashem, and even to the type and quality of animals we may offer as sacrifices. It seems that what define us as holy are the Mitzvot we observe through which we become elevated. In turn, our loyal adherence to these Mitzvot creates a ‘Kiddush Hashem’, the sanctification of G-d’s name in this world. 
As with so much of our teachings there is a converse to ‘Kiddush Hashem’, namely, its nemesis, ‘Chilul Hashem’, desecration of G-d’s Name. Examples from our parsha include contaminated individuals who bring offerings and the burning of new born animals for sacrifices in their first eight days (Vayikra 22:26). The baby animals were possibly not yet viable until the eighth day (Chizkuni) or, perhaps, as has been suggested, on the eighth day they are least prone to disease.
Or, perhaps, as is becoming to a baby boy before his Brit Mila, the animal must first live through one Shabbat before it can be used for a sacred purpose. Here, then, Shabbat is more than a day that sanctifies time; it is testimony to G-d as the Creator, giving spiritual validity to the whole universe (Zohar). Now, if newborn calves are subject to these notions, then how much more it behooves us to refrain from impediments, whether physical or spiritual, so that we might offer ourselves to Hashem without desecration, and only in the spirit of ‘Kiddush Hashem’.

Shabbat Shalom, Menachem Persoff

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