This week’s reading from the Torah (Genesis–Deuteronomy) is Leviticus 21:1-24:23. This parashah, or portion, is called אמר Emor, which means “say” in Hebrew.
The common reading from the Prophets to accompany Emor is Ezekiel 44:15-31.
Below are study notes and recorded discussions covering Parashat Emor by teacher Richard over the years.
All of Leviticus is primarily addressed to the priesthood, but Leviticus 21 is about qualifications of the High Priest, not regular priests or the lay Israelites. There are things that other Israelites can do, within limits that are totally forbidden to the High Priest. His family, descendants of Aharon (Aaron) is held to a higher standard than other families. This chapter also shows us how holy — set apart — our High Priest, Yeshua, was to be.
Is this of any value to us in the 21st century? Just as in The previous chapter, Leviticus 22 is about the function and lifestyle of the High Priest in the physical plane. I want to reiterate this to try to not move this in the 21st century. Imagine you were living in Moshe: You were only a year beyond Mitsraim (Egypt), and you are learning this for the first time.
Leviticus 21-22 and the vision George Washington had at Valley Forge have some interesting connections.
An appointment can be a place, a time or an event. When we use the word moedim, it’s an appointment or an assignment. The Tabernacle of Meeting is the Tabernacle of Appointments. When we “proclaim” His holy days, God can work in us to sanctify us. How do you proclaim an appointed time? Proclaiming is an active verb, not a passive verb. It’s not something we say, it’s something we do. You proclaim an appointed time or moedim by what you do on that day. You either do it or don’t do it. You show up or you don’t. If you do it, you are proclaiming it. If you ignore it and don’t do it, you aren’t proclaiming it.
The 23rd chapter of Leviticus is a relatively obvious passage. The explanations are simple and self-explanatory, except for questions about the biblical timing of Firstfruits and Pentecost. The 24th chapter is a bit unusual and not so simple to decipher. When you read the book of Leviticus and you find the phrase “the LORD spoke to…” pay attention whom is supposed to hear the message. There were some messages for the sons of Aaron, but some messages were for the people of Israel. Each group had their own duties and responsibilities, and it’s God Himself Who decides.