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Emor ~ אמור ~ 5774
The Kohanim are only allowed to attend the funerals of primary relatives and unmarried daughters. Furthermore, the strict code of Holiness that is instituted upon the Priests includes restrictions regarding who is allowed to marry and even upon his children’s behavior. A Priest that has a major physical defect is forbidden to officiate at Sanctuary rituals but not forbidden from celebrating or partaking of the sacrifices. Priests themselves must be spiritual and ritually clean before they can eat foods, perform sacrifices or make donations made to the Sanctuary.
Animals with physical abnormalities could be donated to the Sanctuary but could not be used as sacrifices. These restrictions also are to be applied to non-Israelites. The Torah further instructs us in the laws of animal respect. A newborn animal cannot be slaughtered for at least seven days, a dame and her offspring cannot be sacrificed on the same day. The holidays of the Jewish Calendar are given starting here with Shabbat and reviewing Pesach, the Omer wave offering and Shavuot. The laws of the Jewish Holy Days continue here with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
It is forbidden to do any work whatsoever on these days. The Holiday of Sukkot is defined as a seven day holiday of which the first day is a “Holy Convocation” day and the eighth day is likewise a special assembly day. The Lulav, Etrog, Hadasim and Aravot are to be used to glorify the holiday. Dwelling in a Sukkah (booth) is mandatory as it reminds Israel that G-d brought them out of Egypt.
The Children of Israel are reminded they are responsible for providing the pure olive oil necessary to maintain the Menorah Lights 24 hours a day. The Priests were to officiate at the daily lighting (see Ex. 27:20-21 Pg. 339). The Showbread was to consist of 12 cakes (each representing the tribes) of fine flour arranged in two rows. The son of an Israelite mother and Egyptian father fought with an Israelite and in the heat of the moment – blasphemed G-d. Placed in custody until the penalty was ascertained, he was eventually put to death.
MAFTIR Leviticus 24:21-23 ~ page 527 – 528
HAFTARAH Ezekiel 44:15-31 ~ page 528 – 530
In the future Temple to be built the prophet declares that only the Levites descended from Zadok, Soloman’s High Priest, would exercise the priestly functions. Ezekiel specifies their duties which include the prohibition to defile themselves by contact with the dead (save for their nearest relatives). The Haftorah concludes with an account of the dues the priests receive for their maintenance.