Emor 2020 by: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron בס"ד
Discover the Holy Presence in the Holy Land
In this Parsha, we learn about the holidays, including the period of the Omer Count which bridges between the holiday of Pesah and Shavuot. One of the peculiar verses in this section is the verse that commands that one must not diminish the Peah and Leket given to the poor at the time of harvest. It is known that this law applies to all times of the year. If so, why is it mentioned in the middle of the holiday section, when mentioning the Omer and Shavuot? Our Sages explain that this verse comes to teach us that we may not take the poor’s portion in a field even for the sake of giving this portion for the Omer barley offering or the Two Loaves offered on Shavuot.
On a contemplative level, we may say that, although the Omer period and Shavuot holiday represent high spiritual times of joy and closeness to Hashem, nevertheless we should not forget the downtrodden and the poor. On the contrary, it should be remembered that it says that the Holy Presence rests with the downtrodden and the poor, as it says “I am with the downtrodden and humbled of spirit.” Therefore, when we support the poor we are also uniting ourselves with the Holy Presence, and by so doing we can also adequately connect to the Holy Presence on our holidays and through the Omer and Two Loaves offerings given in the Beit Hamikdash, the focal point of the Holy Presence.
On a personal level we may also say that, at times, we may be in a flux of self-improvement, whether materially or spirtually, every day “harvesting” our spiritual achievements, as is ideally done in the Omer period. Nevertheless, we should not forget the “poor,” whether on a material or spiritual level, who need our support and who we should strive to raise with us on our spiritual ascent. On the contrary, through this act of kindness, we will be lifted even more to a place of eternal ascent. We should also remember that, just as we were, not long ago, in a more difficult state, we should remember those in more difficult situations. On a national level too, we should remember the Holy Presence found in Exile, in a state of difficulty in our times, and plead that She be returned to Her proper place in the Beit Hamikdash, through Hashem’s kindness.
At the beginning of this Parsha, we learn about the Kohen who is not to be defiled by impurity, except for close relatives who have died, and the Kohen Gadol who is never to be defiled even on these close relatives. According to the Kabbalists the Kohen represents the attribute of kindness, which is associated with the eternal, as can be hinted in the verse “His charity/kindness is forever lasting” (see also Likutei Moharan I 84). Therefore, death should not be given a place in the Kohen’s life, especially not in the life of the “Grand Kohen” – Kohen Gadol, for death is only a temporary state, for the soul eternally lives on, and will be resurrected in the Resurrection of the Dead.
Hebron exemplifies these ideas, for Hebron reminds us of the “kindness of the Patriarchs” (as said in Birkat Avot). Hebron also reminds us of the afterlife, being the place of the ascent of souls to the afterlife in the Garden of Eden. This is Hebron, the City of Kindness, uniting us with our ancient roots in the Land of the Holy Presence, forever.
Miracles from the Holy Land:
The Golan Heights Attack At the end of the 6 Day War, to retake the Golan Heights, Israel had to win an uphill battle against a heavily entrenched and well fortified Syrian army, consisting of seventy-five thousand troops. It was estimated that thirty thousand Israeli lives would be lost. Yet on June 9th, after just seven hours of heavy fighting, Israel had miraculously gained control of the main sectors. The next morning, the Israeli forces still expected another day of fierce fighting. The Syrians, however, had other plans. Before the Israelis even got to them, they pulled out of the Golan, fleeing frantically and leaving weapons behind. The mountains, which were once strategically used to murder Jews had fallen into the hands of the Jews. Having completed the final offensive, they signed a ceasefire.