Our portion this week is Parsha Emor – Speak. (Leviticus 21:1-24:23) It continues the section on holiness, and specifically deals with the priests, sacrifices, festivals, and the Mishkan/Tabernacle. In a very strict sense, not much of this applies to us today. Most of us are not priests, and those that are of that lineage are unable to fulfill their duties as there is no standing temple.
Event the feasts we are not able to do fully. All of them require sacrifices, which we cannot do, some of them are specifically commanded to be kept, “when you enter the land,” where we do not live. So why study this section at all? What benefit could it have for us?
Consider the verse:
They (the priests) shall be holy to their Elohim and not profane the name of their Elohim, for they present the offerings by fire to Adonai, the food of their Elohim; so they shall be holy.Leviticus 21:5 NASB
It is clear, from this passage, that the requirements for serving the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are high. For those that would enter into His presence, even higher. Even the very animals that were to be brought before Him were to be without blemish, perfect, valuable to the giver. It was such a high requirement that even afflictions, of which the bearer had no choice, would disqualify someone from service.
For no one who has a defect shall approach: a blind man, or a lame man, or he who has a disfigured face, or any deformed limb, or a man who has a broken foot or broken hand, or a hunchback or a dwarf, or one who has a defect in his eye or eczema or scabs or crushed testicles. No man among the descendants of Aaron the priest who has a defect is to come near to offer Adonai’s offerings by fire, since he has a defect, he shall not come near to offer the food of his Elohim.Leviticus 21:18-21 NASB
Note that such a person was not rejected from the community, nor were they rejected from receiving a portion of the holy food (Lev. 22:7).
The image is clear for us, just as death is required to atone for sins, so are we required to be without blemish to approach our Heavenly Father. The first steps toward this were taken by Yeshua on the cross. Through His death, He brought us Justification. The debt of sin was paid. Now, for those that have accepted Him, we must work out our Sanctification – our holiness. Just as He is holy, so must His people be.
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Yeshua HaMashiach. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”1 Peter 1:13-16 NASB
You shall not profane My holy name, but I will be sanctified among the sons of Israel: I am Adonai who sanctifies you,Leviticus 22:32 NASB
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,Hebrews 12:1
May we never forget that our actions reflect upon Him. We who have taken His name upon ourselves speak and act with His voice and hands. May we represent Him well. May the world not look upon Him and curse His name because of us.
אַתָּה קָדושׁ וְשִׁמְךָ קָדושׁ וּקְדושִׁים בְּכָל יום יְהַלְּלוּךָ סֶּלָה
:בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהוָה. הָאֵל הַקָּדושׁ
Atah kadosh ve-shim-cha kadosh, uk-do-sheem be-chal yom ye-hal-lu-cha, se-lah.
Baruch atah Adonai, ha-El ha-kadosh.
You are holy and Your name is holy, and holy ones praise You daily, Selah! Blessed are You, Adonai, the holy ElohimTraditional blessing on Holiness from the Amidah