Emor 5780-2020

“Death, and the Kohanim--the Children of Aaron”
(updated and revised from Parashat Emor 5762-2002)

In parashat Emor we learn that a Kohain/priest is only permitted to contaminate himself on the occasion of the death of one of his seven closest relatives. Rabbi Saul Berman maintains that the ancient priests, who acted as clergy, were not permitted to be involved with the dead so they not be in a position to exploit their vulnerable constituents at their time of bereavement. It may also be a way of showing that rather than relying exclusively on clergy, lay people should also reach out to their friends and acquaintances who are in need.

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Chayei Sarah 5768-2007

"O Captain, My Captain"

Abraham passes away at age 175. His passing and his burial are described in only four verses. Yet there is much to be gleaned from the nuances of the text. The Midrash and the sages derive many powerful lessons from this brief biblical passage.

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Emor 5762-2002

"Death and the Kohanim--the Children of Aaron"

In parashat Emor we learn that a Kohain is only allowed to contaminate himself on the occasion of the death of one of his seven closest relatives. Rabbi Saul Berman maintains that the ancient priests, who acted as clergy, were not permitted to be involved with the dead so they would not be in a position to exploit their vulnerable constituents at the time of bereavement. It may also be a way of encouraging lay people to reach out to their friends and acquaintances at the time of death, rather than relying exclusively on clergy.

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Chayei Sara 5762-2001

"Raising Jewish Children In A Challenging Environment"

Abraham had eight children: Isaac, Ishmael and his six children with Keturah. Only Isaac and Ishmael are reported to have attended Abraham's burial, and only Isaac is expected to continue the spiritual legacy of Abraham. Nevertheless, the Zohar Chadash notes that even the six children of Keturah are called Abraham's children, attesting to the fact that they carried the spark of Abraham in their souls, however much it may be hidden. There are many lessons that we may learn from Abraham and his child-rearing techniques.

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