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Table Talk Emor III Print E-mail

Table TalkMeriting the Kehuna: Reb Leibele Charif is bothered by the seeming repetition, “Say to the Kohanim the sons of Aaron,” were not all the Kohanim the sons of Aharon haKohen? He explains that part of the instruction was for Aharon to teach his children that they must merit their Kehuna. The Chozeh of Lublin elaborates and says that the Kohanim must emulate Aaron’s ways, “love peace and chase peace,” and truly be Sons of Aaron. And yet, we do not find that we require such elevated behavior from a Kohen. They are Kohanim by virtue of birth and not behavior. Why do we not demand higher qualifications? Can you find a Mitzvah in this Parsha that addresses our responsibility to make sure that the Kohanim merit their position? Why is it our responsibility and not theirs?


Distracted from the Children

“Say to the Kohanim, and say to them (Vayikra 21:1) Rashi asks why the double, “Say”? He answers, “to instruct the adults over their children,” in other words, “say to the Kohanim that they should say to their children.” The Chatam Sofer points out that much of this paragraph deals with the laws of mourning. Adults often are so caught up in mourning and making arrangements for burial and Shivah, that they forget to pay attention to their children, who may have extra need for solace. Therefore, the verse tells us, Have the adults speak to the children. The Chatam Sofer’s insight has more than its practical wisdom. He is addressing another them of the Parsha, which is the proper balance between life and death. Review the laws of how and for whom a Kohen may mourn, and see how these laws practically address this issue.

A Parent’s Influence

“If the daughter of a man who is a Kohen will be desecrated through adultery, she desecrates her father (Vayikra 21:9).” Why does the verse add, “a man who is a Kohen,” rather than simply say, “the daughter of a Kohen”?  Is the verse hinting to the natural effects of a Kohen who is so focused on being a Kohen who forgets to also focus on being a “man,” a father who is actively involved in his daughter’s life? Is it also possible to read this verse as, “She intended to desecrate her father”?

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