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Devar Torah - Emor

Friday, 6 May, 2011 - 12:22 am

In this week’s parsha Emor, the word ‘emor-to speak’ is repeated twice ‘emor v’amarta’. Rashi asks what the purpose of the repetition is for and answers that it is to warn gedolim-adults regarding ketanim-minors. There are two other places in the Torah where this same warning to gedolim-adults regarding ketanim-minors appears. It appears in reference to sheratzim-insects, and also in reference to dam-blood. In general adults, have a responsibility to guide and educate minors. This is also true for anyone, even a student, who sees a fellow student who needs help and has not yet received it.

Someone might however think that there are limits to his responsibility. He may think that if an individual wants to learn the Torah than I can help. If however he’s not interested, or worse yet he would go against the Torah just for spite, that person I have no obligation for whatsoever. For this individual, the Torah makes a special warning by insects. Insects do not taste good. The only reason a person would eat them is for spite. And even for insects the Torah warns gedolim-adults regarding ketanim-minors; even him you must help!

One might also feel that his responsibilities are limited for a person who is already very set in his ways and preoccupied with worldly affairs and its culture. For this person the Torah makes a special warning by blood for gedolim-adults regarding ketanim-minors and adds “rak chazak- be strong!” This is because at that time it was common to drink animal blood. For this the Torah added “rak chazak- be strong!” This is because it requires the person to change his nature. Even this person you must help!

Still yet there may be someone who is entirely rooted in his intellect and has no appreciation for those matters that go beyond the intellect. He does not feel the special calling, the unique service of Yiddishkeit and being a Jew. If it were a matter of teaching and learning concepts and idea’s that would be one thing. But to teach something beyond intellect, rooted in belief in the Aibishter and that Klal Yisroel is special to someone who does not yet feel that way is beyond his ability to teach and he might feel exempt.  For this person the Torah makes a special warning for gedolim-adults regarding ketanim-minors by Kohnim not coming in contact with tumah. Tumah is a completely spiritual idea and it is taught regarding Kohamin, those with a special calling, a unique service for Hashem. Every Jew has the some aspect of the power of Kohanim as it says “You shall be for me a nation of Kohanim”. We can make that neshama shine. The word lehazhir means both to warn and to shine. If we do our part Hashem gives us the ability to illuminate even this neshama and allow him to feel his unique service and special calling to serve Hashem in purity.

We all have the adult and minor within us. We have moments of great awareness of Hashem. These are adult moments, as we know from Halacha that the determinant of adulthood is daas- awareness. At those moments we need to prepare ourselves mentally, having in mind to remain with the fortitude of these moments and carry them into times our minor, moments of confusion, worry or busyness.  With this practice we will uphold the warning of the Rabbi’s for gedolim-adults regarding ketanim-minors in our daily lives causing them and our surroundings to shine with the light of Torah and Mitzvos.

(Based on Likutei Sichos v. 2 pages 679-680 and the Sicha from Parshas Behar 5719)

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