This week’s Torah portion is Parshat Emor. The portion describes the idea of holiness through man, animal and objects. Although they are spread throughout the portion, they all communicate the same idea: We are all holy beyond knowledge and as soon as we understand our sanctity and act accordingly, we will be able to fulfill the Commandment of God.
Each idea has a specific implication for today, and I would like to give a quick thought about each. Starting with man, this week we hear about the high priest. Not only can he not touch anything impure, but he cannot even enter a place of impurity if he wants to be eligible to bring an offering in the Temple.
The next idea relates to animals, which must be whole with no bruising or any other sort of imperfection.
And the last idea is objects. We learn about numerous holidays, but the most important is Rosh Hashanah, the New Year. We blow the Shofar, whose sounds, like the High Priest and the animal, must be pure, crisp and uninterrupted. While this sounds nice, it appears to have no relevance in our day-to-day life. There’s no Temple and the holiday happens only once a year in many months from now… why state it now?
I would like to suggest that the portion is setting us up with a goal sheet, and every day we have the opportunity to make that goal a reality. The Cohen represents the Temple, and in order for us to get the Temple here sooner, we must not only abstain from engaging in corrupt actions but also watch where we are going and make boundaries.
The animal signifies the way we must treat other people in order to be forgiven for our sins. We must have total care and make sure no one is physically or mentally wounded by our words or actions.
And finally, the Holiday of Rosh Hashanah represents a benchmark that we can hit every year. The Shofar blowing symbolizes the new year. This week’s parsha is about the halfway point in the Torah, and it serves as a reminder to the fact that we must look at ourselves and our actions and give an honest evaluation. The “bell” has not been rung yet and it’s only the seventh inning stretch.
All three symbols emphasizes that we are not perfect, we have time to work on ourselves and should give a full effort. As Steve Jobs used to say, “Quality is much better than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.” The “bell” has not been rung yet and it’s only the seventh inning stretch.
If we can work on our flaws, then we will be able to hit a grand slam, have world peace, tranquility and the new Temple.