Emor 2006

This week we read Parshas Emor, the beginning of which details to us all the laws of the kehuna – of the priesthood. In the first verse of the Parsha, the Torah seems to use a double phrase. “Emor el Hakohanim… Vamarta alayhem – say to the priests, and say to them”. Why does the Torah have to tell us twice the message to say the law to the priests? The sages tell us that the second time that the Torah tells us to say the laws, it doesn’t refer to the instructions for the adults. Rather, it refers to the instructions to the adults regarding the minors. Rav Moshe Feinstien explains that in truth, both times that the Torah instructs us it is telling the adults how to instruct the children. The Torah is teaching us that there are two different ways that a parent can teach a child to keep the Torah. On the one hand, a parent can try to inspire their son or daughter by describing to them all the hard times that they kept a mitzvah, a commandment, even through tremendous difficulties. Certainly it is possible that a child will be inspired to follow in their father or mother’s footsteps. However, there is also a great danger in this approach. A child may feel that he or she is not on the level to make such great sacrifices to observe the mitzvohs. With that in mind, they may feel that this way of life is just “not for me”. On the other hand, a much more powerful method is to infuse in our children a positive feeling for the commandments. If a child feels that the mitzvohs, the commandments are the most precious thing in life, and are the most important thing we can ever attain, they will develop a positive outlook and attitude towards them. This is the meaning of the two “sayings”. On the one hand we tell of the obligation that we have. On the other hand we build up the beauty and love of the mitzvos, of the commandments, so that a positive feeling will be developed for observing the mitzvohs.