This weeks Parsha is Parshas Emor. The Parsha begins with the laws of a Cohen. A Cohen, due to his elevated status as the priest of Hashem, may not defile himself to a dead body, unless it is an immediate relative. He may also not marry certain women. We as Israelites have a commandment to sanctify him, including giving him to eat first, giving him the first aliyah,Ö One could perhaps feel some jealousy or resentment. Why is it that someone else is a Cohen and not me? Why am I not allowed wanted to become a Cohen? Is that fair? Shouldnít I be allowed the opportunity to be a Cohen?
In truth, the same question could be asked regarding being the king. Why is it that I canít be the King if I am not a descendent of King David? Why donít I also have a chance to become the King?
I once saw an article reprinted from the magazine Rolling Stones. A young man had become observant and went to Israel to study in a Yeshiva. Her brother came to visit him in Israel, and discovered, to her surprise, that a lot of what her brother was studying made sense. However, the issue of the role of women in traditional Judaism bothered her a lot. Why is it that a lady couldnít be the Chazan and lead the services? Why is it that a lady didnít count for a minyan? Why donít women put on tefillin? What she wrote in the article was quite honest and simple. Let us analyze, what is the source of these questions? Are they coming from a deeper desire for G-d to be served better? Or are they coming from my desire to be in a position of ďpowerĒ? Is the source of these issues the burning desire to have Hashem served in the best way possible? Or is it from my ego and my desire to be second to none?
Well, she wrote, letís think about it. If my frustrations and questions are coming from my concern that Hashem be served best, then my concerns are really a mistake. In honesty, I could just forget about them all. Hashem doesnít need me to take care of Him. He knows what is the best way for Him to be served.
If my concerns arenít based on the will of Hashem, then they are self centered. They are because I want to be more important. That, in truth, is based on ego. If I want to live a life of serving Hashem, then I must serve Hashem in the way that He dictates for me to do so. If it is as a common person, not fit to be a king, so be it. If it is as a woman, not a man, so be it. And if they are as an Israelite, not a Cohen, so be it. As long as our focus is to serve Hashem, then what we do or donít do is immaterial.