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Emor אמור

May 05, 2023
By Aerin Atkins and Quinn Schimel

Emor means “to speak.” In this parsha, Moses is asked by Hashem to teach the laws of holiness to the Kohanim. The Kohanim were the priests of Israel who served in the Mishkan, and later, in the Beit HaMikdash, so they had a very important and holy job. The rabbis teach us that the Kohanim must always be careful to remain good and pure so that they can serve in the Holy Temple. This is an important lesson for all of us, because when you are serving Hashem, you must be on your best behavior all the time.

The second part of this parasha tells us about the special times of the year on the Jewish calendar. First it discusses Shabbat. Hashem created Shabbat because when He was creating the world, he created it in six days and rested on the seventh. Therefore, Hashem instructed Bnai Yisrael to do the same. He told them that they must work very hard for six days and then rest on the seventh day - Shabbat.

Next is Pesach. We are commanded to celebrate Pesach for seven days and during these days, to eat matzah. This holiday reminds us that we were slaves in Egypt and that Hashem took us out of Egypt and led us to the Promised Land. Then Hashem told us to count 49 days from the second day of Pesach and on the 50th day to celebrate the holiday of Shavuot. It is called Shavuot, or “weeks,” because we count 7 weeks from Pesach to Shavuot. On Shavuot, we celebrate the day that Hashem gave us the Torah.

The next holiday is Rosh HaShanah when are commanded to celebrate on the first day of the month of Tishrei. The 10th day of Tishrei is Yom Kippur. On this day we fast and ask for forgiveness for all our bad deeds. On the 15th of Tishrei, we celebrate Sukkot. We sit in the sukkah for seven days and shake the lulav, etrog, hadas and aravah. We do this because we want to feel what B’nai Yisrael felt when they lived in the desert for 40 years.  

This parasha teaches us that it is important for all of us to be on our best behavior and follow the mitzvot, and in this way we can keep a strong relationship with Hashem. I pray in Tefillah every morning and I talk to Hashem when I need advice. I celebrate Jewish holidays and respect and learn the laws of the Torah.

One time in third grade, it was time for Haggigat HaTorah, the ceremony where I would receive my own Chumash; I was so excited! Not only was I excited for the ceremony but I also knew that this would make my connection with Hashem stronger. I also realized that receiving my Chumash would make my Jewish identity even stronger, too. Once I received my Chumash, I immediately started to learn from it and use its lessons to help me. It has taught me to be my best self like Hashem told Bnai Yisrael to do. That makes me feel so proud.

The Chagim, or Jewish holidays, are a great way to show our Jewish identities, spend time with family, and connect with Hashem. In this parasha Hashem tells us about tradition and how you should celebrate these holidays. My favorite holiday is Passover. I love Pesach because I get to see all of my family at once. It is a tradition that I go to my grandparents house and see all of my family. One time a couple years ago I went to my grandparents house for Pesach. I remember sitting at a huge table with my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. When it was time for the Four Questions, everyone turned to me. I started to sing the Ma Nishtana and my family joined in with me. This was a meaningful time to me because I was so happy to be a part of the Jewish People and such an amazing family. In this parasha Hashem told Bnei Yisrael to celebrate every holiday with joy and this is exactly how I feel when my family comes together for Pesach.

This parasha teaches us about the importance of the Jewish holidays. It also teaches us about how important it is to always be the best version of ourselves.

Thank you and Shabbat Shalom!