This week’s Torah portion is Emor, or Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23. It details purity and the priesthood including whose funeral a priest can attend, who can marry a priest, bodily blemishes and temple services, and under what circumstances daughters of priests can still eat temple food. Emor also discusses the treatment of animals. A baby animal must be 7 days old before it can be sacrificed and cannot be killed the same day as its mother. In addition, the parshah describes the holiday calendar, including the counting of the Omer, how to harvest fields, and what type of oil should be used in the Temple’s Menorah. Finally, it outlines punishments for various crimes including blasphemy and murder.
To say that there is a lot there would be an understatement. In fact, a good question about this parshah is where does one begin? An obvious place would be the mention of the named woman, Shelomit bat Dibri of the tribe of Dan, almost at the end of the parshah. First, it is remarkable that a woman has been named and more so that her name has been remembered as significant. It begs the question of who was she? Why remember her name? Why mention her at all? The discussion about her son’s crimes could easily not have needed any mention of her name! So why is it there? Continue reading “Ruminations on Emor by Ivy Helman”