#TorahTuesday Chumash Mesoras HaRav - Sefer Vayikra
אֱמֹר - Speak
While Parashas Kedoshim concludes with prohibited sexual relations, Parashas Emor begins with a discussion of the laws of the kohanim: whom a kohen is permitted to marry, the blemishes that disqualify a kohen from serving in the Temple, and the laws of impurity which pertain specifically to the kohen. What is the basis for the transition of Parashas Kedoshim to Parashas Emor?
Many of the prohibitions of forbidden relationships (arayos) were not imposed exclusively on Israel; even non-Jews are prohibited in many of these same areas by the Noahide laws. At the time of the Flood, the earth rebelled against all of mankind as a result of the abrogation of these laws. Sexual immorality has a metaphysical consequence that other sins lack: the acts themselves defile the land (18:27). If acts of impurity are committed, and the land is polluted, then there is only one remedy—to purify and purge the land.
The Torah begins in Genesis with the consequences of violating the universal principles of sexual morality. God explained to the Israelites that their predecessors were ejected from the land for transgressing these laws. However, Israel was given many more restrictions in this domain. The additional prohibitions imposed upon Klal Yisrael were instituted to reflect the unique sanctity that they possessed—His nation must maintain a higher standard than required of mankind as a whole. The details of this heightened standard are enumerated in Acharei Mos, and the punishments for its violation are listed in Kedoshim.
Now, in Emor, God imparted another message—that even within Klal Yisrael, there is a group whose restrictions in this regard are more stringent. There are prohibitions that apply to all Jews, and those which affect only one sector of the Jewish community. A divorcee, a chalalah or a zonah are allowed to marry an Israelite, yet are prohibited to the kohen.
The pioneering Chumash Mesoras HaRav series contains the full text of Chumash together with the exceptional commentary of the Rav, Rabbi Joseph B. #Soloveitchik. Chumash Mesoras HaRav adapts the Rav’s writings and teachings into a commentary that reflects his intellectual depth, explanatory creativity, and timeless insight.
Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, the “Rav,” was the towering rabbinic thinker of the 20th century. As part of the wellspring of his Torah knowledge, he taught, wrote, and lectured extensively on Chumash with profound insight and brilliant creativity. The Rav, however, never wrote a systematic comme...