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Step by Step

By: Esti Sacher

During Sefer Vayikra, we are taken on a spiritual journey. We start with the assembling of the Mishkan and the Korbanot that are given within this sacred place.

We then are surprised to learn that the Mishkan affects us as a people not only within the Mishkan but outside as well, and shapes our entire Jewish life.

We are presented with the concepts of Tuma’a and Tahara - which affect our eating, sleeping relationships and actions.  

In last week's Parsha, Kedoshim, we are presented with the next step – not only physical purity but spiritual sanctity as well. The Torah tell us "קדשים תהיו"   - you should be holy (sanctified) - a commandment that envelopes our everyday life and actions.

There is a significant difference betweenטהרה , purity, and קדושה, holiness or sanctity.

A baby is born completely pure, but at the same time he is not yet sacred -קדוש .

The default human status isחולין , a mortal being, pure of sin but not yet holy. Purity is achieved by lack of sin whereas sanctity is achieved by effort and hard work. And one must strive to achieve sanctity.

This week’s Parsha calls upon us not only to sanctify ourselves but to sanctify time as well. The parsha presents the Jewish holidays. Some of these have already appeared in the Torah and some are mentioned for the first time in Parashat Emor.

What is the connection between these festivals and Sefer Vayikra?

The Torah teaches us that our holidays do not only represent our history as a nation, but they also have another aspect, a unique concept of holy times. Therefore, the term used for the chagim is מקרא קודש, a holy time.

Sanctifying the time is a deeper concept than the historical memory or the offering given in the Mishkan and later in the Beit Mikdash. The day itself hasקדושה , kedusha, within it.

This concept is mentioned on Yom Kippur - even if someone did not change his ways and do teshuva,עיצומו של יום מכפר , the essence of the day itself, atones our sins.

Shabbat, Chagim and every Jewish day and holiday have a spiritual power that comes with the time, beyond the Mitzvot of the day.

Parashat Emor teaches us about קדושת הזמן, the holiness of time.

From the holiness of the Mishkan - the structure - to the holiness of our actions, our bodies and the day itself, Sefer Vayikra teaches us step by step how to live a life of true קדושה , in every aspect of our lives.

שבת שלום!


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