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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Vayiqra: Parashat Emor: Qadosh

Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi

In perek 21 pasuk 8 in parashat Emor, we find a very interesting description of how one must relate towards Kohanim.

"Regard them as holy, because they offer up the food of your God- Consider them holy, because I the Lord am holy, I who make you holy."

The pasuk tells us how we should regard the Kohanim as holy.

Let us ask:
1. Is it not obvious that the people serving Hashem in the Bet Hamiqdash would be holy? Why did the Torah need to even tell us this message?
2. "Regard them as holy" and "Consider them holy". Why is this pasuk repetitive?

In finding answers to these questions we may explore that our Rabbis tell us. First, the Torah was written in a manner that people understand. Human nature is the foremost concept that is understood by Hashem (kivyachol), the transcriber of the Torah. Bnei Yisrael supported the Kohanim through the various mandatory "gifts" they had to give the Kohanim during the course of the year. It is human nature to feel higher or more important than someone you support. The Torah understands this human nature and therefore is careful to give us warning to never belittle our respect or awe for the Kohanim and their work, even though we support them.

In saying that we should regard the Kohanim as holy the Torah seems to be repetitive, but really the Torah is giving us tow different reasons to regard the Kohanim as holy-
A. They are holy because they serve Hashem (the "food" of God)
B. They are holy because they influence the nation through the Torah wisdom and knowledge they acquire.

It is important to never play an angle in life as a "supporter" and therefore consider yourself more important than the ones you are supporting. After all, if it would not be for your hard efforts where would those you are supporting end up?

Instead one should be humble to understand that the "support" that he/she provides is part of a delicate balance. A spouse supports the family and in return is given to respect the balance- one supports one's family and is given in return a warm home, children, and more. A philanthropist helps support young studying Rabbis, and in return is blessed with a share in their learning and is responsible for building up the Zechout of Klal Yisrael in the heavenly courts.
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