This week’s parsha finds us in Leviticus 21:1- 24:23 and in Ezekiel 44:15-31. Emor means “speak” and don’t worry, after this we just have 2 more parshot from Leviticus. It is called “speak” because this parsha is a series of statements that God is giving to Moses and saying “speak ______ to Aaron and his sons.” These statements have to do with the priesthood being holy before the Lord and conducting themselves in all of their actions with holiness. He continues by giving the feast and festival days and instructions for the times the community of Israel is supposed to come together to worship Him. In chapter 24 there is a story about a man who is guilty of blasphemy and the subsequent punishment. This section continues with a list of other crimes and their just punishments. In the midst of these very specific rules and proscriptions we find God explaining what they are for. In Leviticus 22:31-33 he says, “Keep my commands and follow them. I am the Lord. Do not profane my holy name, for I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites. I am the Lord, who made you holy and who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord.”
Keep that verse in mind as we transition briefly to the Haftarah portion in Ezekiel. The Ezekiel portion is also dealing with rules concerning the priests. Ezekiel 44:28 says, “‘I am to be the only inheritance the priests have. You are to give them no possession in Israel; I will be their possession.” The Levites/priests were to receive no land inheritance among the other tribes, but rather the tabernacle /Temple and service to God were to be their inheritance.
As we’ve mentioned in past weeks, these weeks of parshot in Leviticus can be difficult to read through, but the principles in them are important and meaningful. Why was it so important that the priests served God faithfully and honored him in everything they did? As representatives before the people it was their duty and privilege to show the people what the character of God was like. God is holy. His name must be treated with respect. The things he has made and cares for must be treated with respect. People are valuable because they are made in the image of their Creator and must be treated well. In Leviticus 22 God calls himself the Lord, who makes you holy. We are able to have relationship with God because he makes us holy and acceptable to be in his presence. For the priests whose privilege it was to minister before God on behalf of the people, there was no better reward or inheritance.
Because of what Yeshua has done for us in his completed sacrifice for us on the cross we are made presentable before God. It is not our sin that defines us, but the holiness/sanctification given by Yeshua. The Ezekiel portion reminds me of 1 Peter 1:3-5,”Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” The priests had a special inheritance and because of what Yeshua has done on our behalf we do too. We get to share in his inheritance.
We hope that these words will be an encouragement to you this week. God’s laws are so that we might learn of his holiness, that we might accept the offer of holiness through Yeshua, and that we might find God as our inheritance.
Shabbat Shalom Camp Gilgal,