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Parashah 31: Emor (Speak) 21:1–24:23
21 Adonai said to Moshe, “Speak to the cohanim, the sons of Aharon; tell them: ‘No cohen is to make himself unclean for any of his people who dies, 2 except for his close relatives — his mother, father, son, daughter and brother; 3 he may also make himself unclean for his virgin sister who has never married and is therefore dependent on him. 4 He may not make himself unclean, because he is a leader among his people; doing so would profane him. 5 Cohanim are not to make bald spots on their heads, mar the edges of their beards or cut gashes in their flesh. 6 Rather, they are to be holy for their God and not profane the name of their God. For they are the ones who present Adonai with offerings made by fire, the bread of their God; therefore they must be holy.
7 “‘A cohen is not to marry a woman who is a prostitute, who has been profaned or who has been divorced; because he is holy for his God. 8 Rather, you are to set him apart as holy, because he offers the bread of your God; he is to be holy for you, because I, Adonai, who makes you holy, am holy. 9 The daughter of a cohen who profanes herself by prostitution profanes her father; she is to be put to death by fire.
10 “‘The cohen who is ranked highest among his brothers, the one on whose head the anointing oil is poured and who is consecrated to put on the garments, is not to stop grooming his hair, tear his clothes, 11 go in to where any dead body is or make himself unclean, even when his father or mother dies. 12 He may not leave the sanctuary then or profane the sanctuary of his God, because the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is on him; I am Adonai.
13 “‘He is to marry a virgin; 14 he may not marry a widow, divorcee, profaned woman or prostitute; but he must marry a virgin from among his own people 15 and not disqualify his descendants among his people; because I am Adonai, who makes him holy.’”
(ii) 16 Adonai said to Moshe, 17 “Tell Aharon, ‘None of your descendants who has a defect may approach to offer the bread of his God. 18 No one with a defect may approach — no one blind, lame, with a mutilated face or a limb too long, 19 a broken foot or a broken arm, 20 a hunched back, stunted growth, a cataract in his eye, festering or running sores, or damaged testicles — 21 no one descended from Aharon the cohen who has such a defect may approach to present the offerings for Adonai made by fire; he has a defect and is not to approach to offer the bread of his God. 22 He may eat the bread of his God, both the especially holy and the holy; 23 only he is not to go in to the curtain or approach the altar, because he has a defect — so that he will not profane my holy places, because I am Adonai, who makes them holy.’”
24 Moshe said these things to Aharon, his sons and all the people of Isra’el.
22 Adonai said to Moshe, 2 “Tell Aharon and his sons to separate themselves from the holy things of the people of Isra’el which they set apart as holy for me, so that they will not profane my holy name; I am Adonai. 3 Tell them, ‘Any descendant of yours through all your generations who approaches the holy things that the people of Isra’el consecrate to Adonai and is unclean will be cut off from before me; I am Adonai.
4 “‘Any descendant of Aharon with tzara‘at or a discharge is not to eat the holy things until he is clean. Anyone who has touched a person made unclean by a dead body, or who has had a seminal emission, 5 or who has touched a reptile or insect that can make him unclean, or a man who is unclean for any reason and who can transmit to him his uncleanness — 6 the person who touches any of these will be unclean until evening and is not to eat the holy things unless he bathes his body in water. 7 After sunset he will be clean; and afterwards, he may eat the holy things; because they are his food. 8 But he is not to eat anything that dies naturally or is torn to death by wild animals and thereby make himself unclean; I am Adonai. 9 The cohanim must observe this charge of mine; otherwise, if they profane it, they will bear the consequences of their sin for doing so and die in it; I am Adonai, who makes them holy.
10 “‘No one who is not a cohen may eat anything holy, nor may a tenant or employee of a cohen eat anything holy. 11 But if a cohen acquires a slave, either through purchase or through his being born in his household, he may share his food. 12 If the daughter of a cohen is married to a man who is not a cohen, she is not to have a share of the food set aside from the holy things. 13 But if the daughter of a cohen is a widow or divorcee and has no child, and she is sent back to her father’s house as when she was young, she may share in her father’s food; but no one not a cohen is to share in it. 14 If a person eats holy food by mistake, he must add one-fifth to it and give the holy food to the cohen. 15 They are not to profane the holy things of the people of Isra’el that they have set apart for Adonai 16 and thus cause them to bear guilt requiring a guilt offering, by eating their holy things; because I am Adonai, who makes them holy.’”
(iii) 17 Adonai said to Moshe, 18 “Speak to Aharon and his sons and to the entire people of Isra’el; tell them: ‘When anyone, whether a member of the house of Isra’el or a foreigner living in Isra’el, brings his offering, either in connection with a vow or as a voluntary offering, and brings it to Adonai as a burnt offering, 19 in order for you to be accepted, you must bring a male without defect from the cattle, the sheep or the goats. 20 You are not to bring anything with a defect, because it will not be accepted from you. 21 Whoever brings a sacrifice of peace offerings to Adonai in fulfillment of a vow or as a voluntary offering, whether it come from the herd or from the flock, it must be unblemished and without defect in order to be accepted. 22 If it is blind, injured, mutilated, has an abnormal growth or has festering or running sores, you are not to offer it to Adonai or make such an offering by fire on the altar to Adonai. 23 If a bull or lamb has a limb which is too long or short, you may offer it as a voluntary offering; but for a vow it will not be accepted. 24 An animal with bruised, crushed, torn or cut genitals you are not to offer to Adonai. You are not to do these things in your land, 25 and you are not to receive any of these from a foreigner for you to offer as bread for your God, because their deformity is a defect in them — they will not be accepted from you.’”
26 Adonai said to Moshe, 27 “When a bull, sheep or goat is born, it is to stay with its mother for seven days; but from the eighth day on, it may be accepted for an offering made by fire to Adonai. 28 However, no animal is to be slaughtered together with its young on the same day, neither cow nor ewe.
29 “When you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to Adonai, you must do it in a way such that you will be accepted. 30 It must be eaten on the same day it is offered; leave none of it till morning; I am Adonai.
31 “You are to keep my mitzvot and obey them; I am Adonai. 32 You are not to profane my holy name; on the contrary, I am to be regarded as holy among the people of Isra’el; I am Adonai, who makes you holy, 33 who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God; I am Adonai.”
23 (iv) Adonai said to Moshe, 2 “Tell the people of Isra’el: ‘The designated times of Adonai which you are to proclaim as holy convocations are my designated times.
3 “‘Work is to be done on six days; but the seventh day is a Shabbat of complete rest, a holy convocation; you are not to do any kind of work; it is a Shabbat for Adonai, even in your homes.
4 “‘These are the designated times of Adonai, the holy convocations you are to proclaim at their designated times.
5 “‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between sundown and complete darkness, comes Pesach for Adonai. 6 On the fifteenth day of the same month is the festival of matzah; for seven days you are to eat matzah. 7 On the first day you are to have a holy convocation; don’t do any kind of ordinary work. 8 Bring an offering made by fire to Adonai for seven days. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; do not do any kind of ordinary work.’”
9 Adonai said to Moshe, 10 “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘After you enter the land I am giving you and harvest its ripe crops, you are to bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the cohen. 11 He is to wave the sheaf before Adonai, so that you will be accepted; the cohen is to wave it on the day after the Shabbat. 12 On the day that you wave the sheaf, you are to offer a male lamb without defect, in its first year, as a burnt offering for Adonai. 13 Its grain offering is to be one gallon of fine flour mixed with olive oil, an offering made by fire to Adonai as a fragrant aroma; its drink offering is to be of wine, one quart. 14 You are not to eat bread, dried grain or fresh grain until the day you bring the offering for your God; this is a permanent regulation through all your generations, no matter where you live.
15 “‘From the day after the day of rest — that is, from the day you bring the sheaf for waving — you are to count seven full weeks, 16 until the day after the seventh week; you are to count fifty days; and then you are to present a new grain offering to Adonai. 17 You must bring bread from your homes for waving — two loaves made with one gallon of fine flour, baked with leaven — as firstfruits for Adonai. 18 Along with the bread, present seven lambs without defect one year old, one young bull and two rams; these will be a burnt offering for Adonai, with their grain and drink offerings, an offering made by fire as a fragrant aroma for Adonai. 19 Offer one male goat as a sin offering and two male lambs one year old as a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20 The cohen will wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before Adonai, with the two lambs; these will be holy for Adonai for the cohen. 21 On the same day, you are to call a holy convocation; do not do any kind of ordinary work; this is a permanent regulation through all your generations, no matter where you live.
22 “‘When you harvest the ripe crops produced in your land, don’t harvest all the way to the corners of your field, and don’t gather the ears of grain left by the harvesters; leave them for the poor and the foreigner; I am Adonai your God.’”
(v) 23 Adonai said to Moshe, 24 “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘In the seventh month, the first of the month is to be for you a day of complete rest for remembering, a holy convocation announced with blasts on the shofar. 25 Do not do any kind of ordinary work, and bring an offering made by fire to Adonai.’”
26 Adonai said to Moshe, 27 “The tenth day of this seventh month is Yom-Kippur; you are to have a holy convocation, you are to deny yourselves, and you are to bring an offering made by fire to Adonai. 28 You are not to do any kind of work on that day, because it is Yom-Kippur, to make atonement for you before Adonai your God. 29 Anyone who does not deny himself on that day is to be cut off from his people; 30 and anyone who does any kind of work on that day, I will destroy from among his people. 31 You are not to do any kind of work; it is a permanent regulation through all your generations, no matter where you live. 32 It will be for you a Shabbat of complete rest, and you are to deny yourselves; you are to rest on your Shabbat from evening the ninth day of the month until the following evening.”
(vi) 33 Adonai said to Moshe, 34 “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the feast of Sukkot for seven days to Adonai. 35 On the first day there is to be a holy convocation; do not do any kind of ordinary work. 36 For seven days you are to bring an offering made by fire to Adonai; on the eighth day you are to have a holy convocation and bring an offering made by fire to Adonai ; it is a day of public assembly; do not do any kind of ordinary work.
37 “‘These are the designated times of Adonai that you are to proclaim as holy convocations and bring an offering made by fire to Adonai — a burnt offering, a grain offering, a sacrifice and drink offerings, each on its own day — 38 besides the Shabbats of Adonai, your gifts, all your vows and all your voluntary offerings that you give to Adonai.
39 “‘But on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered the produce of the land, you are to observe the festival of Adonai seven days; the first day is to be a complete rest and the eighth day is to be a complete rest. 40 On the first day you are to take choice fruit, palm fronds, thick branches and river-willows, and celebrate in the presence of Adonai your God for seven days. 41 You are to observe it as a feast to Adonai seven days in the year; it is a permanent regulation, generation after generation; keep it in the seventh month. 42 You are to live in sukkot for seven days; every citizen of Isra’el is to live in a sukkah, 43 so that generation after generation of you will know that I made the people of Isra’el live in sukkot when I brought them out of the land of Egypt; I am Adonai your God.’”
44 Thus Moshe announced to the people of Isra’el the designated times of Adonai.
24 (vii) Adonai said to Moshe, 2 “Order the people of Isra’el to bring you pure oil from crushed olives for the light, to keep lamps burning always. 3 Outside the curtain of the testimony in the tent of meeting, Aharon is to arrange for the light to be kept burning always from evening until morning before Adonai ; this is to be a permanent regulation through all your generations. 4 He is always to keep in order the lamps on the pure menorah before Adonai.
5 “You are to take fine flour and use it to bake twelve loaves, one gallon per loaf. 6 Arrange them in two rows, six in a row, on the pure table before Adonai. 7 Put frankincense with each row to be an offering made by fire to Adonai in place of the bread and as a reminder of it. 8 Regularly, every Shabbat, he is to arrange them before Adonai ; they are from the people of Isra’el, as a covenant forever. 9 They will belong to Aharon and his sons; and they are to eat them in a holy place; because for him they are, of the offerings for Adonai made by fire, especially holy. This is a permanent law.”
10 There was a man who was the son of a woman of Isra’el and an Egyptian father. He went out among the people of Isra’el, and this son of a woman of Isra’el had a fight in the camp with a man of Isra’el, 11 in the course of which the son of the woman of Isra’el uttered the Name [Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh] in a curse. So they brought him to Moshe. (His mother’s name was Shlomit the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan.) 12 They put him under guard until Adonai would tell them what to do. 13 Adonai said to Moshe, 14 “Take the man who cursed outside the camp, have everyone who heard him lay their hands on his head, and have the entire community stone him. 15 Then tell the people of Isra’el, ‘Whoever curses his God will bear the consequences of his sin; 16 and whoever blasphemes the name of Adonai must be put to death; the entire community must stone him. The foreigner as well as the citizen is to be put to death if he blasphemes the Name.
17 “‘Anyone who strikes another person and kills him must be put to death. 18 Anyone who strikes an animal and kills it is to make restitution, life for life. 19 If someone injures his neighbor, what he did is to be done to him — 20 break for break, eye for eye, tooth for tooth — whatever injury he has caused the other person is to be rendered to him in return. (Maftir) 21 He who kills an animal is to make restitution, but he who kills another person is to be put to death. 22 You are to apply the same standard of judgment to the foreigner as to the citizen, because I am Adonai your God.”
23 So Moshe spoke to the people of Isra’el, and they took the man who had cursed outside the camp and stoned him to death. Thus the people of Isra’el did as Adonai had ordered Moshe.
Haftarah Emor: Yechezk’el (Ezekiel) 44:15–31
B’rit Hadashah suggested readings for Parashah Emor: Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:38–42; Galatians 3:26–29 [In connection with the feasts, see readings for Parashah 41]