Drash Cards for Emor (5777)
by Marc Mangel
- We all ‘know’ that a Cohen is not supposed to come near the dead and we read why today (Ch 21, v 1-15).
- Here’s how the Rebbe’s chumash adds Rashi interpolation to v 11 (read along in your Chumash): “He must not come into any roofed structure in which any dead bodies are present – for doing so renders one ritually defiled – not defile himself on account of a corpse in another other way. He must not ritually defile himself for any close relative, even his father or his mother. He may, however, defile himself in order to bury a corpse he happens upon in a deserted area if there is no one else to tend to it”
- Now, about this interpolation: “He may, however, defile himself in order to bury a corpse he happens upon in a deserted area if there is no one else to tend to it”; I am sure you are thinking “Ha! That will never happen”. So why do chazal discuss it – what is there to be learned?
- The Rebbe says that two things are to be learned. First, that taking care of our fellow Jews’ crucial needs takes precedence over tending to our own spiritual tasks.
- Second, when we encounter people who may be considered spiritually dead or weakened – ie they do not pay attention to the spiritual side of life, we should seize the opportunity to assist them find a way to make their spiritual side come alive.
- Later in Ch 23, we have a listing of the Moedim – the appointed days for our connection with God. In order comes Shabbat, Pesach, Shavuout, Rosh Ha Shannah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot.
- And what is smack-dab in the middle of this listing,(v 22): “when you reap the harvest of your land, you must not fully reap the last corner of your field during your harvesting, nor may you gather up the gleanings of your harvest; you must leave these for the poor person and for the convert. I am God, your God”. Why is this here?
- Rashi, answer this question says that it is to teach us that if someone leaves gifts for the poor as he is commanded to do, it is regarded as if he had built the Temple and brought offerings to it.
- Moshe Feinstein went on and said “It follows that if a person gave charity properly, then as far as that person is concerned, he has done his part to bring redemption; if the majority of Israel did this, Masiach would come.” Wouldn’t that be great!