This week’s Parsha is Emor: “Speak”. The first part of the Parsha speaks of the many laws pertaining to the Kohenim (Priest) and the Kohen Gadol (High Priest). The second part of Emor talks about the “Appointed holy days” AKA: Our holidays.
It seems that complex laws and customs are a theme in Judaism. In this particular Parsha we learn the times of the year, what sacrifices go with what holiday, what time of day, when to work, when not to work, when to eat and when to fast. All and all it is very detailed and– Let’s face it– Odd.
As I said before, complexities seem to be a reoccurring theme. We wear strange, round hats, wash our hands with weird, two handled cups and have strings hanging out from under our shirts. We are a nation “Set Apart”.
The bottom line question is: Why?
Our laws and customs are the glue that binds us together. They keep us unified even in our dispersion. Whereas many cultures have been swallowed up—Assimilated by their surroundings. Our “odd Traditions” have kept us, the Jewish people, unified and “Set Apart”. No matter where you go, all over the world, wherever the Jewish People are we are joined together. Although we may speak different languages, we might dress differently and for all intents and purposes BE different at first glance, we all share the “Yiddish Neshama”: The Jewish Soul. It is our traditions, those funny little things we do, that sustain and keep our unified soul alive and thriving.
So next time you are getting your Tefillen all tied up in knots or falling asleep at the Passover Seder, instead of thinking of them as complex and confusing, take a simpler look at it: By continuing the traditions of our forefathers we are immortalizing our people and keeping our faith— Our heritage, alive from Generation to Generation.
This week’s d’var written by Ian Cauthen.