The Kohein

Parshat Emor is filled with over sixty out of the 613 Mitzvot. A big focus of the Parsha are the laws that are unique to Kohanim. They are to keep themselves in a holier state than the rest of the population.

One of the laws of the Kohanim comes from the word וקידשתו. It is a positive Mitzva to sanctify the Kohein. We do this by calling him up first to the Torah, he is asked to lead the benching, and he is offered food first at a meal. We are really supposed to be careful not to ask a Kohein to provide services for us.

In the Beit Hamikdash, a Kohein was not permitted to serve if he had a מום, a physical blemish. The Rambam lists a possible 140 blemishes that would prevent a Kohein from doing the Avoda. The Temple needed to be very elegant and holy at the same time. A physical blemish could be a distraction to the sanctity of the moment.

Although a Kohein with a מום could not serve, he could still eat the parts of sacrifices allotted to the Kohanim. He was also able to enjoy the twenty-four gifts given by the Torah to the Kohein.

It was and is a great honor to be a Kohein. Probably the most special aspect of the Kehuna, is the ability to bless. The Rabbis say that the Shechina, Divine Presence, passes through the fingers of the Kohein, when he blesses the people each day. May you all be blessed with a Shabbat Shalom!

Yesterday was 30 with ספירת העומר