web analytics
December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Safeguarding Our Heritage

Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

The articles in this column are transcriptions and adaptations of shiurim by Rav Joseph Ber Soloveitchik, zt”l. The Rav’s unique perspective on Chumash permeated many of the shiurim and lectures he presented at various venues over a 40 plus year period. His words add an important perspective that makes the Chumash in particular, and our tradition in general, vibrant and relevant to our generation. This article is based on a 1955 shiur entitled the “Role of the Rabbi.”

In a previous article we discussed the composition of Sefer Vayikra and the foundational role Toras Kohanim plays within Judaism in presenting the concept of korbanos. We noted that much of Sefer Vayikra, after the first two and a half parshiot describes the moral and ethical behavior that define the Jew and that are the pre-requisites to bringing korbanos.

Offering korbanos is not a substitute to living a proper life. Hashem does not seek sacrifices from one who offers a korban without repenting and adopting a moral path. Much of Sefer Vayikra presents the kohen as a principal actor in the performance and fulfillment of the commandments that define such a moral and ethical existence. To understand toras kohanim, we must understand the role of the kohen in Jewish life.

Malachi (2:7) says, “For the lips of the priest shall guard knowledge and the people will seek to hear Torah from his lips, for he is a messenger of the Lord of Hosts.” The role of the kohen is not simply to perform the service in the Temple. Rather, it is to teach Torah to Bnei Yisrael and to act as the judges and teachers throughout the land. The Jewish people have survived many tragedies throughout history because of our adherence to the Torah. The Torah is the glue that has held us together. Parshas Emor focuses on the obligations of the people to honor the kohen and how the kohen should conduct himself, while Sefer Vayikra in general focuses on the responsibilities of the Priesthood to the Jewish People, whether in offering sacrifices on their behalf or proclaiming or removing the title of metzorah or other forms of impurity. It is not a coincidence that the laws pertaining to proscribed marriages and relationships are included in Sefer Vayikra, as it is the role and responsibility of the kohen to ensure that the people understand and obey these laws. They can only understand them if they are taught the details and the importance of these laws, a role assigned to the kohanim.

The haftorah for Parshas Emor is taken from Sefer Yechezkel, who describes the future role of the kohen. In addition to describing the familial relationships and the required garments to be worn by the priests, Yechezkel details their role and responsibility (46:23), “And they will instruct my nation to distinguish between the holy and the mundane, between the impure and the pure they will inform them. And they will stand to judge the various disputes between litigants, and they will play a central role in the sanctification and keeping of the festivals and the various Sabbaths (Shabsosy).”

As Yechezkel notes, Torah Education is the critical requirement for the Jewish people. All those who assume the responsibility of leadership must make the teaching of Torah on the appropriate level the focal point of their mission. Suggesting that the beauty of the Sabbath can be experienced by covering the Sabbath table with a “snow white” table cloth will not influence anyone in a society that has been trained to think critically and deeply about difficult technical and meta-physical issues. In the battle to influence our unaffiliated or under-affiliated brethren as to the true beauty of Judaism, we must teach them Torah, show them the deeper meaning and intent behind the commandments so that they can realize the intellectual beauty inherent in Judaism. Rabbis and those that assume the Priestly mantle of education and leadership, must be prepared to study Chumash and Rashi, or Midrash with their congregants, and read between the lines to present the hidden meaning of the verses. These critical subjects are often overlooked and can be more difficult than studying a complicated gloss written by a rishon or acharon. However, their impact on those that are exposed to these subjects can be significant.

About the Author: Rabbi Joshua Rapps attended the Rav's shiur at RIETS from 1977 through 1981 and is a musmach of Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan. He and his wife Tzipporah live in Edison, N.J. Rabbi Rapps can be contacted at ravtorah1@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Safeguarding Our Heritage”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
funny rocket joke
Israel Retaliates: Hits Terror Tunnel Cement Factory
Latest Judaism Stories
Parsha-Perspective-Logo-NEW

To many of our brethren Chanukah has lost its meaning.

Parsha-Perspective-Logo-NEW

This ability to remain calm under pressure and continue to see the situation clearly is a hallmark of Yehuda’s leadership.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

It would have been understandable for these great warriors to become dispirited.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

The travail of Yosef was undoubtedly the greatest trauma of Yaakov’s life, which certainly knew its share of hardships.

Yosef, in interpreting the first set of dreams, performed in a manner that was clearly miraculous to all.

Chazal teach us that we need to be “sur may’rah v’asei tov,”avoid bad and do good.

When we celebrate the completion of learning a section of Torah, we recite the Hadran.

Fetal Immersion?
‘The Fetus Is A Limb Of Its Mother’
(Yevamos 78a)

Yosef proves he is a true leader; He is continually and fully engaged in the task of running Egypt

When the inability cannot be clearly attributed to either spouse, the halacha is the subject of debate among the Rishonim.

Those who reject our beliefs know in their souls Jewish power stems from our faith and our prayers.

He stepped outside, and, to his dismay, the menorah was missing. It had been stolen.

Though we Jews have deep obligations to all people our obligation to our fellow Jew is unique.

In a way that decision was the first in a series of miracles with which Hashem blessed us.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Exploring the connection between Pharaoh’s dreams and the story of Joseph being sold into slavery.

More Articles from Rabbi Joshua Rapps
Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

If Chanukah was simply a commemoration of the miracle of the oil and Menorah, we would be hard pressed to see the connection between the reading from Parshas Nesiim and Chanukah.

Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

Jacob was well aware that the brothers hated Joseph, yet he sent him to them anyway.

He knew that the way to potentially mollify Esau was to insist that he accept his gift, which he finally did.

The Jew, from the perspective of the name Yaakov, is dependent on the non-Jewish world. This can be seen today in the relationship between the State of Israel and the United States

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

This complementary nature and unified destiny is the basis of the Covenantal Community.

If I appoint someone as Shatz, he is supposed to pray for me, as if I was praying.

Bris Bein Habesarim affirmed that Hashem gave the land to Avraham’s children. It does not specify for how long. It did not guarantee the Jewish people eternal ownership of the land

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/safeguarding-our-heritage/2014/05/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: