WWOT – Weekly Words of Torah: Parashat Emor

To inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women
By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League For Conservative Judaism

Our Torah reading this week, Parashat Emor, is an elaboration on the second name of the book of Leviticus, Torat Kohanim, the Priestly Manual, for, in this Torah portion, God tells Moses to “speak,” emor, the laws of holiness to the priests. The portion begins with a detailed description of the laws of holiness as they pertain to the priests and to the offerings of sacrifices.

The priests had a higher status than the other Israelites because of their special tasks. Basically, these laws separated the priests from the rest of society in Israel. The High Priest was further set apart from the regular priests. In five respects, he was to be greater and better in stature, strength, wealth, intelligence, and appearance.

We no longer have a High Priest, and now live in an egalitarian society. In my humble opinion, all people should be treated equally, no matter their title or status in life, society, or whether they are in an organization. Some people may have pursued higher degrees of education than other people, however, that does not mean that we should treat a custodian lesser than we treat a doctor with several degrees after his name.

How does this transfer to our Sisterhoods? We can and should all be leaders. Every member of our Sisterhood community should be treated respectfully – as I am sure we already do. We can all model this behavior for the next generation, so that the children in our community treat each other that way, as well. Let us speak and act to each other, as if each person were the High Priest, doing the work of God.

Weekly Words of Torah is a brief paragraph prepared weekly by our new Executive Director, Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, presented in our “This Week @ Women’s League.” WWOT will provide meaningful thoughts related to the Weekly Torah Portion, an event on the Calendar, a Prayer, or something of Jewish interest, to inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women. If you have any particular interest in future topics, or want to send Rabbi Wolintz-Fields an email, you can contact her at ewolintz-fields@wlcj.org. Read previous Weekly Words of Torah here.

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