Ariel Ben Avraham
Ariel Ben Avraham

Parshat Emor: The total awareness of God’s love

We have said that each of the books of the Torah summarizes a particular aspect of the bond between God and Israel. Genesis encompasses the origin of Israel, Exodus the identity of Israel, Leviticus the connection of Israel with God, Numbers the relationship between Israel and God, and Deuteronomy the destiny of Israel.

Leviticus delineates our connection with the Creator as a sacred-to-sacred relationship, which is defined essentially by a precondition of purity shared by the two parts. Thus we assimilate purity as an inherent quality of goodness as our common bond with God. As long as we live by, with and for goodness, we live in a constant state of cleanliness as the opposite of the sullied traits and trends of ego’s fantasies and illusions.

“They shall be holy to their God, and they shall not desecrate their God’s Name, for they offer up the fire offerings of the Lord, the food offering of their God, so they shall be holy.” (Leviticus 21:6)

These offerings certainly are the goodness God wants us to be, to have and to manifest in our discernment, mind, thoughts, emotions, feelings, passion and instinct. He created us with His attributes of gracefulness, compassion, abundant loving kindness and truth, justice and righteousness as the ways God defines goodness for us. As we have mentioned frequently in regards to the portions of Leviticus, the Jewish priesthood represents the total awareness of our connection with God’s love.

“You shall sanctify him [the priest], for he offers up the food offering of your God. He shall be holy to you, for I, the Lord who sanctifies you, am holy.” (21:8)

Once again God commands us to keep this awareness sacred, for on it is based our permanent bonding with His ways and attributes. The haftarah for parshat Emor emphasizes the commandments related to the priesthood, as the culmination of our relationship with God. Indeed this sacred awareness is the axis in the full-circled totality of all levels and dimensions of our existence, and thus we realize that Leviticus is the book in the center of the Pentateuch.

“They [the priests] shall enter My Sanctuary, and they shall approach My Table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge.” (Ezekiel 44:16)

Hence we learn that our connection with God serves a purpose, which is to fulfill His will for the material world. This connection establishes guidelines and ground rules for all aspects and expressions of human consciousness, which are defined and nurtured by the goodness of love’s ways and attributes.

Again the Creator reminds us that the qualities, means, ways and attributes of goodness do not cohabit with the negative traits and trends of ego’s materialistic mirages. Thus we come to the total awareness of the distinct abilities God has endowed our discernment in order for us to realize the sacredness of goodness as our connection with Him.

“And My people shall they teach the difference between holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the impure and the pure.” (44:23)

Thus we also realize that the reason and purpose of goodness is to make it prevail in every way we approach life and our relation with each other in this world.

“And in dispute they shall stand in judgment, according to My ordinances shall they decide it; and My teachings and My statutes shall they keep in all My appointed times, and My Sabbaths they shall sanctify.” (44:24)

In these multidimensional expressions of Jewish life we learn that the total awareness of our connection with God as our priesthood is indeed the greatest possession He has given us, for in it we dwell permanently with Him.

“It shall be to them for an inheritance, [for] I am their inheritance. You shall give them no possession in Israel, [for] I am their possession.” (44:28)

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Kochav Yaakov.
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