Parshat Emor: Understanding goodness as sacredness (II)

“Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, that they are set apart from the sacred things of the children of Israel, and that they profane not My sacred Name; I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 22:2)

We have said that the priesthood represents the awareness of our permanent connection with the Creator. Thus we assimilate that such awareness is the leading conductor destined to direct our discernment, mind, thoughts, feelings, emotions and instincts. In this context we understand that our permanent bonding with God is the awareness that goodness is what makes us sacred.

We also realize that such bonding keeps us constantly aware of what is good and what is not. The “sacred things” of the children of Israel are certainly concrete expressions of good deeds and actions, as the result of living in the permanent awareness of God’s love, from which all kinds of goodness come.

“And they shall not profane the sacred things of the children of Israel, which they set apart for the Lord.” (22:15)

The Torah’s narration seems to tell us that there is a “separation” of Aaron’s sons, the priests, from the children of Israel. Not so, if we see the end result of the interaction of both. The Torah tells us that there Twelve Tribes with different traits, qualities, talents, roles and purposes, and we also know that there are levels of consciousness, and leading ones among them.

It’s clear to us that discernment and reasoning are quite different from feelings, emotions and instincts, and the former have leading and directing roles to conduct the latter. Likewise we understand the priesthood even higher than all, for it represents our awareness of sacredness as the goodness God has in common with us and shares with us.

The verse quoted up above ends by commanding the priests not to desecrate themselves by separating from what they represent with the service for which God chosen them to perform. Being permanently aware of goodness as the sole source, cause and purpose of life is the driving force for us to understand what makes us sacred and united to our Creator.

We indeed have to deal constantly with mundane and profane situations that do not reveal complete goodness, for such is the world where we live. Hence the Torah instructs us to approach such situations and circumstances with the awareness that goodness must prevail, no matter what. Thus we understand the “world of repair” as our Sages teach us, and the way to repair is to turn whatever we face into a positive, constructing, healing, enhancing, productive and fulfilling result.

In this portion of the Torah there are many commandments directed specifically to the priests, all related to the sacredness they represent and are instructed to perform for the benefit of the children of Israel, which is maintaining their sacredness as the foundation of our relationship with God.

Again, sacredness is not and abstract, spiritual or divine quality, but simply the goodness we are supposed to be, have and manifest in a world where we mainly interact act with ego’s materialistic fantasies and illusions with the negative traits and trends derived from them.

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 Zefat.
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