These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem


Posted on May 5, 2011 by Barer

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I would hesitantly posit, without verification, that this week’s parsha is the parsha that is read from the most in a Jewish yearly cycle, due to the inclusion of a summary of the major Jewish holidays in the middle.  However, upon reading through the parsha closely, what struck me was exactly how little the holidays stood out as a feature of this parsha.  Instead, the focus is on death, and the priestly obligations to refrain from becoming tameh as a result of any but the closest relative’s death, and then only if no one else can perform the necessary rites.  After that, the parsha turns to talk of ‘blemishes’ of any kind, being explicit – in a way that sounds jarring to our modern sensibilities – that anyone with a ‘blemish’ is not fit to assume the public office of the priesthood.

Death, and blemishes
In any public figure
Not before Your God