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Emor - Taking Responsibility For Every Jew

In this shiur, delivered in Ba'er Miriam, Rav Burg explains (based on a shiur from Rav Moshe Weinberger shlit"a) the inner nature of a Kohen and how we, as a nation of Kohanim, are responsible for ensuring that every Jew is brought to the Chuppah where we can be in a relationship with Hashem.

Sources quoted below.

Emor - Taking Responsibility For Every Jew



Leviticus 21:1

(1) יהוה said to Moses: Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them: None shall defile himself for any [dead] person among his kin,



ויקרא כ״א:א׳

(א) וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהֹוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה אֱמֹ֥ר אֶל־הַכֹּהֲנִ֖ים בְּנֵ֣י אַהֲרֹ֑ן וְאָמַרְתָּ֣ אֲלֵהֶ֔ם לְנֶ֥פֶשׁ לֹֽא־יִטַּמָּ֖א בְּעַמָּֽיו׃




(ה) לא יטמא בעמיו. בְּעוֹד שֶׁהַמֵּת בְּתוֹךְ עַמָּיו, יָצָא מֵת מִצְוָה (שם):


(5) לא יטמא בעמיו THERE SHALL NONE BE DEFILED BY THE DEAD AMONG HIS PEOPLES — This means, as long as the dead is among his peoples (i. e. so long as there are some of his people — Jews — who can occupy themselves with his burial) thus excluding the case of a מת מצוה (a corpse of a person whose relatives are unknown or which lies in a place where there are no Jews, nor are there any in the near vicinity; cf. Nazir 43b) in which case the priest is allowed to make himself unclean by handling the corpse (Sifra, Emor, Section 1 3).


Question - What is the message of this Rashi for us in our generation?


Vayikra, Chapter 48

רעיא מהימנא פִּקּוּדָא דָּא לְהָבִיא קָרְבָּן עַל סַנְהֶדְּרֵי גְּדוֹלָה שֶׁטָעוּ, תָּנָאִין ואֲמוֹרָאִין ע' סַנְהֶדְּרֵי גְּדוֹלָה הָיוּ, וּמֹשֶׁה עָלַיְיהוּ. וְע' סַנְהֶדְּרֵי קְטַנָּה הֲווֹ, ואַהֲרֹן עָלַיְיהוּ. וּבְגִין דָּא אָמְרוּ מָארֵי מַתְנִיתִין, מֹשֶׁה שׁוּשְׁבִינָא דְּמַלְכָּא הֲוָה, וְדָא תִּפְאֶרֶת, מִתַּמָּן סַנְהֶדְּרֵי גְּדוֹלָה. אַהֲרֹן שׁוּשְׁבִינָא דְּמַטְרוֹנִיתָא, וְדָא מַלְכוּת, הֵ"א זְעֵירָא קָרֵינָן לֵיהּ, כְּגוֹן (בראשית כ״ט:י״ח) אֶעֱבָדְךָ שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים בְּרָחֵל בִּתְּךָ הַקְּטַנָּה. וְעַל שְׁמָהּ אִתְקְרֵי סַנְהֶדְּרֵי קְטַנָּה.


The job of Moshe Rabbeinu is to escort Hashem to the Chuppah. He is the "best man" so to speak of the Chasan. The job of the Kohen is to escort us, the Kallah, to the Chuppah.



Kiddushin 20b:3

The Gemara further asks: But one can say as follows: “He shall be redeemed,” so that he will not be assimilated among the gentiles. But with regard to the matter of his redemption and freedom, let us act strictly with him, as derived from that which Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, said, that one is sold as a slave due to his sins.



קידושין כ׳ ב:ג׳

וְאֵימָא: ״גְּאוּלָּה תִּהְיֶה לוֹ״ – כִּי הֵיכִי דְּלָא לִיטַּמַּע בֵּין הַנׇּכְרִים, הָא לְעִנְיַן פִּדְיוֹן נַחְמִיר עֲלֵיהּ, מִדְּרַבִּי יוֹסֵי בְּרַבִּי חֲנִינָא!



Tosher Rebbe - the job of the Kohen is to ensure that we don't become יִטַּמָּ֖א בְּעַמָּֽיו - mixed up among the nations of the world.






מִכְּדֵי רַב בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל קְרָא, מַאי טַעְמָא חֲתַם וְלָא בָּרֵיךְ? לָאו מִשּׁוּם דְּבָעֵי לְמִיקְרֵי אַחֲרִינָא בָּתְרֵיהּ? לָא, רַב בְּכָהֲנֵי קְרָא. דְּהָא רַב הוּנָא קָרֵי בְּכָהֲנֵי.


The Gemara attempts to clarify the halakha based upon Rav’s conduct. Now, Rav must have read the portion that is designated for an Israelite, as he was neither a priest nor a Levite, and therefore he was the third person to read from the Torah. What, then, is the reason that when he concluded his reading he did not recite a blessing? Was it not because another person was to read after him, and since only the last reader recites a blessing, Rav did not recite a blessing upon completion of his portion? This would indicate that four readers are called to the Torah on public fasts. The Gemara rejects this proof: No, Rav read the first reading, which is generally designated for priests. He was the leading Torah authority of his generation, and one who holds this position is called to read from the Torah even before a priest, as Rav Huna would read the first reading, which is generally designated for priests, and Rav would do the same.


The Tzaddikim are the Kohanim of the generation.



Kiddushin 40a:8

Rather, Rava said: Rav Idi explained the matter to me. The verse states: “Say you of the righteous who is good, that they shall eat the fruit of their actions” (Isaiah 3:10). And this verse is difficult, as is there a righteous person who is good and is there a righteous person who is not good? Rather, this verse should be understood as follows: One who is good both toward Heaven and toward people is a good righteous person; one who is good toward Heaven but bad toward people is a righteous person who is not good.



קידושין מ׳ א:ח׳

אָמַר רָבָא: רַב אִידִי אַסְבְּרַאּ לִי: ״אִמְרוּ צַדִּיק כִּי טוֹב כִּי פְרִי מַעַלְלֵיהֶם יֹאכֵלוּ״ – וְכִי יֵשׁ צַדִּיק טוֹב וְיֵשׁ צַדִּיק שֶׁאֵינוֹ טוֹב? אֶלָּא: טוֹב לַשָּׁמַיִם וְלַבְּרִיּוֹת – זֶהוּ צַדִּיק טוֹב, טוֹב לַשָּׁמַיִם וְרַע לַבְּרִיּוֹת – זֶהוּ צַדִּיק שֶׁאֵינוֹ טוֹב.



Tiferes Shlomo - 

Question - If he is bad towards people, how is he a Tzaddik?

Answer: He is righteous but he lives only for his own service of Hashem and does not work to help others achieve their greatness.


Rav Moshe Weinberger: Those Jews who are still among the nation -  ie. there are people who are telling them that they are wanted among the nation and bringing them back from assimilation - the Kohen is less accountable for them. 

But when a Jew is alone, when he is "Meis Mitzvah" and there are no other Jews to tell him that he is a valued member of the Jewish people - the Kohen must become Tamei in order to take care of his needs.



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