Molly Auerbach - 5/8/2020
Shabbat shalom! This week’s parsha is Emor – not to be confused with Emory ;). Now before getting to any lesson learned from this week’s parsha, I do not think it is any coincidence that this weekend when it was supposed to be senior Shabbat at Hillel, my last Shabbat as Emory Hillel president (yay Jesse and Orly) and my last Shabbat as an Emory student, the parsha is literally called Emor! Just add a “y” and we get all of our favorite place
But besides the fact that this parsha has a pretty great name, what do we learn from it? The first sentence of the parsha begins with, “ויאמר ה׳ אל–משה אמר אל–הכהנים בני אהרון ואמרת…,” which translates to, “Hashem said to Moses: Say to the Kohanim, the sons of Aaron, and tell them…” Now one could ask here, why was Moses told twice to say something to the Kohanim? “אמר… ואמרת,” “Say… and tell them.” One could think that this is a redundancy, but we also know that every single word in the Torah is written intentionally, and there are no extra words. So, if this was an intentional repetition, there must be something to learn from it… it is the Torah after all. J After studying commentary on this verse, I found a few different explanations for the repetition.
The first explanation I found was that it is repeated to emphasize the importance of what G-d is telling Moses to say, and to reinforce it. As we all know, hearing something twice makes it stick in our heads much more than if we had only heard it once. However, it does not only say to repeat it to reinforce, but it goes as far to say that the double expression indicates that it “involves activity that runs counter to the prevalent habits of people.” From my understanding, this means that the first “say” is Hashem telling him what to say, and the second “and tell them” is allowing Moshe to realize that he is asking b’nei yisrael, and the Kohanim specifically, something of them that will be going against their natural instinct – so it may not be an easy commandment to follow, but it is a necessary one.
I think this explanation goes absolutely perfectly with what we are all experiencing in the world today. We are constantly being told to stay home, stay socially distant from our best friends, and for us seniors, to not end our college journeys in the way any of us would have hoped for or in the way we deserve – all things that are against our intuition or what we like. BUT, I know for me, after the initial shock of having my senior year cut short (hearing the news for the first time), I realized that there is good that can come out of this change in lifestyle (the processing of the news that forced me to have a dramatic change in the way I live). I realized that this time home with my parents is invaluable during this transition time before having my first job and moving to a new city (despite the butting of heads that is inevitable when living with your parents after living alone for all this time). I realized that everyone is spending more time outdoors and finding beauty in the simple things of life. I realized that I am constantly connected with my friends and this is just a trial run for how we are going to keep in touch after college – and I would say we’re doing pretty darn well. If nothing else, this time has made me that much more grateful for every minute I did get to experience at the best school in the world with the best friends around me (and obviously most of my time spent at Emory Hillel).
So, my wish for all of you is to embrace every change that has come with each new circumstance forced upon us. As much as your brain tries to resist or go back to old habits, think of this time as an opportunity to try something new and grow with it. I believe that we will all get through this time stronger and with a better appreciation for the basic things in life – love and connection. And instead of going back to old habits when all of this is over, let’s instead challenge the status quo and constantly look for the better in every situation. Thank you and good Shabbos.