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Emor 5769

Emor (Leviticus 21-24 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING! Mother's Day is coming up Sunday, May 10th on the American Holiday Schedule. (In the Jewish "Holiday Schedule", every day is Mother's Day!) Therefore, I thought I'd share with you the following beautiful piece which was edited, revised and sent to me by Y. Homnick whose mother fed 132 families each week in Jerusalem for Shabbos, though she herself was in her nineties.


By the time the Almighty made mothers, he was into His sixth day and working overtime. An Angel appeared and said "Why are You spending so much time on this one?"

And the Almighty answered and said, "Have you seen the spec sheet on her? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic, have 200 movable parts, all replaceable, run on black coffee and leftovers, have a lap that can hold three children at one time and that disappears when she stands up, have a kiss that can cure anything from a scraped knee to a broken heart, and have six pairs of hands." The Angel was astounded at the requirements for this one. "Six pairs of hands! No Way!" said the Angel.

The Almighty replied, "Oh, it's not the hands that are the problem. It's the three pairs of eyes that mothers must have!" "And that's just on the standard model?" the Angel asked.

The Almighty responded, "Yep, one pair of eyes are to see through the closed door as she asks her children what they are doing, even though she already knows. Another pair in the back of her head are to see what she needs to know even though no one thinks she can. And the third pair are here in the front of her head. They are for looking at an errant child and saying that she understands and loves him or her without even saying a single word."

The Angel tried to stop the Almighty. "This is too much work for one day. Wait until tomorrow to finish."

"But I can't!" the Almighty protested, "I am so close to finishing this creation; it's so close to my own heart.

The Angel moved closer and touched the woman. "But you have made her so soft, Almighty."

"She is soft," the Almighty agreed, "but I have also made her tough. You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish."

"Will she be able to think?" asked the Angel.

The Almighty replied, "Not only will she be able to think, she will be able to reason, and negotiate."

The Angel then noticed something and reached out and touched the woman's cheek. "Oops, it looks like you have a leak with this model. I told you that you were trying to put too much into this one."

"That's not a leak", the Almighty objected, "That's a tear!"

"What's the tear for?" the Angel asked.

The Almighty said, "The tear is her way of expressing her joy, her sorrow, her disappointment, her pain, her loneliness, her grief, and her pride."

The Angel was impressed. "You are a genius, Almighty. You thought of everything. WOMEN are truly amazing!"


According to Jewish cosmology, the day begins with nightfall. That is why all holidays start at night after the stars can be seen. Monday night, May 11th, begins the holiday of Lag B'Omer. You may have seen advertisements for picnics from synagogues and JCC's.

Lag B'Omer is the 33rd day of the Omer, the period between Pesach and Shavuot. On this day the plague which was killing Rabbi Akiva's disciples stopped. It is also the yahrzeit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, the author of the Zohar, the Kabbalah, the book of Jewish Mysticism. Tradition has it that the day of his demise was filled with a great light of endless joy through the secret wisdom which he revealed to his students in the Zohar.

In Israel there are huge bonfires across the country. From Pesach onwards the children gather fallen branches and old tires and build pyres often 20 and 30 feet high. Then as the sky grows dark, they are lit and the sky is filled with flames - and smoke. (I have often wondered what the reaction is to the pictures from the US and Russian Spy satellites.)

The fires are symbolic both of the light of wisdom Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai brought into the world and as a "yahrzeit candle" to the memory of his passing. Haircuts and weddings take place on this date and there is much festivity including dancing, singing and music.

Why the name Lag B'Omer? Every Hebrew letter has a numerical value. An aleph = 1, a bet = 2 and so forth. The two Hebrew letters lamed (30) and gimmel (3) = 33. So Lag B'Omer means the 33rd day of the Omer. [The word "Omer" literally means "sheaf" and refers to the offering of the barley sheaf in the Temple on the second day of Pesach marking the harvesting of the barley crop. From that day until Shavuot (the anniversary of the giving of the Torah and the Festival of the Harvest) is called the period of the Counting of the Omer. It is a time for reflection upon how we view and treat our fellow Jews and what we can learn from the tragedies that have befallen us because of unfounded hatred for our fellow Jews.

For more on "Lag B'Omer" go to!

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Torah Portion of the Week

This week's portion sets forth the standards of purity and perfection for a Cohen; specifies the physical requirements of sacrifices and what is to be done with blemished offerings; proclaims as holidays the Shabbat, Pesach, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.

It reminds the Jewish people to provide pure olive oil for the Menorah and designates the details of the Showbread (two stacks of 6 loaves each which were placed on the table in the portable sanctuary and later in the Temple once a week upon Shabbat).

The portion ends with the interesting story of a man who blasphemed God's name with a curse. What should be the penalty for this transgression? Curious? Leviticus. 24:14.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And the Almighty spoke to Moshe saying, speak to the Children of Israel saying, 'On the fifteenth day of the seventh month (counting from the Jewish month of Nissan - when we went out of Egypt) is the Festival of Tabernacles (Sukkot), seven days dedicate to the Almighty" (Leviticus 23:33-34).

Rosh Hashanah in Torah law is only one day (Rabbinical law renders it two days) and Yom Kippur is only one day. However, Sukkot is seven days. What lesson for life do we learn from the increased number of days in which we celebrate Sukkot?

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch elucidates: Rosh Hashanah is a day of shaking us out of ways of life displeasing to the Almighty. Yom Kippur is a day of fasting and awareness of our faults and mistakes. Sukkot, however, sets us up afresh in living to achieve the highest earthly possession: joy and happiness before the Almighty.

There is only one day for the mood of Rosh Hashanah, and only one day for the fasting of atonement, but seven days, a whole cycle of days, for the joyful building of our huts, and for enjoying our possessions before the Almighty.

This is the essence of what the Torah teaches us: the normal mood of one's life should not be a bowed down, broken feeling, but rather it should be one of joy. Appreciating personal growth, perfection of character and fulfilling one's responsibilities can enhance one's joy in life.

(or go to

Jerusalem 6:49
Guatemala 6:03 - Hong Kong 6:34 - Honolulu 6:41
J'Burg 5:14 - London 8:16 - Los Angeles 7:24
Melbourne 5:08 - Mexico City 7:43 - Miami 7:37

New York 7:41 - Singapore 6:49 - Toronto 8:09


A mother is not a person to lean on
but a person to make leaning unnecessary.
--  Dorothy C. Fisher

With Deep Appreciation to

Michael & Jackeline Abels

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Kalman Packouz

Click here for Rabbi Packouz's bio
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