STATE OF GRACE - Parshat Emor

Here we were, just trying to have a good time, celebrating the holidays - and you had to start talking about… poor people?! Way to kill the mood.

That’s a whinier version of a basic textual question the rabbis are asking this week. Parshat Emor contains the first full list of the holidays, starting with Shabbat, and then moving from Passover on through the whole of what is now the Jewish calendar year. Given the centrality of these holidays in Jewish life and practice, this is a big moment in the Torah.

But right in the middle of it all, in between Shavuot and Rosh Hashanah, there’s a major interruption:

And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger - I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 23:22)

This just comes out of nowhere. Not that these laws are unfamiliar to us, mind you. We actually saw them in last week’s parsha! But there they made sense. They appeared in a long list of laws known as the Holiness code. So that’s one way to be holy: feed the poor. But why do we need to repeat this? And, more perplexing, why is it the only law that gets stuck right in the middle of the holidays? That’s what all the rabbis want to know.

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“The Sephirothic Tree is sometimes depicted as a human body, thus more definitely establishing the true identity of the first, or Heavenly, Man – Adam Kadmon – the Idea of the Universe. 

The ten divine globes (Sephiroth) are then considered as analogous to the ten sacred members and organs of the Protogonos, according to the following arrangement. 

• Kether is the crown of the Prototypic Head and perhaps refers to the pineal gland; 

• Chochmah and Binah are the right and left hemispheres respectively of the Great brain; 

• Chesed and Geburah are the right and left arms respectively, signifying the active creative members of the Grand man; tiphereth is the heart, or, according to some, the entire viscera; 

• Netsach and Hod are the right and left legs respectively, or the supports of the world; 

• Yesod is the generative system, or the foundation of form; 

• Malchuth represents the two feet, or the base of being. 

(Occasionally Yesod is considered as the male and Malchuth as the female generative power.)

The Grand man thus conceived is the gigantic image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, with head of gold, arms and chest of silver, body of brass, legs of iron, and feet of clay. 

- Manly P. Hall: The Secret Teachings of All Ages