Emor: A Summary of the Parashah
God gives Moses a series of laws specific to the priests; God then instructs Moses to tell the people about the festivals in addition to laws of blasphemy and murder.
The following article is reprinted with permission from Jewish Family & Life!
God gives Moses the laws specific to Aaron and all the priests. Priests are to stay pure and holy. They are not to have contact with the dead, nor profane the Name of God, nor marry a harlot nor even marry a divorced person. When the daughter of a priest degrades herself through harlotry, it is her father whom she degrades, and she must be burned in fire.
The High Priest must abide by additional rules. He must not let his hair on his head grow wild. He must not tear his garments in mourning, nor have contact with the dead. He must not go out of the Sanctuary. He must marry a virgin from among his people. If he becomes blemished, he must not approach the altar to bring an offering to God.
And God says to Moses: Instruct Aaron that if his offspring has a defect, he is not to come near the Holy Shrine to bring a food offering to God. Indeed any man with a defect is not to come near the Holy Shrine to bring a food offering to God, whether the man is blind or lame or mutilated or too long-limbed or has a broken leg or broken arm or a scab. Aaron's offspring who have a defect may eat from the food offerings, but they may not enter behind the holy curtain, nor approach the slaughter site, for this would profane God's holy shrines.
God says to Moses: Say to all the people: Do not make a priestly offering during any state of uncleanness, nor make sacrifices with animals that are blemished. Do not eat of the holy offerings unless you are in a state of cleanliness. Do not profane My holy Name, but let Me be sanctified. I, God, make you holy.
These are My appointed times for meeting. Six days shall work be done and on the seventh day you must stop performing any work and proclaim it a Sabbath of rest. It is a Sabbath to God in all your dwelling places.
In the first month, on the fourteenth of the month, is a Passover to God. On the fifteenth of that month is the Festival of Unleavened Bread and for seven days you shall eat only unleavened bread. On the first day, you shall proclaim it holy and do no work. The seventh day shall also be holy and you shall do no work.
When you come to the promised land that I give you and you reap the harvest, you shall bring an omer, a portion of your first reaping to the priest, who will offer it to God. After seven complete Sabbaths from the time of these offerings, counting fifty days, you shall bring a new offering to God. You shall bring bread, leavened and unleavened, and make offerings with unblemished animals as an expression of compliance to God. You shall leave the gleaning of your harvest for the poor man and the stranger.