Parashat Emor (Say)

Vayikra (Leviticus) 21:1-24:3

In this week’s reading, we read some important verses about the Lord’s appointed times: “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the sons (children) of Israel, and you tell them of the Lord’s appointed times, which you will call (summon) them holy proclamations (occasions). These are my appointed times.” Leviticus 23:1-2

When we read these verses within the context of the chapters preceding them, we can understand that the foundation of these appointed times is God’s holiness. Our God is holy, and He calls us to be holy, which is in essence, being separated unto Him.

God has appointed specific times for us to stop from our everyday life, in order to remember, reflect, and prepare. We remember what He has done in the past; we recall His power to deliver, to provide everything that we need, as well as His faithfulness, endless love, and grace. We reflect upon all these things in our present lives, and prepare for that which is to come.

As we learned in my past blog entries, the Lord knows all of our needs, and He knows what is best for us because of His amazing love for us. He knows that our days are full and busy with so many things – work, family, running errands, hobbies, etc.- that He has appointed specific times for us to stop all that we are doing, take a break from the busy routine, and be wholly devoted to Him.

Why? Because we are to be set apart to Him and be holy, just as He is holy!

Unfortunately, over the centuries, these appointed times have become more about man-made religion, and less about Him. The reality is that rather than fulfilling God’s intentions for His appointed times (remembering, reflecting, and preparing) we have turned it around and made it about us. What do I mean by this? Well, in many cases, rather than being a celebration, we have made it a form of suffering – a heavy burden – by adding all kinds of religious elements that God never intended to be there. And this has caused us to draw further away from Him, instead of drawing closer to Him.

This weekend, let us take the Lord’s appointed day of rest – the Sabbath – which God gave us as a gift, to remember Him, reflect upon Him, and prepare for that which He has called us.

Shabbat Shalom,


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