Emor – Unifying God’s Name

Say to Aaron… None of your descendants who has a defect may come near… No man who has any defect may… come near the curtain or approach the altar and so desecrate my sanctuary” (Lv 21:16-21).

The congregation of Israel is called whole (heb. shalem); as it’s written: “Malki-Tzedek king of wholeness (Shalem)” (Gn 14:18). For it’s also written: “In Wholeness (ie. Shalem) is also His Tabernacle [and his dwelling place in Zion]” (Psalm 76:3 [2]) (cf. Zohar, Emor).

This refers to the congregation of Israel which is whole and without defect, being one with the Shekhina (the Divine Immanence); namely, the Sefirah of Malkhut (ie. Kingdom); which is a perfect bride without defect. Who can approach the Heavenly Sanctuary being blemished? Who can work in the service of the nation being blemished? How can the King marry a blemished bride when the high priest below – who resembles the one above – is forbidden to do so? (Lv 21:7). But our inner priest who enters in the Service of the House of God must be whole, and what is the greatest wholeness? It’s in a broken vessel as it’s written:

“I dwell… in him that has a broken and humble spirit” (Is 57:15).

As we are building in this world a permanent House for the Divine Presence, and we are also a Sanctuary for the Divine Presence  [as it was written: make me a Sanctuary so that I shall dwell within them], and there’s inside of us all the Elements of the Temple’s service, concerning the part of our soul that corresponds to Aaron, what are we bringing to God?

“When you offer a lame and sick is it not evil? Give a defective offering to your governor; will he be pleased with you?” (Mal 1:8).

A blemished sacrifice is not an accepted offering, as written: It shall not be acceptable for you (Lv 22:20).

When you desecrate God’s Sanctuary with defective offerings and behaviours; when you don’t care which sons of Aaron are running your Tabernacle, you are separating the bride from the groom.  You are causing disunity in God’s Name. The last Hei in God’s Name (which is Malkhut, the Kingdom, and the Bride) gets separated from the Vav (which is Zeir Anpin, the groom).

In this week’s Parasha the “Name of God” is the main topic.

 “Do not desecrate my holy Name, but I shall be sanctified among the sons of Israel” (Lv 22:32).

There’s nothing worse than desecrating God’s name (Hilul haShem). In every level of interpretation desecrating God’s Sacred Name is punished with penalty of death. From blaspheming or simply misusing the four letters Sacred Name (cf. Lv 24:16), to giving a bad Name (ie. a bad reputation) to God, as it’s written: “They desecrated my Holy Name when it was said of them: These are God’s people yet they left His land” (Ez 36:20).

God’s Name desecration is already mentioned at the end of Kain’s genealogy, as it’s written: “Az hukhal likro beShem Havaya” – which can be interpreted as ‘Then they desecrated by calling the Name of Havaya’ (Gn 4:26) (cf. Rashi).

The antidote for this desecration is the opposite; that is, to Sanctify God’s Name in every level and aspect (Kidush haShem). From the literal level, having the most respectful Reverence for the four letters Sacred Name; not pronouncing it in vain and turning it into one of our common names, such as Peter or Emma or Walter. To make God’s Name common (or vulgar) is actually another way to translate the word “Hillul” (which means desecrating).   People out there simply pronounce God’s name without a drop of reverence (and by the way, they don’t even pronounce it correctly); they think it’s ok to do so and they go further, they think that Jews are wrong in NOT doing the same!! What a joke! Yet the Torah says in the third command of the Decalogue:

Lo tisha et Shem Havaya Elokeikha laShav” (Ex 20:7).

  • Lo Tisha: do not make an oath, do not carry, do not bring, do not take, do not pronounce… the Name of Havaya your God “laShav”.
  • LaShav: in order to lie, in vain, or unnecessarily.

In a deeper meaning, we are to Sanctify God’s Name with our obedience and our behaviour. There’s in our soul a portion of God above (Khelek Elokai mimaal); with a misbehaviour we are causing a profanation of God’s Name (ie. his reputation) among the gentiles. May it be in our days that no Jew is found with arrogance in his heart, that No Jew will cause a gentile to blaspheme the Name of God. That no Jew will cause shame to the Divine Presence.  Then the day will come, as it’s written: “I will Sanctify my great Name which was desecrated among the nations… and the nations will know that I am God… I will be sanctified in you before their eyes” (Ez 36:23). Then it will be as it’s written: “Ten gentiles from every nation and tongue will take firm hold of each Jew by the hem of his robe and say, Let us go with you” (Zech 8:23).

And finally the day of Redemption will come of which it’s written: “I will no longer let my holy name be profaned” (Ez 39:7).

“And the Lord shall be King over all the Earth; In that day the Lord will be One, and His name One” (Zech 14:9).

One thought on “Emor – Unifying God’s Name

  1. DAVID JOHNSON says:

    You say “Lo Tisha: do not make an oath, do not carry, do not bring, do not take, do not pronounce…” From what source do you come up with the definition of “nasah” as meaning “pronounce”?

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