Shabbos Parshas Emor
17 Iyar 5773 - April 27, 2013



Voices From the Ezras Nashim

Parshas Emor sets forth the standards of purity for Cohanim. It also explains that it is a mitzvah for Cohanim to eat trumah (the tithes brought from the crops of Eretz Yisrael). But the portion goes on to explain that the Cohanim must not eat trumah when they are in a state of tumah (ritual impurity).
Even though eating trumah is the fulfillment of a mitzvah for the Cohanim, they must be very careful not to do so in a manner that will transform the potential for good into a transgression. Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz commented that we learn from here an important principle: even when a person is involved in doing the Almighty’s service, he must be very careful that no transgressions should come from it.
On a practical level, whenever we are engaged in doing a good deed or involved in a worthwhile project we must be on guard that the good we do is complete and does not include any transgressions.
So, how does the above relate to the movie we viewed last Sunday? Well, for starters it demonstrates how evil can be done in the name of good when the word of HaKodesh Barachu is either not understood or set aside. To clarify we spent Sunday afternoon viewing an Israeli movie nominated for an Academy award in the category of best documentary. In retrospect the nomination itself should have told us this was not a movie we would enjoy or agree with. I would like to think that in going to view the movie we were keeping an open mind about the intentions of the filmmaker, but in actuality I think it was extreme naivete on our part.
In case you have not already guessed, I do not intend to name the film. The title along with the memory of the yemach shemo is best forgotten and I would not encourage anyone to see this film. At the same time I do not regret spending the afternoon with a scowl on my face and my arms folded tightly across my chest as I watched scene after scene unfold, because the evening was spent with my three fellow viewers discussing the accuracy (or lack thereof) of the film we had seen. We clearly recognized that the filmmakers may have set out to communicate what to them was the noble purpose of finding a way to peace in the middle east without any regard for HaKodesh Barachu's gift of the land of Israel to the Jewish people. In attempting to make their case the filmmakers transgressed by omitting any reference to the word of HaKodesh Barachu, distorting the words and ideas of those they interviewed, creating animated scenes that did not portray the truth, cutting and splicing archival footage to exaggerate reality and brought tumah to a whole new low level.
Since I am required to give them the benefit of the doubt or at least to attempt to see the good in their actions I will acknowledge that peace is a worthwhile goal. Having said that, peace cannot be made by giving away that which is not yours to give. The land of Israel cannot be cut up and divided in the hope that the sons of Yishmael will find a section satisfactory and therefore agree to leave us alone in the rest. Their goal is not the occupation of the land it is the end of Israel as a nation and as a people. We can help them piece by piece or we can stand firmly on the land given to us by HaKodesh Barachu and say NO! No to division and no to demands for borders other than those ordained by HaKodesh Barachu.
We are capable of making peace and keeping peace, but we can only do so when we are rooted in the principles of Torah and when we use those principles in our daily lives and our actions with others.
May we merit to bring trumah and may our Cohanim merit to eat trumah speedily in our day.