Parashas Emor

This week’s parashah includes a review of the festival cycle. The Torah begins by discussing Shabbos, Pesach, the omer offering, the counting of the omer, and the offering of two loaves on the day after the 49-day count is completed. The Torah then introduces Shavuos, albeit not by name, saying (Vayikra 23:21): “And you shall call an assembly (u’krasem) on that very day – it shall be a holy assembly unto you.” The Maggid discusses the four verses in Tanach in which the word u’krasem appears:
1. Our verse – “And you shall call an assembly on that very day.”
2. Vayikra 25:10 – “And you shall proclaim freedom throughout the land” (the yovel year).
3. Malachim Alef 18:24 – “And you shall call upon the name of your God” (Eliyahu at Mt. Carmel).
4. Yirmiyah 29:12 – “And you shall call upon Me, and you shall go and pray to Me, and I shall listen to you.”
The Maggid interprets these four verses as teaching some lessons about prayer.
Our verse teaches that we need not wait for special times of favor to pray to Hashem. Whenever we are in distress or in need, we can call out to Hashem on that very day. The second verse teaches that Hashem will answer us when we call; He will save us, so that we may proclaim ourselves free from our suffering.
The third and fourth verses state conditions we must fulfill in order to merit such speedy salvation. The first condition is that we must “call upon the name of [our] God.” That is, when we pray for salvation, it should not be out of our own personal interests, but rather out of a desire to bring Hashem joy. The Gemara in Chagiggah 5b teaches that Hashem has a special private chamber called mistarim (hiding), where He cries over our suffering. We should bear Hashem’s pain, and ask Him to save us for His own sake. The second condition is that we must “go and pray.” That is, praying to Hashem should not be a causal activity that we engage in only when we happen to be moved to do so. Rather, it should be a deliberate activity; we should designate a set place and time to gather together and plead to Hashem for help. If we fufill these two conditions, Hashem will surely answer us.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.