One of the most common root words in the Torah is אמר - which usually means to say or to speak. It appears in a variety of different contexts and can mean a variety of different derivations of speaking. The word
Emor is among one of the first words in our Torah reading and the name of this week's Torah portion, which is no surprise. However, what is unusual is that the Hebrew root appears three times in the very first sentence.
Leviticus 21:1 says: "And Adonai said to Moses: Say to the "priests," the sons of Aaron, and you shall say to them."
The biblical commentator Rashi points out that while the same root is used three times in one sentence, each time it is used in a different tense. According to Rashi, each time the word is used in this verse; it is addressing three different generations of Israelites, the past, the present, and the future. The majority of our Torah reading this Shabbat provides us with the laws and traditions about the Jewish festivals. It also contains the Mitzvah to speak to our children and teach them about traditions and holidays. We can and will do our best to pass on our heritage to the next generation, as it was passed down to us. But, we need to ensure that the next generation recognizes their responsibility in the present, to do the same in the future.
It's not an easy task; it's one that we have struggled with for generations. But it's one that we we hope future generations will continue to struggle with in the generations to come.
Wishing you all a
Rabbi Josh Dorsch