Shabbat Emor (Lev 21:1 – 24:23)

Courtesy of Julie Seltzer and

This weeks’ portion continues with the “Holiness Code”. The Hebrew word for Holy (Kadosh) comes from the root that does NOT mean “better”, “higher”, “righteous”, etc but RATHER “set apart” or “separate”. It puts an entirely different spin on what it is that God is asking the Israelites to do and be.

Where last week the portion focused on laws of holiness for the entire nation, this week spends some time focusing just on the Priests and how they need to be set apart from the rest of the community.

The Rabbis of the Talmud derived from these rules that the Priests had to be superior to the rest of Israel because of the urgency and criticality of their job. Specifically, they had to be:

  • taller
  • stronger
  • wealthier
  • smarter
  • and better looking

Whether we agree with this assessment (that Priests actually were these things) or not is our choice, and puts us into a fantastic dialogue with the voices of our tradition.

SO… limited only by your creativity and the category of food assigned please bring a food which represents one (or more!) of those 5 priestly attributes.

Not sure what this Torah portion is about? You can find a brief summary in The Edible Torah’s “Condensed Guide to the Weekly Torah Readings”. For more information on what The Edible Torah is all about, along with insight on how to set up a pot-luck Shabbat experience, check out “The Edible Torah”.