Thursday, May 3, 2012

325 - Emor

We say in davening, "Holy, holy, holy, is Hashem the Master of all Legions." Hashem is entirely holy since He is completely removed from all physicality. Nevertheless, He gave us a means for recognizing His greatness: "The entire world is filled with His glory." Hashem revealed Himself through the creation of this most awe-inspiring universe. This revelation is referred to as "kavod" (glory). As the pasuk states, "All that is called by My name is for My glory that I have created it, formed it, and made it" (Yeshaya 43, 7).

Rav Wolbe writes (Alei Shur vol. II pg. 225) that we can glean from here that wherever there is kedusha (holiness) there is also an element of kavod (glory). Since every person has been infused with a holy neshama, and therefore, possesses a level of kedusha, in turn this kedusha necessitates that one conduct himself with a certain amount of kavod.

The connection between kedusha and kavod is made abundantly clear in this week's parsha. The parsha begins with the kedusha of the kohanim and the halachic aspects of kavod that their kedusha demands. It continues with the kedusha of the korbanos, Hashem's kedusha, the kedusha of Shabbos and Yom Tov and the halachos of kavod that we are commanded as a result of the manifestations of each of these kedushos respectively. The parsha ends with the story of the "m'kaleil" - the son of the Egyptian who cursed Hashem. The root of the word "kavod" is "kaveid" (heavy i.e. serious). The polar opposite of kavod is "klalah" (curse) which stems from the word "kal" (light). When one behaves with seriousness toward another person he has shown him kavod, while if he makes light of another person he may end up cursing him.

The Gemara (Kedushin 40b) tells us, "One who eats in the marketplace can be compared to a dog. Some say, he has disqualified himself from being able to act as a witness in beis din." Rashi explains that someone who eats in the public marketplace has demonstrated that he doesn't care about his kavod, and therefore, will not be embarrassed to do something that will render him ineligible to act as a witness. What is so terrible about eating in the marketplace? After all, the food is kosher and he made a bracha? The answer is that although such behavior is not outright forbidden, nevertheless, it displays a lack of refinement and sensitivity. He is lacking kavod which can be defined as, "an outward display which is necessitated by the reality of an inner kedusha." The cognizance of the tzelem Elokim kadosh inside oneself requires a person to act accordingly.

The Rambam (Hilchos Dayos perek 5) describes the refined manner in which a talmid chochom should conduct himself. Once again we might find it hard to understand what is so terrible if one lacks this extra dose of refinement. Moreover, the yeridas hadoros, coupled with the influence of the behavior of the nations around us, has clouded our perception of the kedusha that resides within each and every one of us. This kedusha necessitates kavod.

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