Health, Nutrition & Torah: Emor

| April 28, 2010

Courtesy Alexander Smolianitski (http://flickr.com/photos/smolianitski/)

Courtesy Alexander Smolianitski (http://flickr.com/photos/smolianitski/)

The Text:
Leviticus 23:22 “And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger…”

The Context:
The first part of Emor deals with the special laws pertaining to Aaron and his offspring – the Israelites’ priests. Among God’s many mandates is a specific breakdown of who may – and may not – eat from the ritual offerings brought by the Israelites to the Temple.  God also decrees that all animals offered in sacrifice must be blemish-free, and that harvest sacrifices be accompanied by animal offerings.

In Emor, God also enumerates many of the Jewish holidays with which we are so familiar today, including Shabbat, Passover, the Counting of the Omer, Shavuot and Shimini Atzeret.

What it Means for Advocates:
The most practical advice to deal with the hungry in our community is offered in this parsha. Gleaning the fields assures that when there is a good harvest, everyone will have food. Consider this both literally and metaphorically. One could imagine always sharing some of their meal with hungry people. Or, one could consider their year of earnings and “trim” 5-10% for the less fortunate. MAZON encourages families celebrating a simcha to donate 3% of the cost of their simcha to MAZON to insure that when the family celebrates that the community can be fed as well.

Consider a family conversation about what percentage of income is a reasonable one to donate to those who do not have.

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