In the first Pasuk of our Parsha, we see a double language between the words “Emor” and “VeAmarta”, “Speak” and “Say”.
Rashi explains the double language to mean that aside from teaching the Kohanim to observe the following mitzvot (“Emor”), the Kohanim should be warned to educate their children in these areas as well (“VeAmarta”).
Yet, our Parsha goes deeper, beyond this literal meaning. The beginning of our Parsha is truly relating to all of Am Yisrael, as the Parsha continues on with guidance for Am Yisrael. We can now understand this first pasuk to truly be a warning not just for the Kohanim, rather for all of the parents of Am Yisrael to educate their children.
Education, especially in Judaism, is such a fundamental principle of our lifestyle that it can’t be that the education which is being spoken about here in Emor is the warning to give your child a basic education. Basic education requirements and warnings belong to the end of Sefer Vayikra.
The education of children being referred to here is an education which is much deeper, much more mature. This education takes place only once a child knows right from wrong.
So what is it? A parent must educate their child in a way that one’s child spiritually progresses each and every single day by refining different aspects of their character and who they are!
The mitzvah of counting the Omer (Sefirat HaOmer) is seen in our Parsha as well! Right here in Emor we are given the perfect example of a parent educating their child to partake in an “event” which is focused on spiritual progression for every single day of the Omer!
Rashi writes that Moshe had to “warn the adults about [educating] their children.” Warn in Hebrew is “LeHazhir”. This word “LeHazhir” is derived from the word “Zohar”, “light”.
What is Rashi teaching us Mishpacha and Chaverim? Educating our children is of the utmost importance because it literally brings out from within them the “light” which they all have!
Mishpacha and Chaverim, as we count Sefira, we tend to lose sight of the meaning of every single day and night. R’ Moshe Tzvi Weinberg told a story of one of his students who came to him and said, “Rebbe, I think I have an idea as to why we don’t listen to music during Sefira.”
“Because Rebbe, throughout the year we are so busy listening to everyone else’s music, whereas now, we have our own music, our own sound which is emanating from within us, and we have to bring that sound, that beautiful music out into the world.”
Reciting the Sefira every night as a child through our adulthood might be apart of our education, but where else in the world do you get an education which is meant to bring out the “light” in you?
You have education for jobs and to make money in the world, but our education as Jews is to make this world whole with our light.
With our light illuminating the world and our improvement each day (not only throughout Sefira!), Mashiach will surely come.
– Johnny Newman for Sparks of Judaism