Between the holy and the common

Parashat Emor’{פרשת אמור}  – the weekly Torah portion for today, mainly discusses two issues: the regulations of the priests who work in the Tabernacle and the different holy days of the biblical calendar.

Because of this, we can find this week’s ‘Haftarah’ (weekly Prophet’s portion) in Ezekiel chapter 44 which outlines the rules for Levitical Priests.

Ezekiel the Prophet,  Rubens  

After the detailed biblical description of exactly what is allowed and what is forbidden to the priests, a very interesting thing is mentioned:

“They shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.” (Ezekiel 44:23)

This verse is the key to understanding the role of the priests as well as the strong connection between their work in the Tabernacle and the biblical holy days. This connection manifests in ‘the difference between the holy and the common’ or as it appears in the original Hebrew ‘Bein Kodesh Le-Chol’ {בין קודש לחול} (‘between holy and unholy or profane’).