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Parashah 31: Emor (Speak) 21:1–24:23

21 Adonai said to Moshe, “Speak to the cohanim, the sons of Aharon; tell them: ‘No cohen is to make himself unclean for any of his people who dies, except for his close relatives — his mother, father, son, daughter and brother; he may also make himself unclean for his virgin sister who has never married and is therefore dependent on him. He may not make himself unclean, because he is a leader among his people; doing so would profane him. Cohanim are not to make bald spots on their heads, mar the edges of their beards or cut gashes in their flesh. Rather, they are to be holy for their God and not profane the name of their God. For they are the ones who present Adonai with offerings made by fire, the bread of their God; therefore they must be holy.

“‘A cohen is not to marry a woman who is a prostitute, who has been profaned or who has been divorced; because he is holy for his God. Rather, you are to set him apart as holy, because he offers the bread of your God; he is to be holy for you, because I, Adonai, who makes you holy, am holy. The daughter of a cohen who profanes herself by prostitution profanes her father; she is to be put to death by fire.

10 “‘The cohen who is ranked highest among his brothers, the one on whose head the anointing oil is poured and who is consecrated to put on the garments, is not to stop grooming his hair, tear his clothes, 11 go in to where any dead body is or make himself unclean, even when his father or mother dies. 12 He may not leave the sanctuary then or profane the sanctuary of his God, because the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is on him; I am Adonai.

13 “‘He is to marry a virgin; 14 he may not marry a widow, divorcee, profaned woman or prostitute; but he must marry a virgin from among his own people 15 and not disqualify his descendants among his people; because I am Adonai, who makes him holy.’”

(ii) 16 Adonai said to Moshe, 17 “Tell Aharon, ‘None of your descendants who has a defect may approach to offer the bread of his God. 18 No one with a defect may approach — no one blind, lame, with a mutilated face or a limb too long, 19 a broken foot or a broken arm, 20 a hunched back, stunted growth, a cataract in his eye, festering or running sores, or damaged testicles — 21 no one descended from Aharon the cohen who has such a defect may approach to present the offerings for Adonai made by fire; he has a defect and is not to approach to offer the bread of his God. 22 He may eat the bread of his God, both the especially holy and the holy; 23 only he is not to go in to the curtain or approach the altar, because he has a defect — so that he will not profane my holy places, because I am Adonai, who makes them holy.’”

24 Moshe said these things to Aharon, his sons and all the people of Isra’el.

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