Parenthood: Emor 2021

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: What types of parental tendencies are universal? What types are dependent on specific personalities, or surrounding culture?

Even when discussing proper animals for sacrifice, the Torah is cognizant of the sensitivities of all creatures:

The Pitch: “When an ox or a sheep or a goat is born, it shall stay seven days with its mother, and from the eighth day on it shall be acceptable as an offering by fire to the Lord.” – Leviticus 22:27

Swing #1: “The concluding remarks [of Leviticus 22] show that deliverance/salvation is not just a one-time event, it is an ongoing and never-ending rejuvenation. It can involve specific events of physical separation from situations that bring death, but it also involves the maintaining of essential distinctions between what is clean and unclean, between what is holy and profane.” – Timothy M. Willis, Leviticus

Swing #2: “The Torah forbade acts of cruelty even vis-à-vis sacrifices. … Similarly, ‘You shall not cook a kid in its mother’s milk,’ (according to Rashbam and Ibn Ezra) because doing so smacks of cruelty.” – Sefer Yesodei HaTorah

Swing #3: “This may best be understood by means of a parable: A king who visited a country issued a decree that no one would be allowed an audience with him until after they had paid their respects to a certain lady of high society. Similarly, God said to the people of Israel: ‘you may not offer Me a sacrificial offering until after that animal has paid its respects to My daughter, (society lady in the parable) i.e. to the Sabbath. Just as there is no week one day of which is not a Sabbath, so there cannot be a circumcision until the baby in question has experienced at least one Sabbath. The ‘society lady’ in the parable should be the first thought in the mind of the party offering the animal” – Rabbeinu Bahya

Late-Inning Questions: Do the above commentaries indicate a respect for animals that is ahead of its time? How does it compare to the way we treat animals today? Can we evaluate a society based on how it treats its animals?

On-Deck at TBT: Drive up to TBT this Sunday from 12-1 p.m. to receive a small house plant from the InTandem Sheltered Workshop’s Greenhouse to celebrate TBT women, as well as a dairy recipe booklet for Shavuot. And please drop off personal care items to benefit Cornerstone Manor, such as shampoo, combs, hair brushes, deodorant, sanitary pads, tampons, toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, diapers, wipes, and slippers.

The Big Inning at the End: Speaking of parental tendencies, it seems like so many classic baseball cards were destroyed in dumpsters long ago because mothers and fathers often chucked their kids’ collections once they left home. I’m lucky that my parents never did that with my cards.

Shabbat Shalom!