Anyway, in the beginning of the parsha, the word “emor” is repeated very often. The Midrash Rabbah (26:5) says: “The angels, who do not have a yetzer hara, suffice with one ‘telling’ to do the will of Hashem, as the verse says: with the ‘saying’ of the decree to the holy ones (Daniel 4:14). For humans, who do have a yetzer hara, would that two ‘sayings’ would suffice for them! – as the verse says: Emor el ha’kohanim v’amarta aleihem.”
The Dubno Maggid says the Midrash doesn’t say people should need to be commanded a lot of times; two times should be enough. This suggests there is a big difference between the first and second times a person is instructed. How are these times so different?
Here is a parable: A doctor tells his patient to avoid eating certain foods that would make the patient sick. If the patient does eat the food and gets sick, then he would be careful to avoid those foods again. If you are lactose intolerant, for instance, you wouldn’t want to eat cheese, even if it was your favorite food, because the punishment for that is getting sick or throwing up. So after you realize there will be a punishment, you are much less inclined to disobey.
This relates to doing mitzvot: If you do a sin, then get a punishment for it, you will be less likely to do it again, knowing the consequences. The message is this: It’s not worth it to sin. If you do, now you know what happens if you do not keep the Torah, so make sure you keep all the mitzvot now and try not to make any more mistakes.
Another interesting point is that in the Torah, it says v’amarta (and you shall say). But amarta means you said, in the past tense; v’amarta means and you shall say. V’amarta refers to the second warning, after the sin. The Torah is saying: Take the message you already heard (amarta) and switch it so it applies to the future (v’amarta): Keep the Torah’s commandments from now on.
Did this dvar Torah inspire you at all? Comment below!
[Source: A Daily Dose of Torah, edition one, volume 8, (Artscroll 2007) Parshat Emor (Section: Sunday – A Mussar Thought for the Day – p. 124-125.)]