A Taste of Torah – Parshas Emor

Written by: Rabbi Mordechai Raizman

Easy Does It

In this week’s Torah portion Emor, Moshe gives instructions to the Kohanim about their additional responsibilities. In giving the message, G-d tells MosheEmor El Hacohanim” (say to the Kohanim). The commentaries wonder why the word emor is used and not the common word used for commandments daber? Furthermore, our sages tell us that these two words have different connotations. Daber connotes a strong tone or command while emor suggests a softer tone. Therefore, one would think in preparing the Kohanim for their additional responsibilities, the word daber would be more appropriate.

Rav Moshe Feinstein, z”l, explains the use of the softer tone is to teach us an important lesson in role modeling. Moshe was to impart to the Kohanim, that as leaders, they were to receive additional mitzvos. When he speaks to the Kohanim using a soft tone, the tone itself as well as its words is delivering a message.  The soft tone illustrates that leaders need to take things in stride and make it look easy to accomplish whatever is needed to be done. This calm can-do attitude strengthens everyone around the leader and enables all participants to live up to their responsibilities as well. A more demanding approach is generally not so effective.

In life, we try to teach lessons and values to our children and students. When doing so, we need to remind ourselves of how we speak when role modeling. More often than not, better results come not from a stronger and demanding tone, but from the softer and more encouraging tone. As the saying goes, Easy Does It.