Perusing the many Mitzvos in this week’s Parsha, one can’t help but notice the enigmatic and almost contradictory nature of many of the laws. The Parsha begins with God’s instructions to the Kohanim prohibiting their attendance at the funerals of loved ones, a Mitzvah that is quite difficult to wrap our heads around. It then continues on to encourage ritual slaughter but forbid injuring or killing animals otherwise (24:18), prohibits us from eating bread over Pesach but enjoins us to bring loaves of bread to accompany the Omer offering, commands us to afflict ourselves on one holiday and on the next to eat and rejoice and wave palm fronds in the air accompanied by a fruit. In case we aren’t already scratching our heads in confusion, the Parsha culminates in the strange story of the Mekallel, where within the span of seven verses, God both commands the entire Jewish nation to stone – and kill – the blasphemer (24:14), and then warns that any person who “strikes down” or “strikes” another person will be put to death (24:17, 21).
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