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Ezekiel Chapter 44 | Parsha: 'Emor

1Then he led me back to the outer gate of the Sanctuary that faced eastward; it was shut. 2And the Lord said to me: This gate is to be kept shut and is not to be opened! No one shall enter by it because the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut. 3Only the prince may sit in it and eat bread before the Lord, since he is a prince; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate, and shall depart by the same way.

4Then he led me, by way of the north gate, to the front of the Temple. I looked, and lo! the Presence of the Lord filled the Temple of the Lord; and I fell upon my face. 5Then the Lord said to me: O mortal, mark well, look closely and listen carefully to everything that I tell you regarding all the laws of the Temple of the Lord and all the instructions regarding it. Note well who may enter the Temple and all who must be excluded from the Sanctuary. 6And say to the rebellious House of Israel: Thus said the Lord God: Too long, O House of Israel, have you committed all your abominations, 7admitting aliens, uncircumcised of spirit and uncircumcised of flesh, to be in My Sanctuary and profane My very Temple, when you offer up My food—the fat and the blood. You have broken My covenant with all your abominations. 8You have not discharged the duties concerning My sacred offerings, but have appointed them to discharge the duties of My Sanctuary for you.

9Thus said the Lord God: Let no alien, uncircumcised in spirit and flesh, enter My Sanctuary—no alien whatsoever among the people of Israel. 10But the Levites who forsook Me when Israel went astray—straying from Me to follow their fetishes—shall suffer their punishment: 11They shall be servitors in My Sanctuary, appointed over the Temple gates, and performing the chores of My Temple; they shall slaughter the burnt offerings and the sacrifices for the people. They shall attend on them and serve them. 12Because they served the House of Israel in the presence of their fetishes and made them stumble into guilt, therefore—declares the Lord God—I have sworn concerning them that they shall suffer their punishment: 13They shall not approach Me to serve Me as priests, to come near any of My sacred offerings, the most holy things. They shall bear their shame for the abominations that they committed. 14I will make them watchmen of the Temple, to perform all its chores, everything that needs to be done in it.

15But the levitical priests descended from Zadok, who maintained the service of My Sanctuary when the people of Israel went astray from Me—they shall approach Me to minister to Me; they shall stand before Me to offer Me fat and blood—declares the Lord God. 16They alone may enter My Sanctuary and they alone shall approach My table to minister to Me; and they shall keep My charge. 17And when they enter the gates of the inner court, they shall wear linen vestments: they shall have nothing woolen upon them when they minister inside the gates of the inner court. 18They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen breeches on their loins; they shall not gird themselves with anything that causes sweat. 19When they go out to the outer court—the outer court where the people are—they shall remove the vestments in which they minister and shall deposit them in the sacred chambers; they shall put on other garments, lest they make the people consecrated by [contact with] their vestments. 20They shall neither shave their heads nor let their hair go untrimmed; they shall keep their hair trimmed. 21No priest shall drink wine when he enters into the inner court. 22They shall not marry widows or divorced women; they may marry only virgins of the stock of the House of Israel, or widows who are widows of priests.

23They shall declare to My people what is sacred and what is profane, and inform them what is clean and what is unclean. 24In lawsuits, too, it is they who shall act as judges; they shall decide them in accordance with My rules. They shall preserve My teachings and My laws regarding all My fixed occasions; and they shall maintain the sanctity of My sabbaths.

25[A priest] shall not defile himself by entering [a house] where there is a dead person. He shall defile himself only for father or mother, son or daughter, brother or unmarried sister. 26After he has become clean, seven days shall be counted off for him; 27and on the day that he reenters the inner court of the Sanctuary to minister in the Sanctuary, he shall present his sin offering—declares the Lord God.

28This shall be their portion, for I am their portion; and no holding shall be given them in Israel, for I am their holding. 29The meal offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings shall be consumed by them. Everything proscribed in Israel shall be theirs. 30All the choice first fruits of every kind, and all the gifts of every kind—of all your contributions—shall go to the priests. You shall further give the first of the yield of your baking to the priest, that a blessing may rest upon your home.

31Priests shall not eat anything, whether bird or animal, that died or was torn by beasts.

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