Every person has his or her own perception of reality, his own take on religion, and his own theories on leadership. And every Jew, as well, has his own perception of reality, his own take on religion, and his own theories on leadership. It’s striking to think about how diametrically opposed Jewish leadership is to many other religious versions of leadership. In this week’s parshah, parshas Emor, the Torah tells us that the Kohen Gadol – the High Priest – must be married (21:13). Many other religions posit that spiritual leaders must remain celibate, never to marry, as this is the sole path towards spirituality. Why then does Judaism claim the opposite? Is it not true that physicality and physical pleasure can deter one from spiritual perfection? Why do we require our leaders to immerse themselves in such physical matters? In order to understand this, we must first understand the nature and role of kohanim.

Some of the most complex cases we handle at our firm, Wisselman Harounian & Associates, involve “premeditated divorce planning.” These are cases where one spouse undermines his or her unsuspecting partner by hiding away assets for months and even years before the proceedings start.  Usually, this individual has more control over the income and assets of the family and is the main financial decision maker, whereas, the unsuspecting spouse is “in the dark” about the party’s financial circumstances.

One of the most important ways we can leave a legacy for our loved ones is by drafting the appropriate testamentary documents. An individual can designate who should receive his or her assets when he/she dies by signing a Last Will and Testament and making specific “bequests,” or gifts, therein. When an individual dies, the will must be admitted to the court for approval before the assets can be distributed.  This process is called “probate.”  The Court “proves” the will and ensures that everything was done properly. 

As we depart from Pesach, the holiday of faith, we must reinforce our commitment to embarking on the journey of faith. There is no greater embodiment of emunah than living a spiritual, holistic life in an often torn and chaotic world. As we read Parshas K’doshim, the words “K’doshim tihyu–You shall be holy,” ring in our ears. This is not a call to be transcendent, angelic beings, lofty and perfect, beyond the struggle innate within the human condition. This is not permission to deny our humanity and restrict our sense of self. This is a calling to be human, to be the ultimate human, to bring transcendence and spirituality into this world. We don’t aim to escape this world, we aim to transform it. K’dushah in not transcendence or escapism, it’s marrying transcendence with the imminent. This is the journey of faith, whereby each individual must embark on a quest for internal and objective truth, where we must leave the comfort of the known and travel towards the infinite, towards the future we know we are destined for, towards our own personal and collective purpose. There are five stages in this journey of faith:

The Jewish religion has commonly accepted divorce as a fact of life, even if it is a very unfortunate one. The Jewish community generally maintains that Shalom Bayit, domestic peace and harmony, is the most desirable state, and it’s better for a couple to divorce than to remain together in a state of bitterness and strife.

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