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Dvar for Emor (Leviticus 21:1-24:23)

In its designation of Yom Kippur and its associated laws, the Torah clarifies that no work should be done and that “this is an eternal statute for all your generations, in all your dwellings” (23:31). Since the rule included a comprehensive rule about not working anywhere, anytime, what do the words “in all your dwellings” add to our understanding?

Meshech Chochma (p. 228) highlights an important distinction between Shabbat/Yom Kippur and all the other holidays. The rules of both Shabbat and Yom Kippur restrict movement to defined spaces and prohibit cooking and work of any kind – all meant to confine us to our space and enable us to introspect. This intention is highlighted in our passuk (verse) with the words “in all your dwellings,” where we should remain and reflect.