Parshat Emor starts off with two very intriguing Pesukim. “Hashem said to Moshe: Speak to the Kohanim, the sons of Aharon, and say to them: Each of you shall not contaminate himself through a dead person among his people” (21:1-2). There are two questions which one can ask on these Pesukim. First, why does it say “Speak to the Kohanim, the sons of Aaron, and say to them?” This is redundant! The Torah does not waste any words, so why does the Pasuk have to repeat the commandment of talking to the Kohanim? Additionally, why is Moshe told to speak to Aharon’s sons but not to Aharon himself?
Ibn Ezra answers our first question. He says that the first statement refers to the previous chapters and is simply reminding the Kohanim of the laws of Tumah. The second statement tells Moshe to explain to the Kohanim the Mitzvot of this and the following Perakim.
Rabbi Dr. Avraham Twerski answers our second question. He quotes a Midrash which states that when the Jews received the Torah, they were freed from the Malach HaMavet (Angel of Death). How did individuals pass away during this time? People (such as Moshe and Aharon later) died by the “Kiss of God” – Hashem Himself took their souls. However, after the Cheit HaEigel, the Malach HaMavet returned to his position. Knowing that Aharon still felt guilty about his involvement in the Cheit HaEigel, Hashem did not address him in the Pesukim which dealt with natural death and its consequences, which returned due to this sin. If only we could be equally sensitive to the feelings of others.
-Adapted from a Dvar Torah on www.theraphi.com