What is more important, to provide instruction regarding what should be done or to deliver impact and meaning?
In introducing the laws directed to a Kohen, the Torah states: “Hashem said to Moshe, Emor, say to the Kohanim, the sons of Aharon, V’amarta, and say to them, each of you shall not contaminate himself to a dead person amongst his people.” There is a noticeable redundancy here. Why does it state, “Emor, say to the Kohanim,” and then repeat, “V’amarta, and say to them”?
This is to teach that hearing the law and following it is insufficient. The Kohanim, after learning the information, must make certain ‘to say,’ to convey the laws to others. Who are the others? They are the children. The importance of teaching others, particularly children, applies to all of the laws in the Torah. Why was it that when dealing with the laws related to a Kohen, this lesson was imparted? Laws of holiness need fortification. First of all, since they do not apply to everyone, the issues involved are not a simple matter of right or wrong. Additionally, matters of holiness are established for people to live on a higher plane. If a person is not cautious, he might be caught off guard, and follow the more common example of others. Therefore the extra fortification is needed.
A practice for all Klal Yisrael, men, women and children, is to take a utensil and wash one’s hands each morning with a blessing. One reason is because each day, when we awake, it is like we are created anew. In appreciation of G-d, who created us to serve Him, we are directed to be sanctified in His Holiness. Thus, we are charged to take a utensil, fill it with water, and wash our hands as the Kohen did who poured water from the laver upon his hands, prior to the service in the Beis Hamikdash.
Although the requirement is for adults, and youngsters who have reached the age of education, they are encouraged to begin the practice from the time that they begin to touch food. Regarding those who start after a Bris is performed, Kadosh yeamer lo, holy is said upon him. This is not a matter to be treated lightly. Starting the practice at an early stage, aids in having pure and holy offspring. A simple practice performed each day could be a matter of routine or elevation.
The words used to indicate that the Kohen must direct his offspring is, “Lehazhir gedolim al haketanim.” The gedolim, the elders, must be mazhir, warn and lead, the ketanim, the young ones. Lehazhir also means to shine. It is not simply instruction that is needed. Rather the elders should be an influence, radiating with holiness and affecting the same in their offspring. The instruction is given to the Kohen. The lesson applies to all.
Are we satisfied to educate others in how to act, or do we strive to be a beacon of holiness, bringing others to shine?
Rabbi Hershel D. Becker
 Emor 21:1
 Rashi ibid. Yevamos 114a
 Rashba; see Orach Chaim 4:1, Mishneh Berurah 1
 Ibid. Mishneh Berurah 10
 Shulchan Aruch Harav
 Ben Ish Chai in the name of Chessed L’Avraham; see Taleli Oros pp. 48-50; Piskei Teshuvos 0rach Chaim 4:8 notes
 Rashi ibid. Yevamos 114a