A Tidbit of Torah – Parshat Kedoshim 5784

A Tidbit of Torah – Parshat Kedoshim 5784

“Speak to the whole Israelite community and say to them: You shall be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.”                          Vayikra / Leviticus 19:2 

The Holy Blessed One said to Moses: “Go and say to Israel: ‘My children! As I am separate, so you be separate; as I am holy, so you be holy.”‘                            Vayikra Rabbah 24:4

What does it mean to live a life of holiness?

Vayikra Rabbah suggests that the root meaning of the word kadosh, holy, means separate. In some religious traditions, people who seek to live a holy life remove themselves from the everyday world, joining religious communities devoted to prayer, contemplation, and meditation.

Hatam Sofer [Rabbi Moses Schreiber, 1762-1839, Pressburg, Hungary]

The Torah does not demand a holiness of withdrawal and asceticism.

Martin Buber, cited in Nehama Leibowitz, Studies in Vayikra, p. 167

God is the absolute authority over the world because He is separate from it and transcends it, but He is not withdrawn from it. Israel must in imitating God by being a holy nation similarly not withdraw from the world of the nations but rather radiate a positive influence on them through every aspect of Jewish living.

How do the other authors quoted here believe the Torah wants us, all of us, to live lives of holiness in the world?

Is holiness attainable in the real world?

How might we live a more holy life as individuals and as a community?

Shabbat Shalom –

Rabbi David M. Eligberg