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What Does it Mean to be a Holy Person?

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23.04.2021

You shall not curse the deaf, or place a stumbling block before the blind. You shall fear your God: I am the Lord” (Vayikra 19, 14).

Parshat Kedoshim opens with a simple statement: Be holy. Why? Because I the Lord your God, am holy. It’s a statement that echoes all the way back in the Book of Shemot, just before Am Yisrael received the Torah: “And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6).

But what does it mean to be holy? Seemingly the text doesn’t explain it, and moves on to recount no less than 51 different mitzvot ranging from leaving the corners of one’s field for the poor to the prohibition of cross-breeding animals to the obligation to love a fellow Jew. And then at the end of the parsha, the text again reiterates the requirement to be holy.

But what does it mean to be holy? The text seemingly leaves this out. But if we read the two commandments at the beginning and the end of the parsha as brackets, so to speak, then all the mitzvot contained between these two statements can be seen as the means for achieving holiness.

In other words, the seemingly random list of mitzvot........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)


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