Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday Kavvanah, 4/27/2011 - What does it mean to be holy?

Parashat Qedoshim opens this week with a sweeping mitzvah (commandment):

קְדֹשִׁים תִּהְיוּ כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אֲנִי ה' אֱלֹהֵיכֶם
Qedoshim tihyu ki qadosh ani Adonai eloheikhem
You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. (Leviticus 19:2)

The question is simply aching to be asked: what does it mean to be holy?

Of course, the answer given by the traditional commentators is all that follows in the rest of the parashah: honoring your parents, keeping the Shabbat, leaving the corners of your fields unharvested for the poor, and so forth. Scholars refer to this series of laws as the Holiness Code.

Perhaps a modern holiness code might include the following general principles: striving to make the right choices (most of the time, we know what they are!), working hard to see the good in others, improving oneself, and making this world a better place.

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