Thought of the Week: Kedoshim - 5782


What defines a holy person?  This question is a very important one, since we are told in Pareshat Kedoshim to be holy.

Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, commonly known as Nachmanides, in his commentary explains that a person could be addicted passionately, to all kinds of activities and behaviors, and at the same time claim that they are all technically permissible.  He notes that following the letter of the law, while violating its spirit, makes a person a Naval Birshut HaTorah – a degenerate within the confines of the Torah.  Thus, being holy is to use the magnificent physical world we live in, but not allow it to control us.

The idea that Kedusha is not a complete detachment from the world, but rather a proper use of it, is an integral part of our Shabbat.  Making the blessing on the wine on Friday night is called Kiddush, from the word Kaddosh, or holiness.  Wine, the beverage of pleasure, luxury and satisfaction, when used for the service of Hashem, becomes part of the holiness. 

Judaism is not about detachment from the world, but rather about the elevation of the world.  When doing physical acts for the sake of Heaven, they become part of our service to Hashem.  The goal of a Torah Jew is to have every aspect of life imbued with the teachings and values of our tradition.

Shabbat Shalom