Parsha: Kedoshim (2024)

What does it mean to “be holy”?

If you ask the general public what holy means, you will most likely receive a reply that express asceticism.

When we want to describe holiness we may think of someone on the top of the Himalayan mountains mediating, not dealing with the typical daily struggles. The more holy you are, the more you are removed from reality.

Some cultures and religions truly feel this way. One example is found in the realm of relationships and marriage. Where they tend to think that intimacy and marriage is not conducive to an ideal life of holiness. As a result of this philosophy, their spiritual leader ideally should not be married.

However, Judaism has a very different view. Holiness is very much grounded in reality. Real holiness is bringing our spiritual inspiration into our daily struggles.

A successful and very busy business person, can achieve more holiness in the office than the one meditating on a blissful mountain. The busy parent brings holiness through the “oys” and joys of caring for small children, more than the secluded spiritual guru.

It is here in the real world where Holiness and G-dliness needs to be shared.

The one working hard at business can do so by being honest and giving charity. The young parent does so through the endless care and dedication that children require.

This point is underscored in this week’s parsha Kedoshim. It opens up with a command to “be holy”.

What follows is a list of things that are basic rules of morality.

Don’t place a stumbling block in front of a blind person, honour your parents, not to take a bribe, not to take revenge, or hold a grudge. Reminding us that the real holiness is found in our day-to-day reality.

As we make the right choices in our home and office, we fulfill the real purpose of why we were created, to bring G-dliness and holiness into our world.