If someone were to ask you “Are you a (holy) kadosh person?” how would you respond? This question is not only meaningful it is also crucial in the third book of the Torah (Leviticus) Vayikra which we will begin to read this month.

The first Torah (portion) Parashat K’doshim in Vayikra begins with an exhortation to be (holy) kadosh as God is kadosh. Following this (commandment) mitzvah is a set of instructions on how to be kadosh. A code of conduct known as the “Holiness Code.” It begins with (respect) kavod for our parents and God and then proceeds to laws governing our relationship with our fellow human beings. We are instructed neither to insult the deaf nor to place a stumbling block before the blind. We are commanded to be fair in our judgments and in our business dealings. Holiness can be found in our relationships with other people and with God. It is revealed when we are just and compassionate. It is manifest when we are respectful of others and ethical in our behavior.

The Holiness Code teaches us how to be (holy) kadosh when we are angry, when we dislike someone and when we need to reproach someone. It is easy to act in a (holy) kadosh manner when everyone is getting along and nothing is upsetting us. However, our true character is seen when we face challenges from personalities that may not gel with our own. For example, how can we properly stand up for ourselves without incurring guilt from the manner in which we reproach another person? Is it truly possible to observe the (commandment) mitzvah of “loving our neighbor as we love ourselves” (Vayirka 19:18)?

Through these Torah texts we struggle with the complexities

involved in loving one’s fellow human being as one loves oneself. The Torah also teaches us that we are commanded not to hold a grudge. This (commandment) mitzvah protects us from our own feelings of intense anger and frustration.

May these thought provoking Torah texts motivate us when making various difficult decisions in life to always pose the question: Am I a kadosh person? May this be God’s will. Cain yehi rahtzone.

L’Shalom, Rabbi Erica

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