Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshios Acharei Mos & Kedoshim

Everyday Holiness

The word kdoshim is usually translated as holy. This is a difficult translation, although the word can certainly mean holy. The difficulty lies in defining the word holy in practical terms. One personís holiness is sometimes the destruction of others Ė witness all of the ďholy warsĒ fought over the course of human civilization. A precise definition of holiness is elusive. Perhaps, therefore, the concept of kdoshim, with regard to definition, can be seen more in terms of commitment and dedication. God desires, so to speak, that we be committed to His program and goals for the Jewish people and for humanity generally.

This is also perhaps the understanding of the famous comment of Ramban on this subject that kdoshim demands that we do so with those areas of life that are permitted to us by the Torah. Even in our mundane pursuits in life, having apparently little to do with our state of being holy or pious, in those acts of life that are eminently permissible and sometimes even necessary for our overall welfare, we should still be committed to see the enhancement of Godís program in those actions as well and not only in our performance of ritual and in the observance of commandments. Great flashes of spiritual uplift occur sporadically, even rarely, in oneís lifetime. But commitment to Godís Torah and to its values is an everyday possibility and requirement. And that is the crux of Godís demand upon us to be kdoshim.

Sfat Emet in his commentary to a previous parsha (Shmini) remarks that one of the great manifestations of the yetzer haraa Ė the evil inclination that lurks within all humans Ė is the refusal to see God in the small and ordinary things in life. Nature is certainly natural but it is also Godly. The wonders of the world about us, the exquisite balance within our bodies that sustains life, even the mortality that is our fate, all bespeak of a connection to the Creator of all. Commitment is the tool of focus that allows us to overcome this yetzer haraa. Many times in life, people drift along aimlessly, eventually suffering great psychological discomfort from this state.

The Torah comes to make our lives purposeful and not aimless. One has myriad opportunities daily to do Godís bidding and to advance the causes of goodness and virtue. This is true no matter what profession or occupation one is engaged in. It is true in retirement years as it was true in years of professional or business productivity. The commandment kdoshim applies to all times and circumstances in life. We read and hear of people during the Holocaust who refused to lose their humanity and remained committed in the worst of imaginable circumstances. The struggle to inculcate the Torahís value system into our daily lives is a challenging and ongoing one. But it is a struggle that can be won if pursued with tenacity and commitment. That is certainly the challenge the Torah advances to us in requesting that be kdoshim.

Shabat shalom.

Rabbi Berel Wein


Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Berel Wein and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON LECH LECHA:

View Complete List

Use Them or Lose Them
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

The Beginning & End of the Journey
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

From Egypt to Israel
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

> Long Distance Call
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

Lotís and Lots of Opportunities
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

Hey, Hey, Hey!
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

ArtScroll

Go to the Land of Canaan
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Redefining Pleasure
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

Living Miraculously
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Wake-Up Call
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

Nowhere Man
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Avraham Initiated The 2000 Years of Torah
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Don't Doubt My G-d
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5775

The Dawn of a New Era
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5759

A Fuzzy Picture
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Every Drop Matters
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information