Parashat Kedoshim¬†‚ÄstErev Shabbat¬†29 April, 2022 (5782)
Week of 24 – 30 April, 2022
Torah portion: Lev.19 :1- 20 :27  Haftarah: 1 Sam. 20 :18Theme: God is holy and my call to Holiness

Kedoshim, Hebrew for ‚Äúholy one‚ÄĚ, is the 30th¬†weekly Torah portion in the Jewish cycle of¬†theTorah reading.¬†Parashat Kedoshim¬†begins with the demand for the Israelites to be holy (kadosh) on account of their relationship with¬†kedosh Yisrael¬†‚Äď ‚ÄúThe Holy One of Israel‚ÄĚ.¬†The LORD¬†spoke to Moses and said, ‚ÄúSpeak to the entire assembly of the people of Israel and say to them, ‚ÄėYou shall be holy, for I the LORD¬†your God am holy‚Äô‚Ä̬†(Lev.¬†19:1-2). With these two verses, I am moved to explore:¬†1)¬†the¬†notion of¬†the¬†holiness of the LORD¬†God;¬†2) the call to Holiness of the people of Israel and the call¬†of¬†humanity to holiness; and,¬†3) account¬†for¬†my relationship with the LORD¬†my God.

In my first visit to Bat¬†Kol in 2005, the late Jack O‚ÄôDriscoll said, ‚Äúin your time in Bat¬†Kol, in Jerusalem, expect a blessing‚ÄĚ. There were so many glimmers of blessings:¬†especially the¬†blessings of singing and meditating on those Hebrew songs. The song about the Holiness of God,¬†Kadosh Kadosh¬†Kadosh Adonai Elohim tz‚Äôva‚Äôot, (Holy,¬†holy,¬†holy,O LORD¬†our God,¬†LORD¬†of hosts). In the Weekly Torah Reading it stated, ‚ÄúKadosh¬†connotes the sphere of the sacred that is radically separate from all that is sinful and profane‚ÄĚ. The word¬†kedushah (from the root k-d-sh) means sanctify or ‚Äúset-apart‚ÄĚ). The other song that was inspiring was the ‚ÄúShalom Aleichem‚ÄĚ (Peace Be Unto You). There are four verses in this song and the last line of every verse is the same,¬†Hakadosh Baruch Hu (The Holy One, blessed be He). Holy describes what¬†is¬†divine and what pertains to it:¬†‚ÄúI am God and not man, the Holy One present among you‚ÄĚ (Hos. 11:9). We hear in Islam, Judaism and in Christianity the attributes¬†of¬†the notion of the Holiness of the LORD¬†God.¬†

One of my ministries is teaching Scripture in our Local State High School. I often speak of Hafiz¬†(ca.¬†1320-1389),¬†the¬†great Muslim Mystic and Poet, who said, ‚ÄúI am in love with every church and mosque, temple and any kind of shrine. I know it is there that people say the different names of the One God.‚ÄĚ The Holy One, blessed is he, who loves everyone;¬†the Holiness of God, who embraces everyone.

The call to Holiness of the people of Israel, is a call to holiness to the Gentiles and to the rest of Humanity. The call to holiness is mentioned three times in our¬†Parashah:¬†‚ÄúYou shall be holy, for I the LORD¬†your God am holy‚Ä̬†(Lev. 19:2).¬†‚ÄúConsecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God‚Ä̬†(Lev.¬†20:7).¬†‚ÄúYou shall be holy to me, for I the LORD am¬†holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine‚Ä̬†(Lev. 20:26).

In the language of the Second Testament, 1 Peter 1:13-25 calls all people to live a life of holiness. Literally, holy living means that the Christians live a life that is set apart, reserved to give glory to God. It is a life of discipline, focus, and attention to matters of righteous living.

The Universal call to holiness is a teaching in Christianity that all people are called to be holy, and is based on Matt. 5:48 ‚ÄúFor your part you shall be righteous and perfect in the way your heavenly Father is perfect‚ÄĚ.

For Reflection and Discussion: 1. ‚ÄúI the LORD your God am Holy.‚ÄĚ How do I comprehend this notion? 2. What is the call to holiness in the First Testament, and in the Second Testament? 3. How is my journey in my personal call to holiness?

Bibliography: Chabad.org: The Jerusalem Bible, Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd 1974.

This week’s Parasha Commentary was prepared by
Aliki A Langi
, Tonga, Bat Kol Alumnus: 2005, 2018

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