Shabbat Kedoshim 5776–Opportunities for Holiness

The essence and framework, perhaps the prime directive, of our faith is contained in this week’s Parasha as we are all commanded to be Kadosh-Holy. Leviticus 19:2. But what is holiness? Our sages have a variety of ways to understand this mandate.

The one I like best is one that says that it is not sufficient to merely live by the letter of the law. Rather, we must look for ways to effectuate the most beautiful meaning and purpose God could intend for us.

In all that we do, we are to look for ways to honor and respect others and be caring and concerned for their needs. Being Kodesh should mean that our behaviors are always glorifying to the Almighty.

We can each evaluate our speech and our actions by whether it would put a smile on God’s face (so to speak) or cause God to feel pride in us.

What is there that cannot be said or done with greater kindness, thought or consideration? Sometimes it is not even what we do, but how we do it or say it.

One meaning of “Kodesh” is to be separate or different. It may be unfortunately true that anyone who actually does look for ways to honor and respect others in all that they say and do would truly be different from the majority.

What a good feeling though if you are thought of as one who elevates others and all they are involved in.

I think of holiness as being that little something extra, the secret sauce of the truly good person. By saying “Kedoshim Tiheyu!”, it is clear that is something to which God would like each of us to strive by looking for opportunities to make a positive difference through acts and words large and small.

Is it possible to ask ourselves each day to do something that is holy? Is there a way to spice up our menu of daily activities with the secret sauce God has given us?

This Shabbat we learn with Ruth Bergman at Adat Shalom Synagogue. 9:45 a.m. in the Shiffman Chapel. Come as you are. Stay as long as you like.

I hope to see you there.

Shabbat shalom,


P.S. June 9th is This year’s Jewish Theological Seminaries Metro Detroit Gala Dinner. There is a wonderful array of honorees form each of our Conservative Synagogues. Honor them and support JTS, the institution that gives us some of our best and brightest Jewish educators, clergy and leaders. I hope to see you at Beth Ahm that evening. Click on this link to learn more and make your reservations: Inspiring the Jewish World Through Leadership and Action. Or call the JTS local office at 248-258-0055.

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