Parashat Kedoshim // “You Shall Be Holy”

- י ב מ -

What is the highest level of sanctity?

Sanctity is every person’s birthright and can be attained through love and acts of generosity

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy. Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my Sabbaths…Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another. And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:11 – 16

“Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself…Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD. And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.” Leviticus 19:32 – 34

  • Holiness is not only reserved for the select few (such as priests or saints). It is every individual’s privilege. The road to sanctity is paved with love, kindness, and an ethical way of living. The more a person is concerned about others – and sets aside their own ego and needs – the closer they are to saintliness. The key to unlocking holiness is loving others and contributing to our community. Togetherness creates sanctity, which brings us closer to God. That is why the path towards this spiritual level must be paved with ethical behavior and acts of love.
  • Our morality and values are evident when we refuse to indulge in our impulses (anger, resentment, vengeance, spite, etc.) and instead decide to love and accept others despite their defects, help them become better people and, above all, forgive them. Sanctity is about allowing God to be present in every moment and reside inside us. It’s about courageously repelling the forces that stand against all that is good and kind. Sanctity is about spreading love across the world. When our love for others intensifies in an extraordinary manner, we shall know that we have become saintly.

Pearls of Divine Wisdom: “You Shall Be Holy”

  • The purpose of our life is to become saintly. To achieve this, we need to have a great deal of love for others and ourselves. 
  • “You shall be holy” (Leviticus 19:2). Sanctity is about constantly perfecting ourselves spiritually and morally. A saintly person loses their status if they stop striving to be better. 
  • When we genuinely treasure our neighbors and refrain from indulging in destructive behavior – such as judgment or vengeance – we increase love in our world.
  • Sanctity is every human’s birthright. To become saintly, we need to behave with love, perform acts of kindness, and adopt a moral lifestyle. The more a person is preoccupied with the wellbeing of others, the greater is their holiness. 
  • Our morality and values are evidenced when we refuse to indulge in our impulses and negativity and instead choose to love and accept our neighbors, help them become better people, and, most of all, forgive them.
  • When every person cares only for themselves, sanctity vanishes and soulless bodies are all that is left. When we reprimand someone, we must make sure to direct that very criticism at ourselves.

Saintliness is achieved when we overcome negativity and possess absolute certainty that the light of the Creator informs every thought and every deed.