The Holiness Code

This week’s parasha (reading from Torah) is titled Kedoshim, Holiness.  This chapter teaches us to follow God’s ways, to walk with God.  The chapter is also called “The Holiness Code”, because it is a framework for living a life in imitation of God.  The highest point of this chapter is the commandment found in one form or another in most religious traditions: Love your neighbor as yourself.

This chapter is written in simple language, words that we can all understand.  As God is merciful and forgiving, we must be merciful and forgiving.  As God is gracious, and gives freely to all, so must we. 

Here are Chassidic quotes that reference this beautiful chapter of Torah, found in Rabbi Chaim Stern’s book, Day by Day:

“Do you want people to love you?  Love them first.” (The Bershider Rebbe)

“What in your neighbor is hateful to you, do not do yourself.” (Rabbi Shmelke)

“Do not limit the form in which you wish to serve God – be what the moment calls for.  Be like a vessel into which anything can be poured – wine, milk, or water.” (The Apter Rebbe)

“Learn to be at least as careful in life as we are when we play checkers.  Before we take any action we should think in advance whether we will have cause to regret it.” (Rabbi Bunam)

Happy Israel Independence Day!  May you have a week of blessings and celebration, and a Shabbat of peace.

Rabbi Debbi Israel