Weekly Reading Insights: Kedoshim 5765


Overview of the Weekly Reading: Kedoshim

To be read on 28 Nissan 5765 (May 7)

Shabbat Mevarchim

Torah:19:1-20:27; Haftorah Ezekiel 20:2-20

Kedoshim is the 7th Reading out of 10 in Leviticus and 30th overall, and 49th out of 54 in overall length.

Kedoshim begins with a list of many different mitzvos by which the Jews are commanded to “be holy” (19:1). These include honoring parents, keeping Shabbos, the forbidding of idolatry, stealing, false testimony, perversion of justice, hating another Jew, bearing a grudge, mixing wool and linen in one garment, and more, including ‘love one’s neighbor as oneself’ (19/18). This list is then followed by another which concerns forbidden practices as in agricultural laws, consumption of blood, belief in omens, seeking out mediums, tattoos, immorality, removing a man’s sidelocks, and more. The Jews are also commanded to respect elders, have honest weights, loving converts, and a number of other mitzvos. The last section lists transgressions and their corresponding penalties.


From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:30-65/Kedoshim)

So it is that one who receives [instruction] from another [and doesn't learn for himself] is like the moon and planets that only receive their light from the sun and on receiving that light become full of light themselves [without having any of their own to add].

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed (A:30-65/Kedoshim)

If, on the other hand, it is evil, [the one who sees it] will also take [some of its evil] and this will adversely affect his soul. This is the [mystical] meaning of this verse: "do not turn to idols" - lest "you make yourselves" into "molten gods"; if you look at impure things, you will be adversely affected and become like what you look at.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the Shelah, Shney Luchot HaBrit by Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (S:30-65/Kedoshim)

The author of this Midrash proceeds to show that whereas the first of the considerations listed by Rabbi Akavya referred to the body, the second referred to the soul. This explains why he did not use the word for "nothing" when describing the way we are headed as he had described the place we originate from; instead, he refers only to a direction. The soul enters the body "naked", and its task is to leave it after having become a personality, i.e. after having acquired suitable "clothing".

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.


"Do not hate your neighbor in your heart; you shall rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin on his account." (19:17)
The mitzva to rebuke one's fellow is preceded by the warning "You shall not hate your brother in your heart," for it is only when this condition is fulfilled that a person's words will be effective. In fact, if the rebuke was ineffectual, it means that the words were insincere and not coming from the heart.
(Hayom Yom)

"You shall rise in the presence of (mipnei) an old person." (19:32)
The Hebrew word "mipnei" is related to "lifnei," meaning "before." Don't wait until you're old to take care of your spiritual needs, the Torah counsels us. Rather, rise up and do something positive for your soul before your advanced years.
(Maayana Shel Torah)


from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org

MOSHIACH THIS WEEK (M:30-65/Kedoshim)

"Love your neighbor as yourself; I am G-d." (Lev. 19:18)
Love of one's fellow-Jew will bring the final redemption as it states in the Midrash "Israel will not be redeemed until they are united." The reason for the present exile was unwarrented hatred. Only through unwarrented love - love even for those whom we've never, or in whom we see absolutely no redeeming quality - will the redemption come.
(The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

[Reprinted with permission from L'Chaim Magazine (www.lchaim.org).]

An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:30-65/Kedoshim)

The world is realizing the old Talmudic idea "according to the effort is the reward", or a colloquial version "no pain no gain". Personal change requires effort, so don't rely on quick fixes. One of the classic Jewish methods of personal change is the idea of making a periodic spiritual inventory. Chassidic lifestyle requires that this inventory be done daily, before sleep; monthly, at the end of a month; and twice yearly, on a birthday and before Rosh Hashanah.
Once, the Lubavitcher Rebbe suggested making this self-evaluation at the beginning of the month of Iyar! Have we taken in the full impact of last month, Nissan, the month of redemption? By the end of Nissan we should have absorbed all the miracles of the month and be living in a redemptive state of mind!

Have we focused our perspective to see that both our own personal redemption and the final universal redemption are dependent on how we act? Are we ready to take this consciousness into the new month? Now that it is Iyar, if each of us will take the next step towards truly living Judaism, we will undoubtedly accomplish our goal. This idea is reflected in the first word of this week's Torah portion: "Kedoshim" - meaning "sanctified" and "separate". The message is not to remove ourselves from the world, but rather to utilize our "Nissan" ability to elevate it and help it attain its full potential in this era of Mashiach! Jews are supposed to impact their environment - not the other way around. This Rosh Chodesh and Shabbat are a rare opportunity. Make the effort.

Rabbi Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov had certain important principles he felt should guide a person's life: First, we must search within our Torah learning for divine messages of better ways of serving G-d. Second, we must be mindful of the power of speech; Reb Michel was careful that his words not harm anyone, and he always emphasized that whatever he said to someone else was meant first for himself - if it did not apply to "Michel", then he questioned whether it applied to others at all.

He explained and asked us to picture that the source of all speech is in the supernal worlds, which descends to us via divine vessels. Humans are the final vessel and vehicle for the expression of speech. As custodians of this divine element, it is our important responsibility not to harm or taint the divine gift of speech. Furthermore, speech used for Torah study, and prayer can transform us for the better. Therefore, rather than being abused, our faculty of speech must be protected. If mistreated below, speech is affected in its source above.

"A person should be in awe of his mother and father." (Lev. 19:3)

Now, just as in the physical worlds our father and mother are our source in that they grant us life and provide for our needs, so too exist spiritual worlds (partzufim) called "father" (Abba) and "mother" (Imma). These are the spiritual sources of all other worlds, including the source of speech, which is subsequently actualized in our world when we talk.

This week's portion teaches us, "A person should be in awe of his mother and father" (Lev. 19:3). This verse also hints to the "parents" of our speech. When, G-d forbid, one does not speak properly, it causes harm to this lofty source. We must respect this parent in order to maintain propriety. Through words of Torah, mitzvot and appropriate speech, we can actually repair misdeeds and positively affect ourselves.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

P.S. Please also read my weekly Shabbat Law, below.)

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