April 22, 2021 / 10 Iyar, 5781 • Parshat Acharei - Kedoshim
Issue 663
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman


The seventh section of the Book of Leviticus, Kedoshim, continues the theme of the preceding section. The Jewish people, having been made into “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” at the Giving of the Torah, must adhere to a specific code of conduct in order to fulfill this role properly. Thus, this section opens as G-d instructs Moses to tell the Jewish people that they must be “holy” (Kedoshim, in Hebrew), i.e., that they must hold themselves to this standard of conduct.

Leviticus 19:1-20:27

How to Become Holy

G-d instructed Moses to tell the people,
“You must sanctify yourselves and be holy.”

Leviticus 20:7

The Talmudic sages assure us that when we sanctify ourselves even in some small way, G-d helps us become holy in a great way. When we resist the urge to indulge in some material pleasure, we generate an increase of holiness and of positive spiritual energy, which then descends and rests upon us.

This verse, then, can be interpreted as follows: “Sanctify yourself,” i.e., act in some holy way, even if such behavior seems to be beyond your present spiritual level, and you will “be holy”—ultimately you will attain that level of holiness, on account of the great holy energy that you have generated, which will then descend upon you.

—from Daily Wisdom #1