Devar Torah Acharei Mos/Kedoshim 5781

G-d commands the Jewish people to be “HOLY”. Is He kidding?

In Parshas Kedoshim, G-d doesn’t just say “Be holy!”. He says to Moshe that Moshe should “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Yisrael, and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.'”

“ALL”. G-d is telling ALL the Jews to be holy. (that includes YOU, whoever YOU are!)

And G-d doesn’t tell someone to do something unless He knows that he can do it. That means even someone who considers himself to be a “sinner” can also become holy.

Next question: What is the essence of the commandment to become holy?

Answer: It is the ability of a human being to exhibit self-control over things that he desires.

Do you like cookies? Children certainly do. Nothing wrong with liking and eating kosher cookies. But a child – if left on his own – will take one cookie. Then another. Then another. He has no self-control over his desires.

Adults face this problem. Probably not with cookies. But perhaps with adult food. Or with adults of the opposite sex? If both parties are available, then an adult with no self-control might ask, “why not?”

But G-d commands us to be holy. It doesn’t mean sleeping on the floor and eating bread and water. But it does mean not allowing our desires to rule over us.

The Rabbi known as the “Raavad” suggested a fast to help train a person to control his desires. Towards the end of the meal the Raavad suggests that if you have had sufficient food and are satisfied, that you should leave over some food on your plate to practice self-control. As Rabbi Yisroel Brog described it, if you have a pizza and you don’t like the crust, then leaving over the crust won’t help you work towards this goal. But if you have a normal meal, and perhaps there are one or two french fries remaining, or perhaps one bite left of the sandwich, leave it over and say “I am leaving this over to practice my self-control in order to become Holy.”

By practicing this easy self-control, a person can then be ready to practice self-control in more difficult situations, and situations in which the Torah demands self-control (such as eating forbidden foods, stealing, and having illicit relations).

May all of us become Holy Jews.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply