Shabbat Commentary

10/11 Apr : Kedoshim : Shabbat comes in 8:24 pm,  ends  9:36 pm

What is Kadosh/Holy? The Hebrew of “Kedoshim tihyu ki kadosh ani” is ambivalent; cast in the future tense for ourselves (“you shall be holy”) and in the present for God (“for I am holy”). It is not actually clear whether God is describing, commanding or causing the holiness that will be ours.  It is a dynamic formulation, capable of any of these interpretations and more. Masorti-Conservative “Etz Hayim” Torah Commentary notes (to Lev. 19:2) that Samson Raphael Hirsch defined holiness as “occurring ‘when a morally free human being has complete dominion over one’s own energies and inclinations and the temptations associated with them, and places them at the service of God’s will’.”

Theologian Martin Buber felt that holiness consists not in rising above one’s neighbours, but in “recognizing the divinity in other people… as God recognizes the latent divinity in each of us.”  In South Asia and among yoga practitioners, the greeting Namaste is common – “I greet the Divine in you.”  It is a greeting that focuses on the other person, far more deeply than our normal “Hi! How are you doing?”   Recognizing and greeting the holy in others — whether an acquaintance on the street or a marriage partner — enhances the holy in us.

Written by Rabbi Paul Arberman




May 9, 2019