Parshat Acharei Mot – Kedoshim

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קְדֹשִׁים תִּהְיוּ: כִּי קָדוֹשׁ, אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם

וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ

This week’s parshah is situated right in the middle of the Torah; we can therefore imagine that its themes and messages are central to Judaism.

Unsurprisingly two well-known verses are found in this portion:
– Ye shall be holy; for I the LORD your God am holy. (Vayikra 19:2)
– Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Vayikra 19:18).

The first one refers to the mitzvot between man and God: religious discipline, studying God’s laws and obeying the commandments. The second one concerns those between man and man, especially loving our fellow being.

The correct equilibrium between the two is difficult. One may focus on spiritual development to the detriment of the people around them. Conversely it is also possible to care for the whole world while forgetting that one’s inner life is part and parcel of our human condition.

The parshah invites us to take the time this Shabbat to look into our lives and question our choices. It also reminds us that one commandment doesn’t go without the other and that in order to love our neighbor, we must learn how God teaches us to do it and trust his laws.

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6 thoughts on “Parshat Acharei Mot – Kedoshim

  1. I always enjoy your parshah posts!

    Thank you for reminding us that Judaism demands that we value and observe both the mitzvot which are between man and God and the mitzvot which are between man and man. After all, the Asseret HaDibrot (the Ten Commandments) are divided equally between the two.

  2. “One may focus on spiritual development to the detriment of the people around them. Conversely it is also possible to care for the whole world while forgetting that one’s inner life is part and parcel of our human condition.” – beautifully said

    I remember learning about “kedoshim tehiyu” – kashrut is related to this. My husband often has to go to luncheons with fancy food where he can eat nothing. I was invited to one soon, because of the social media competition, and his response was, now you get to sit and watch others eat. Somehow kashrut is about separating ourselves and loving our neighbors is about getting along.

    • Where my brother works, when they have to eat out for a business meeting, they ask the Jewish guys about their level of kashrut before they decide where to eat. Sometimes, in Paris not HK, they have ended up in fancy Jewish restaurants.

      • Unfortunately, there is only one kosher restaurant near my husband’s work. It is decent Chinese food, but not as good as the fancy Italian places his co-workers prefer. There used to be a kosher deli (now they just do catering), but his co-workers confessed they prefer cheese with their deli sandwiches. And real cream in their coffee. And the prices of that deli were sky-high compared to the non-kosher place down the street.

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