Parshat Acharei Mot – Kedoshim


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.