Parashat Kedoshim is filled with tens of Mitzvot that Moshe passes on to Bnei Yisrael. The unifying theme of all these Mitzvot is”you shall be holy”. Holiness, the Torah teaches us, is achieved through the observance of Mitzvot.
There is one Mitzva of the 613 Mitzvot, which more than all the others symbolizes holiness: the Mitzva of Kiddush HaShem, the sacrifice of life for the sanctification of God’s name. Yet this Mitzva of “And I will be sanctified among the People of Israel”, does not appear in this week’s Parasha, but in next week’s Parasha (VaYikra 22:32).
Wouldn’t it be more appropriate for this particular Mitzva to appear in this week’s Parasha with its heading of Kedoshim?
It appears that the Torah is attempting to teach us a lesson in true holiness according to Judaism. Holiness, from Judaism’s perspective, does not entail removing oneself from worldly pursuits and life itself. True, we are willing to sacrifice ourselves for the core values of our belief, because we understand that life itself has value only when it expresses the divine aspects of life. So when a Jew is asked to deny the Divine content in his life, he is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice and thereby sanctify God’s name.
Yet, this is a painful reality that is far from the ideal to which we strive and negates the goals for which we live. This sacrificing of a life is not the ideal expression of holiness and therefore its place is not in our Parasha with its many living examples of holiness.
Parashat Kedoshim describes holiness in its most basic and primal form. Holiness that is revealed in life itself. A life of everyday events connected each moment to the Creator of the World. These banal, routine aspects of life give the greatest expression to holiness. Through these moments, Man reveals his connection to Hashem. Even the simplest activities of existence are part of serving Hashem.
This explains why our Parahasa opens with the Mitzva of respect for ones parents. The relationship with ones’ parents, with whom one lives twenty four hours a day, who constantly push for excellence in all aspects of life, is the truest test of the level of holiness one has attained.
Yehi Ratzon – May we merit to sanctify our lives in every moment of our lives.