Kahal Joseph Congregation

310.474.0559 / webmaster@kahaljoseph.org
10505 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025

Rabbi’s Message

Rabbi Natan Halevy

Parashat Kedoshim 5784, BSD

Shalom Uvracha.

The Parasha begins with the verse, “And Hashem spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the entire congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them, You shall be holy, for I Hashem, your G-d am holy”.

At first glance, how could there be any comparison between the holiness of Hashem and the holiness of us, as physical beings? To answer, the Midrash quotes the prophet Isaiah,  “And the Lord of Hosts will be exalted in judgment, and the Holy G-d shall be sanctified through charity and righteousness”. Hashem becomes sanctified through our righteousness and charity that we fulfill. Hashem is telling us that we should perform holy deeds that bring holiness upon us. This brings us closer to Hashem’s holiness.

Before Moshe said this Parasha, Hashem commanded him to gather the entire congregation to hear it. Most Torah portions were not recited in front of the entire congregation. Different groups would enter before Moshe separately. However for Parashat Kedoshim Hashem made a distinction to give it honor and show the special importance of this part of the Torah, since it has foundational  parts of the Torah within it. Just like the Ten commandments which were also witnessed by all of  the people of Israel. Indeed, this Parasha also contains the Ten commandments with a slight variation in the words. Like the first commandment, Hashem repeats here “I am Hashem your G-d”, only it is stated in the plural here.

Since the ten commandments were stated in the language of the singular, the Jewish people might claim they were only commanded to Moshe. Therefore Hashem repeated them here in the plural. Corresponding to the second commandment, “You should have no other G-d’s”, Kedoshim states, “nor shall you make molten deities for yourselves”. Corresponding to the 3rd commandment, “Don’t say Hashem’s name in Vain”, Kedoshim states “You shall not swear falsely by My Name. The 4th commandment, “Remember the Shabbat”,Kedoshim states, “Guard my Shabbats”. The 5fth commandment, “Honor your father and mother”, Kedoshim states, “A person should fear the Mother and Father”. The 6th commandment, “Don’t murder”, Kedoshim states, “A person should not stand over their friends blood”. 

This shows we have an obligation to save someone who is in a life threatening or dangerous situation if we are able to. The 7th commandment, “Do not adulter”. Kedoshim states, “Adultery can lead to capital punishment”. The 8th commandment, “do not steal”, is also stated in the plural in Kedoshim. The 9th commandment, “do not bear false witness”.

Kedoshim states, “We must not be gossipers in our nation who spread rumors and lies”. The 10th Commandment, “Do not covet”. Kedoshim states, “you should love your friend like yourself”. The Zohar on Kedoshim teaches us the power of Torah learning. The Torah is higher and more valuable to a person than all the sacrifices. Even if there is a bad decree on a person, the Torah a person learns has the power to nullify it and rip it up.

A person who learns Torah becomes beloved to Hashem. The Torah purifies us. The Torah brings physical and spiritual healing into our lives. After we are purified, the Torah sanctifies us, as the Torah has the holiness of Hashem within it.

May we be blessed to internalize all these matters.

Shabbat Shalom Umevorach!

Kahal Joseph Congregation

10505 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025
310.474.0559 / webmaster@kahaljoseph.org