Click Here to Sponsor Daily Halacha
"Delivered to Over 6000 Registered Recipients Each Day"

Download print

Parashat Kedoshim: Complementing One Another

The Torah in Parashat Kedoshim presents a large number of Misvot, covering a very wide range of topics. This Parasha begins with G-d instructing Moshe to present these commands "El Kol Adat Beneh Yisrael" – "to the entire congregation of the Children of Israel." Rashi, based on the Midrash, explains this to mean that this section was given "Be’hak’hel" – at an assembly of the entire nation. These laws needed to be presented to everyone all together, because, Rashi explains, "Rob Gufeh Torah Teluyin Bah" – loosely translated, this section contains most of the essential principles of the Torah.

We might, however, suggest a deeper interpretation of Rashi’s comment.

The Gemara in Masechet Hulin (7) states: "Yisrael are all holy. There are those who want but do not have, and there are those who have but do not want." Some people yearn to perform Misvot and dispense kindness, but lack the resources to do so, whereas other have the resources, but lack the desire.

Surprisingly, the Gemara introduces this observation by stating, "Kol Yisrael Kedoshim" – all Jews are holy. How could the Gemara make such a comment before noting that there are those among us who have the ability to perform Misvot but do not? How can they also be holy?

Tosafot explain that the people mentioned by the Gemara do not want to give, but because they are ashamed, they bring the needy into their homes and feed them. Therefore, even they are "holy," because they give charity, albeit for less than pure motives.

The Slonimer Rebbe (Rav Shalom Noah Berezovsky, 1911-2000) explains the Gemara differently. He writes that for a Misva to be complete, it must be performed to perfection, and also accompanied by a genuine desire to serve G-d. Very often, however, people have only one without the other. Some people have the sincere desire to perform Misvot, but are unable to perform them properly, whereas others have the ability to perform Misvot, and indeed perform Misvot, but without zeal and passion for Misvot. The Slonimer Rebbe observed that in the generation of the Holocaust, there were Jews who desperately wanted to perform Misvot, but were unable to do so. They wanted so badly to eat Masa, eat in a Sukka, light Hanukah candles, wear Tefillin, and so on, but were denied these opportunities. In the generations after the Holocaust, the opposite is true. We have the opportunity to perform Misvot, and we do perform Misvot, but we lack the kind of desire and passion that Misvot deserve.

The Slonimer Rebbe proceeded to teach that when we come together in heart and spirit with the previous generations, we form complete Misvot. Our practical observance of the Misvot combines with the desire and yearning for Misvot felt by our predecessors, and then we all together are credited with the performance of perfect Misvot.

With this in mind, we could perhaps suggest an explanation of Rashi’s comment regarding Parashat Kedoshim. Rashi writes that this Parasha contains "Rob Gufeh Torah" – many Misva actions which must be performed. The word "Guf" ("body") refers to bodily actions, and thus Rashi speaks here of the practical aspect of Misvot. In order for these actions to be complete, they need the required emotion and feeling, which not everyone is capable of experiencing. And therefore, this Parasha had to be taught "Be’hak’hel," with everyone together. Hashem wanted to show the people that they need to come together in order to complement one another, such that each person contributes his or her portion. Some will be able to perform the actions, while others will be unable to perform the actions, but will be able to supply the thoughts and feelings.

We are all different. We each have very different strengths, weaknesses, skills, resources and limitations. When we harmoniously blend together, with mutual respect and unity, we complement one another and are then able to create the kind of perfect, sacred nation that we are to create. Let us strive to get along with and respect all our fellow Jews, even those who are very different from us, so we complement one another and together become the nation that Hashem wants us to be.

Related Parasha
Parashat Ahare Mot- Planting Our Spiritual Trees - 2023 Year
Kedoshim- The Reward for Honoring Parents - 2022 Year
Parashat Ahareh Mot- Feeling Hashem’s Presence - 2022 Year
Shevi'i Shel Pesah- Achieving True Freedom - 2022 Year
Pesah: Remembering the Root Cause of the Egyptian Exile - 2022 Year
Parashat Ahare Mot/Kedoshim: Keeping Hashem’s Presence Among Us - 2021 Year
Parashat Kedoshim- Understanding the Three Years of Orla - 2019 Year
The Hafetz Haim’s Theory of Relativity - 2019 Year
The “Intoxication” of the Seder - 2019 Year
Kedoshim: Kedusha – A Group Effort - 2018 Year
Parashat Kedoshim: The Right Way to Criticize - 2017 Year
Parashat Kedoshim: Modern-Day Idolatry - 2016 Year
Parashat Ahareh-Mot: The Impact of Our Actions - 2016 Year
Pesah: G-d’s Promise at the Shores of the Yam Suf - 2016 Year
Pesah- Reward for a Kiddush Hashem - 2016 Year
Parashat Kedoshim: Giving Criticism - 2015 Year
Parashat Kedoshim: What Does “Holy” Mean? - 2014 Year
Parashat Ahare Mot- The Lesson of the White and Gold Garments - 2014 Year
Parashat Kedoshim: Paying Workers on Time - 2013 Year
Parashat Kedoshim- Parenting and Holiness - 2011 Year
Shabbat Morning Class - Pesah - 2011 Year
Parashat Behaalotecha- Rectification is Always Possible
Parashat Naso- Emuna First
Shavuot- Celebrating the Eternal Torah
Shavuot- The Challenge – and Rewards – of Torah Commitment
Parashat Behar- Experiencing the Sweetness and Delight of Torah
Parashat Emor- Keter Shem Tob 'The Crown of Good Reputation'
Parashat Ahare Mot- Planting Our Spiritual Trees
Parashat Shemini- Respect and Reverence in the Synagogue
Pesah: Redemption Then and Now
Pesah- Its A Mirage
Parashat Vayikra- The Triple Sin of Dishonesty
Parashat Pekudeh- Counting the Things That Matter
Parashat Ki Tisa- The Sanctity of Every Jew
Purim and the Sale of Yosef
Parashat Terumah- The Torah’s “Footsteps”
Page of 67
1002 Parashot found