Monday, April 27, 2015

Acharei Mot / K’doshim

 Leviticus 16:1-20:27

Ethical Mitzvot

Rabbi Steven Pik-Nathan for Jewish Reconstructionist Communities

Kedoshim is one of a series of three parashiot whose focus is the development of societal norms and the creation of what has come to be called the Holiness Code. The name of the parasha Kedoshim comes from the imperative with which it opens "You shall be holy people (kedoshim ti'hyu) for I the Eternal your God am holy." As beings created in the image of the Divine we are meant to be holy. The parasha explains what this means by listing numerous rules focusing on holy behavior within the framework of creating a new society. The central mitzvah of this parasha, indeed of the entire Torah, is "v'ahavta l'rayakha kamocha" - "you shall love your fellow human being as yourself." All of the mitzvot, as arcane and absurd as some of them may seem to us today, are meant to teach us how to treat others with love as fellow human beings created in the image of God.

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