The parsha that is read this week outside of Israel is a double parsha consisting of both parshat Acharei Mot and Kedoshim. The second of this week’s parshiyot, Kedoshim begins with GOD telling Moshe to “Tell all of the congregation of the Jewish people that they are holy (kadosh) because I (HASHEM) am kadosh” (Vayikra 19:2).

The Noam Elimelech (Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk whose grave I merited to visit four years ago on my Yeshiva in Israel’s trip to Poland), in his commentary on this week’s parsha, makes note of the fact that GOD tells Moshe to tell all of the Jewish people and not just to tell the Jewish people to be holy. The Noam Elimelech points out that when the Torah records GOD telling Moshe to tell the Jewish people something the Jewish people refers to complete and total Tzaddikim (Righteous people). However, when GOD tells Moshe to speak to all of the Jewish people GOD is telling Moshe to speak to people that are not complete Tzaddikim. Since GOD commands all of the congregation of the Jewish people to become holy, this means that all of the Jewish people (which is what we mean by not complete and total Tzaddikim) and not just the most righteous Jews have the potential to achieve high levels of holiness.

The Torah in many places discusses the holiness we can achieve. One of the ways is by sanctifying GOD’s name or Kiddush HASHEM by acting as a role model for others around us. However, on the flip side next week’s parsha ( or this week’s parsha in Israel) also discusses how we also have the responsibility to not desecrate, GOD’s name GOD forbid.

May we merit to actualize the unique holiness we all possess and use it to sanctify and not defile GOD’s name bringing us to the days of Moschiach may he come speedily in our days.

Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom, Gut Shabbes-Gidon Herschander 

  • The reason why the parshiyot inside and outside of Israel are different from each other is as follows. Outside of Israel the eight day of Pesach this year fell on Shabbat resulted in those in the diaspora reading the Torah portion for the eighth day of Pesach and not the normal weekly parsha. However, in Israel, were Pesach is only seven days, the day right after Pesach was just a normal Shabbat were the normal weekly parsha was read. This resulted in Israel being a week ahead of those in the diaspora in weekly parshiyot.