Kenneth Cohen

Ethical Teachings of Parshat Kedoshim

Parshat Kedoshim is known as teaching very foundational laws regarding being ethical. They indicate how high the bar is set for a Jew to have the highest standard in terms of honesty, integrity, and good character.

We are taught that honoring parents, has its limits. We must always be respectful of our parents. But we do not need to obey, if they tell us to violate Torah laws such as Shabbat.

We are commanded not lie or steal. We must stay away from any type of falsehood. This could lead to a false oath, that would be a desecration of the Name of G-d.

We are instructed that we must love every Jew. We must not hate another Jew in our heart. We must care enough to rebuke our friend, if he is going on the wrong path. And we certainly should not gossip and speak Lashon Hara, against another Jew.

There are times when we must get involved and not stand idly by, if another Jew is in trouble, and needs our help. We cannot pretend that we do not see, for Hashem knows the truth.

We must not place a stumbling block before a blind man, which includes giving bad advice. We must not take revenge or hold a grudge against another Jew.

And finally, we must be certain that our courts and judges are fair. There must be true justice with no favoritism for either the poor and their difficult plight, or the rich and their influence.

All of these topics are brought up in Parshat Kedoshim. If one studied these teachings as he should, he will become a kinder person with very excellent ethical character.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at