Coming a day after Yom Hashoah v’HaG’vura, this parasha reminds us that our uniqueness as Jews — the reason we were murdered — is that our essence is to serve God.
The morality and refined behavior we are commanded to strive for are not at all subjective!
God commands Moshe to gather the entire people to tell them: Be holy, because I am holy. What does this mean for us?
Of the many interpretations of this word in the Torah, the Italian sage Sforno says that it means “eternal,” like God.
When we live according to the mitzvot in this Parsha – and the order is enlightening – we transcend our mortality.
These values pass through the generations, and indeed, despite efforts to blot us out, from Egypt through Hitler and the current enemies of God in this world, we are still here.
So: 1) Have awesome fear and respect for your parents. 2) Keep God’s (sweet) Shabbatot 3) Serve God in the Temple/ in our prayers with intention. 4) Leave gleanings in your fields and vineyards for the poor. 5) Do not steal, deny, lie, swear in God’s name, or exploit others 6) pay people on time. 7) Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind (don’t mislead people) 8) do not corrupt justice 9) do not gossip 10) do not stand by your brother’s blood (help when you are needed!) and the list goes on and on!
Of the many searing songs on the radio yesterday, I bring you R. shlomo Carlebach’s Holy Hunchback story, brilliantly put to music in Hebrew and English by Aharon Razel a few years ago.
With blessings that we live by our precious mitzvot – “חי בהם!” – and never again die by them.