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Torah Portion: Kedoshim

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This is Bill’s commentary on the Torah portion Kedoshim – “Holy.” This portion is part of what is considered to be lev ha’torah (the heart of the Torah) and specifically defines how Israel is to be holy “because I the LORD your God am holy.” This portion demonstrates that it is not enough to be “set apart” because others are set apart as well but in a much different way – some are set apart for evil. Therefore, outward appearance alone does not constitute being holy; those who are set apart as Israel are to imitate the characteristics of the Creator and that must come from within. While we cannot imitate God’s omnipotence, omniscience or omnipresence, we can strive to imitate His mercy, kindness and generosity in how we treat parents, elders, the stranger and people with whom we do business. In doing so, we approach the mandate given to Israel to be a light to the nations. That light is not to be removed from the world but is to shine in the world and, thus, distinguish us from the world. The heart of this sidrah is the command that many rabbis consider the “sum of the Torah” – the command to “love your neighbor as yourself.” According to Y’shua, this command and the command to “love the LORD your God” summarizes, and is the basis for, all the other commands. Understanding the primacy of these two, all the other commands are but commentary on the principles these two establish. In grasping the heart of God – love, mercy and longsuffering – we begin to understand what it is to be “holy.” (Approximately 70 minutes)

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