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Parashah Kedoshim ~ 5774
The following Mitzvot are incumbent upon the Jewish people to be Holy, since “the L-rd, our G-d is Holy”. Reflecting Hashem’s Holiness includes respecting parents, non-idolatrous behavior, proper sacrificial etiquette, leaving the “Peot” of fields to the poor, leaving “Leket”, not stealing or lying and of course, not profaning G-d’s name. Grievous in G-d’s laws are placing stumbling blocks before the blind and cursing the deaf. Justice means “right is right and wrong is wrong”, regardless of the statute of the litigants. Tale bearing, apathy in the face of danger, hatred, and vengeance is strictly forbidden. G-d’s creations cannot be deliberately transmitted.
In Israel, a tree’s first three years of fruit are forbidden. The fourth harvest is for Holy purposes only. Soothe saying, divination and all manner of Canaanite deprivations are forbidden. The laws concerning mourning and social behavior includes “Peot and Tattoos”. Respect for the living and dead are the basis of our culture. Strangers, foreigners, visitors, and temporary residence must be treated with the same dignity and rights as a native or citizen. We must love them as we love ourselves. Standardized, exact weights and measures must be used for dry, liquid or volume measurements.
The penalty for Molech-child sacrifice was mandatory stoning. Anyone who ignores or denies knowledge of such acts has committed a grievous sin against G-d. The penalties for cursing a parent, committing any of the forbidden sexual unions is death. Turning to soothe saying, communicating with the dead, ghosts, or spirits is punished by “Karet”. Likewise, the penalty for not observing the laws of family purity, “Taharat HaMishpacha” is stated: KARET. It is forbidden to imitate the heathens of Canaan. We must separate ourselves from them by our behavior, sexual conduct, business ethics and food.
MAFTIR Leviticus 20:25-27 ~ page 508
HAFTORAH Amos 9:7-15 page 509
The haftorah basically clarifies the “deal part” of the command to be holy. Amos stresses that we will be just like all other of G-d’s children on Earth, no different from the Ethiopians, the Philistines, etc. That is, of course, if we don’t remain faithful to G-d. Because if we do, and keep the mitzvot sincerely, then the promises of the Torah will be realized and we will be unique among the nations. It’s really up to us. That’s our challenge.