‘You shall be holy…’ (Vayikra 19:1)

Holy? How?!

The Chatam Sofer points out something fascinating about this command.

God commanded Moshe to state this verse in front of the ‘the entire congregation’(19:2), teaching us that in order to attain true holiness, we must sanctify ourselves by behaving properly with those around us.

This week's Torah portion, Kedoshim, which commands us to ‘be holy’, also contains many of the mitzvot that guide us on how we should behave with other people. It includes prohibitions such as not gossiping, not harbouring hatred, and even against offering people harmful advice.

It is this very portion that spells out the famous obligation to ‘Love your fellow as you love yourself’ (Vayikra 19:18). An obligation that is so poignant, that when asked by a gentile to describe the whole Torah whilst standing on one foot, this is what Hillel chose to highlight.

To love people as much as we love ourselves sounds very difficult to achieve. We may even question if it is fully possible! But the very fact that God commands this of us means that this is attainable. A Manufacturer knows what His products are capable of!

It is a mitzvah that takes work, and the first step towards success is to accept that yes, we are able to achieve this!

In addition to knowing his products well, a manufacturer does not create a product without an instruction manual. By following the Torah’s clear guidance in relationships between man and man, we are provided with clear methodology as to how to reach our goal.

By avoiding the negative acts such as taking revenge, verbal attacks, causing embarrassment and others (some others are mentioned above). And on the flipside, working on the positive acts listed in the Torah, such as giving charity, visiting the sick, welcoming guests and many more, we carve a clear pathway, towards loving and treating others as we would want to be treated.

‘You shall be holy…’ (Vayikra 19:1)

Holy? How?

Working on our relationships with those around us is a great place to start.