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Parsha Kedoshim

   The Parshah of Kedoshim begins with the statement: “You shall be holy, for I, the L‑rd your G‑d, am holy.” This is followed by dozens of mitzvot (divine commandments) through which the Jew sanctifies him- or herself and relates to the holiness of G‑d.

   These include: the prohibition against idolatry, the mitzvah of charity, the principle of equality before the law, Shabbat, sexual morality, honesty in business, honor and awe of one’s parents, and the sacredness of life.

   Also in Kedoshim is the dictum which the great sage Rabbi Akiva called a cardinal principle of Torah, and of which Hillel said, “This is the entire Torah, the rest is commentary”—“Love your fellow as yourself.”

   Kedoshim means "holy" and the Parshah of Kedoshim begins with G‑d telling us: "You should be holy because I, your G‑d, am holy." But how can we be holy? By doing the mitzvot that G‑d commands. The rest of the Parshah Kedoshim gives us many different mitzvot through which we can be holy. Some of the mitzvot given in this Parshah are:

  • do not lie

  • do not steal

  • don't swear falsely

  • don't withhold your worker's wages--if somebody works for you, pay him right away

  • don't bear a grudge

  • don't take revenge

  • don't spread gossip about others

  • keep Shabbat

  • stand up when somebody respectable comes into the room

  • give charity to the poor

  • respect the elderly

  • when a person gathers the wheat from his field, he should leave a corner for poor people

  • and a very important mitzvah: "Love your fellow as yourself."

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