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Home » K'doshim

Kedoshim: Food For thought For Your Dinner Table

Submitted by on May 2, 2008 – 5:01 pmNo Comment | 2,708 views

Sunday: Shared Ownership

Addressing the entire Jewish nation, the Torah states, “When you reap the harvest from your fields (plural) do not fully reap the corner of your field (singular). . . leave it to the poor.” The first stitch of the verse is written in the plural whereas the second stitch is written in the singular.
Fields in Israel do not belong exclusively to their owners; they are shared with the impoverished; the corner of the field belongs to the poor and the rest of the field, to the owner. Those who reap the harvest of the corners deny the rights of the impoverished and claim the entire field for themselves. The Torah introduces the field in the plural because it belongs to more than one person, but switches to the singular to indicate that by reaping the corners we act as if the field is our own and incorrectly deny the rights of the impoverished. Tiferes Yonasan

Monday: Love your Fellow

To love another as we love ourselves is only possible when we view the entire nation as a single organism. The entire human genome is included in a single stem cell, however when the stem cell develops and organs emerge our unity of being seems to splinter. This is indicated by the fact that the hand experiences pain, even as the leg doesn’t feel it. The brain, however, feels the pain of every organ. The brain realizes that despite our multiplicity of organs, we are a single organism.

When we view our fellow Jew as another person we are hard pressed to feel their joy and pain. However, when we rise to the perspective of the brain we realize that we are truly one. Derech Mitzvosecha

Tuesday: Sanctifying the Mundane

Fruit harvested during the first three years of a tree’s life is forbidden to a Jew. Fruits from the fourth year may be consumed, but only in Jerusalem. The fifth year’s yield is permissible to all. It would seem at first glance that the fifth year’s fruit are less holy than those of the fourth year, yet the opposite is true.

G-d’s purpose in creation was to bring holiness to the mundane, in the words of our sages, “To make a dwelling place for Him in the lower realm.” Fruits that must remain in Jerusalem are endowed with a level of holiness that is divorced from the mundane. Fruits that may be consumed in all places indicate a lofty level of holiness that can even permeate the coarseness of materialism; it sublimates the mundane and reveals the latent divinity within it. Likutei Sichos

Wednesday: Abraham the Convert

“Like a native should you consider the convert who lives among you.” The word native is a euphemism for Abraham who is described in Psalms as “Ho’ezrochi,” the native. The Talmud describes Abraham as the first voluntary Jew and draws a comparison between Abraham and the convert: Just as Abraham chose to accept the Mitzvos, so does the convert. When exhorting us to view the convert as a native the Torah exhorts us to view the convert with the reverence we ordinarily reserve for Abraham. Panim Yafos

Thursday: To be Holy

Torah scholars of old would eat two hours after the usual dinner time just to rein in their cravings and ensure that their purpose in eating was nourishment rather than satisfaction of material cravings. “And you should sanctify yourself and be holy.”  When we sanctify our material cravings and redirect them to holy endeavours such as Mitzvos or Torah study we are transformed into a holy people. Alternatively, the second stitch of the verse can be read as a promise. If we sanctify ourselves by acting as if we are holy, then we will indeed become holy. Tanya Ch. 27

Friday: Taking Sides

“Ish Asher Yekalel Et Aviv Vet Imo mot yumat,” a man, who curses his father and his mother, should be put to death. The gravity that the Torah attributes to the sin of cursing a parent is evident in the severity of its punishment.

Nevertheless, many err in thinking that so long as they take the side of one parent against the other, especially when this is done to protect a defenceless parent; it is permissible to speak negatively of the other parent.
The Torah thus inserts the word ‘et’ which means, “the,” two times, once before the word father and once before the word mother, to indicate that the sin of cursing either parent is as egregious as cursing them both. Meshech Chochmo

Shabbat: True Freedom

“You shall be holy to me for I, G-d, am holy and I have distinguished you from the nations to be mine.” The Talmud relates that Rabbi Alexanderi, would add the following prayer to his daily supplications. “Master of the universe, it is revealed and known before thee that we wish to fulfill your will, however the yoke of the nations upon us prevents us.” The Talmud also teaches that G-d removes the yoke of nations from those who accept the yoke of Torah.
Accordingly the Torah instructs us to be holy and embrace the yoke of heaven so that G-d might distinguish us from among the nations and make us His. He will relieve us from the oppression of the nations and thus liberate us to fulfill His will. Ktav Sofer