Part 2 – A Holy Life: Parashat Acharei Mot/Kedoshim 5783

by Richman, Rabbi Chaim

Speak to the entire congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them,

You shall be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.

(Vayikra 19:2)


“The Sifra explains that] ‘Be holy’ [means to] be separate, [meaning] that our material desires for the material pleasures of this world need to be properly restrained and controlled. Maimonides…in his Sefer Kedusha – The Book of Holiness, presents the Torah laws in only two specific areas of life: what constitutes proper and improper conduct in sexual relationships and the laws of forbidden foods.

[In]these two particular areas are the desires that pull a person, that hold gravitational sway over a person’s baser material nature more than any other because they most directly address and appeal to our physicality. So proper separation in these two areas more than any other brings [one] to holiness.

Why do the strongest desires manifest [specifically in these two areas] ? Because they are both imperative to the continuation of the world. They are the most intrinsic components for the continuation of the life of mankind… But a person’s conduct precisely in these two areas can express singular holiness because by sanctifying himself in dealing with these intrinsic desires and channeling them so that they remain within the framework of God’s Will, he can emulate his creator.”