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Friday, May 1

The Weekly Shtikle - Acharei Mos / Kedoshim

It is not difficult to establish a connection between Acharei Mos and Kedoshim. For example, the subject of illicit relations is discussed in both. But there is more under the surface that connects the two. Kedoshim begins commanding us to be kedoshim, holy. The Midrash Rabbah in parshas Mikeitz states, "This pasuk may have been construed to mean that you should be as holy as I, until it says at the end of the pasuk 'ki Kadosh Ani,' for I am holy. My holiness is above yours." This is a very difficult suggestion to understand. How would even the most foolish of men begin to think that the holiness of man could reach that of HaShem's?

R' Tzvi Pesach Frank, in Har Tzvi offers the following explanation: In Acharei Mos, the pasuk (16:16) refers to the oheil mo'eid as "hashochein itam besoch tum'osam," (see Dikdukian) that dwells among them in the midst of their tum'ah. Rashi comments that even if the people are temei'im, the Shechinah, the Holy Presence, dwells among them. The possible misconception referred to by the midrash is based on this concept. One might have mistakenly thought that just as HaShem's kedushah is such that He may dwell even among a nation that is tamei, a man's kedushah can protect him in such surroundings as well. The Torah then teaches us that this is not so for HaShem's holiness is above ours.

This lesson has far-reaching implications. It may be understood on its simplest level, referring to actual tum'ah. No man is so holy that contact with tum'ah will not render him tamei. But it can also be understood on a more spiritual level. One must realize that there is no level of holiness, no shell that can protect someone from being influenced by the society in which he dwells. One's level of spiritual purity will always be affected by his surroundings.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Dikdukian: Sukas David
Dikdukian: Qualification of the AHOY rule

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