Parshas Kedoshim

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By Rabbi Shloimie Lindenbaum

ואהבת לרעך כמוך אני ה’ (פרק יט פסוק יח)

The תורה tells us to love our fellow Jews the way we love ourselves and ends off “I am Hashem.” Why does the תורה have to remind us of Hashem’s existence after this מצוה? R’ Shimon Schwab explains that really this מצוה is easily understandable and can be viewed as a pleasant social suggestion. In fact, in many societies people already practice loving and being fair to one another. However, this can be for many different reasons. Some people are naturally generous and loving, others are afraid of retribution if they don’t show their friends the proper love, and others will do it with the hope of reward. These reasons may exist, but they are not guaranteed. Often, one may rise to a position where they no longer need other people or are powerful enough to not be afraid of revenge. In those instances, their love for society can vanish. Only by understanding that Hashem created all of us and that He commanded us to love one another just by virtue of being His creation, will we have an everlasting love of all Jews. That is why the תורה reminds us to love each other “I am Hashem.”

את שבתתי תשמרו ומקדשי תיראו אני ה’ (פרק יט פסוק ל)

Parshas Kedoshim lists off countless מצוות and עבירות in a seemingly sporadic order. The Netziv shows how the תורה is grouping together different מצוות that relate to a specific theme. For example, he says that beginning with the third Aliyah (פסוק כג) the תורה is commanding us how to go about earning a livelihood, which professions to engage in, and which to avoid, which business strategies to pursue, and which to flee from. The odd פסוק out is פסוק ל which says that we should guard Shabbos and fear the Mikdash. What do these have to do with פרנסה? The Netziv explains that the תורה is advising us how to merit the ברכה of פרנסה. The מדרש says that there is a connection between Shabbos and the six weekdays in that one who properly rests on Shabbos will be successful in their work the rest of the week. The Mikdash, as well, is the source for all blessings in livelihood, and through the sacrifices we merit that the land is blessed to produce. We must therefore treat it with proper awe and respect to receive its special gifts. That is why the תורה specifically commands us about Shabbos and the Mikdash in the middle of describing how we are to earn a living.

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