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“You shall sanctify yourselves and you will be holy, for I am Hashem, your G-d” (Leviticus 20:7).
Sanctifying one’s self and being holy is a common theme in parshas Kedoshim. There are many things a Jew and non-Jew are not allowed to do because they logically make sense. That being said, does the Torah have to state the obvious? After all, don’t I know one is not allowed to steal or be dishonest in business and call people names?
The reality is that things that look obvious may not be so. When the Torah says that we are not allowed to kill, does that include someone who has a deadly disease and will die shortly anyway? What about an unborn child that is not causing distress to the mother but she does not want to have the child, claiming it was a mistake? What about calling a person by an unflattering nickname where the person doesn’t care if you call them that or not?
The point is that there are many verses in the Torah that not only beg for explanation but even the so-called simple things that are obvious must be further clarified because as we can see it is not that simple! If we would keep the Torah according to the Karaites who reject Oral Law then there would be many things that a person could do that would be permitted according to the Torah but in fact would be forbidden! We have to be ever so careful in upholding the Torah and guarding it to the highest level we can.
The Torah has a very strong moral code. When it comes to character development, the Ramchal (Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto) tells us in Mesilas Yesharim (The Path of the Just) that to stay totally clean and pure one must be so careful in everything we do. We need to be squeeky clean so-to-speak spirtually that there cannot be a trace of transgression to acquire this character trait. Obviously easier said than done but the Torah has high ideals for us that we must strive for.
Even if it is hard, G-d never puts us in a situation that we cannot handle even though we may think that we can’t! The true servant of G-d goes beyond the letter of the law in their dealings with others and must have the desire and fortitude to be a light unto the nations. We all have difficulties but G-d expects us to try and work through them and be the best people we can.
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