Shabbat Qedoshim - שבת קדשים

Maqam SABA

The Big Rule

ואהבת לרעך כמוך - One Shabbat, we had a dinner guest who had a family member being treated in the National Institute of Health (NIH). The guest observed how at the NIH, the diverse peoples from around the world, all in situations of despair and sickness, genuinely care for one another. However, in the outside world, where people are happy and healthy, they treat one another with disregard. The guest, on the Shabbat table, then screamed out something that I will never forget. She said "Why do we have to wait for tragedy to strike for us to recognize that we are all one and that we should be good to one another?" There was silence in the room. Rabbi Aqiba comments that "a big rule in the Torah" is in Leviticus 19:18. This statement is "Ve'ahabta Lereakha Kamokha;" which roughly translates as "love the other like oneself." Instead of focusing on all of our superficial differences, we need to love and appreciate every person for what they are. Beth Torah Bulletin, May 11, 2019.

Multitude of Laws

ושמרתם את כל חקתי ואת כל משפטי - What stands out about the Torah portion of Qedoshim is its multitude of laws. The majority of laws are concentrated in Leviticus 19; a chapter devoted to interpersonal ethical standards. In Leviticus 19:37, God affirms that "safeguarding the Huqim and Mishpatim" (laws) helps to accomplish the originally stated goal of becoming "Qadosh" (holy or separate). In terms of quantity of the laws, there are numerous listings of the misvot. Examples include the Maimonides "Sefer HaMisvot," which list the laws by theme, or Ibn Gabirol's "Azharot," which poetically list the laws. It is the 13th century anonymous Spanish work, "Sefer HaHinukh," however, which provides a complete breakdown of the laws by Torah portion. According to this source, the perasha with the most laws is Ki Tesse (74), followed by Emor (56), followed by Re’eh (55), followed by both Mishpatim and Qedoshim (both at 51 laws). Tiqqun Highlights, Beth Torah Bulletin, May 11, 2019.