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Kedoshim Summaries

Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5777-2017

“Judging Others Favorably”

Unfortunately, it is sadly true that many of us too frequently look at the negative rather than focus on the positive.

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Kedoshim 5776-2016

“Tattoos”

Parashat Kedoshim includes the prohibition of making cuts on one’s skin as a sign of mourning and forbids the drawing of permanent tattoos on the body.

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5775-2015

Having Thoughts About False Gods

The Torah strongly prohibits not only worshiping idols, but even giving credence to their existence. This seems to go against the broad perception of Judaism as an open-minded faith, that encourages intellectual inquiry.

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Kedoshim 5774-2014

“The Prohibition of Taking Revenge”

While it may be part of human nature to seek revenge, the Torah forbids acting on the desire for revenge, or to even bear a grudge.

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5773-2013

“The Sanctity of The Holy of Holies”

What is the role, function and mystique of the “Holy of Holies?”

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5772-2012

“Respect for Elders”

Our rabbis suggest that according filial respect and honoring elders are the fundamental building blocks of a healthy society, without which the world would soon revert to a state of chaos.

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Kedoshim 5771-2011

“Judaism’s Radical Notion of Holiness”

In the closing verses of this week’s parasha, G-d calls out to His people: “And you shall be holy to Me because I, your L-rd, am holy.” This is the ultimate human challenge–and the ultimate human calling.

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5770-2010

“Loving Thy Neighbor”

The Torah’s statement bidding the Jewish people to love one’s neighbor as oneself is universally regarded as one of the greatest pronouncements of human morality. Nevertheless, it has been the subject of much vitriolic criticism.

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Kedoshim 5768-2008

“Establishing a Truly Ethical Society: Honesty in Business”

In parashat Kedoshim, the Torah exhorts the Jewish merchant to be honest in his weights and measures. This fundamental principle sets the tone for the extraordinary and revolutionary regulations that govern the conduct of Jewish businessmen, and serve as the guiding principles for a truly ethical and moral community.

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5767-2007

“Beards and Payos”

In the second of this week’s combined parashiot, Acharei Mot-Kedoshim, we learn of the prohibition of rounding the hair below the temples by the ear and of shaving the beard with a razor. What are the reasons for these prohibitions, and what are their implications?

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5766-2006

“Standing Idly By”

The double portions of Acharei Mot and Kedoshim contain almost one sixth of all the mitzvot in the Torah. The commandment found in parashat Kedoshim (Leviticus 19:16), not to stand by idly while the blood of our brother is shed, may not appear at first blush to be of great import. Yet, it is a fundamental principle that marks Judaism’s significant departure from the jurisprudence systems of the entire world, indicating that a person’s inaction can indeed be a significant and punishable violation.

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Kedoshim 5765-2005

“Living a Sanctified Life”

The revolutionary concept of living a sanctified life might seem daunting, but in reality it is a goal to be aspired to by every Jew. The exalted concept of being G-d-like is not out of the realm of human possibility.

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5764-2004

“The Jewish Attitude Towards Sexuality”

The two Torah portions that are read in this weekly portion discuss many laws pertaining to sexuality. Study of these rules proves that Judaism focuses not on repression, but on control and balance.

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Kedoshim 5763-2003

“Giving Proper Reproof”

Judaism maintains that if one has a justified complaint against another it is preferable to state it directly than to brood over it. However, giving proper reproof is an art in and of itself. The great Chazon Ish (Rabbi Abraham Isiah Karelitz, 1878-1953) declared that since we no longer know how to give proper reproof, it is preferable not to offer reproof.

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5762-2002

Shaatnez: Understanding Irrational Decrees”

The laws of Shaatnez, in parashat Kedoshim, of not wearing wool and linen together, fall under the category of laws that are known as chukim–decrees which are commands from G-d that have no apparent rational reason. The esoteric laws of Shaatnez that appear so out of place in contemporary times have much to teach us about sensitivity toward others, and that the great gift of clothes must never be taken for granted.

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5761-2001

“Who is Truly Religious?”

People often define a traditional Jew as one who keeps the “Big Three:” Shabbat, Kashrut and the laws of Family Purity. From parashat Kedoshim we can learn that this definition needs to be revised and updated to include an ethical component–that one must behave and act morally, especially within the realm of business.

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Kedoshim 5760 – 2000

“The Revolutionary Idea of Holiness”

In parashat Kedoshim we learn much about the magical and revolutionary idea that the Torah introduced into civilization– the concept of “holiness.” As the Torah says, “You shall be holy for I the L-rd your G-d am holy.” Unless one subscribes to the belief that every human is holy and a reflection of the Divine, there is really no limit to the extent of depravity and immorality to which humans may sink.

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