Acharei Mot-Kedoshim, May 4, 2017

Kedoshim contains one of the central passages of the Torah.  Called the Holiness Code because of its exhortation, “Kedohsim tihyu” (You shall be holy), Leviticus 19 is famous because it contains timeless ethical laws such as caring for the poor, the laborer, the disabled, and the stranger; to love your neighbor, not gossip, and so much more.  But mixed in with all of these ethical laws are ritual laws as well, for example, about sacrifices, dietary laws, Shabbat, and the prohibition against mixing together different kinds of seeds in a field and cloth in a garment.  The juxtaposition of the ritual and the ethical seems strange, and yet, we know that Judaism is not merely a set of values.  Rituals are what make us who we are and set us apart as a unique people.  The intermingling of the two kinds of laws in this passage can remind us to value both as essential to our Jewish lives.