Kedushah: Who and Where? by Moshe Weiss


This week was a very important week for Eretz Yisrael and all of Klal Yisrael as a whole.  First, on Yom HaZikaron, we remembered all the brave and courageous men, women, and children who tragically lost their lives in an effort to keep our Homeland in our hands.  The memories of these brave people were then celebrated on Yom Haatzmaut, as we rejoiced over the 60th birthday of the state of Israel.

Parashat Emor begins with a discussion of the Halachot pertaining to Kohanim, which include laws such as the restriction of coming in contact with a dead body, as well as many other aspects of their lives, such as marriage.  Why is Parshat Emor read the same week as these two important days commemorating Israel’s history?  In addition, what self-improving lesson can we internalize from the apparent missing connection?

Despite the vast differences between the material world and the spiritual world, there are certain ways we, in the material world, can almost “tap into” the spiritual realm.  Although many of these methods are against Halacha, others are demanded by the Torah.  It is here that a connection can be made between Kohanim and Eretz Yisrael.  In both of these cases, there is an immense amount of Kedushah present, and a higher level of modesty and cleanliness is demanded.  These two circumstances represent the two kinds of Kedushot in this world: Kedushat Adam and Kedushat HaMakom.

Now that a connection has been reached, we must determine its lesson that we then must internalize. 

Whenever a person owns an extremely valuable object, he typically safeguards it, constantly conscience of its location.  This phenomenon must happen by Kedushah as well; it too must be constantly safeguarded and maintained.  This is why the Torah prohibits Kohanim from many mundane activities: as the spiritual leaders of Klal Yisrael, they must maintain a higher spiritual level.  Eretz Yisrael, as the land imbued with Kedushah by Hashem, is the portal from this physical, mundane world to the elevated, spiritual heights of heaven.  As such, it has special Halachot whose aim is to protect its Kedushah.  It is imperative that in all aspects of our lives we too maintain this level of Kedushah, for how can we as a Jewish nation, a people who strive to attain as much Kedushah as possible, survive without this source of Kedushah? We must hold steadfast to such Divine land, and never let the deaths of those who perished for the sake of the Israel be in vain.  Rather, we should live to see us redeemed and delivered to our Homeland BeMheira BeYameinu.

Relationships of Interest by Rabbi Michael Taubes

The Absence of Sefirat HaOmeir’s SheHechiyanu by Shua Katz