The Precision of Juxtapositions By Natan Lehman (’19)


At first glance, Parsahat Kedoshim may seem unorganized, because it lists random Mitzvot in no apparent order. However, if one invests further observation, it becomes apparently clear that there is in fact a specific reason for each juxtaposition.

Here a few examples:

In the first Aliyah, the Mitzvah to honor one’s parents is juxtaposed with the Mitzvah to observe Shabbat. Rashi (VaYikra 19:3 s.v. Ish Imo Ve’Aviv TiRa’u) explains that this juxtaposition comes to teach a very important and fundamental Halachah: you may not listen to your parent if he or she tells you to violate the Torah.

Rashi (BeResihit 6:11 s.v. VaTimalei Ha’Aretz Chamas) notes that Noach’s generation was killed because of all the “Chamas” (robbery) they committed. Later in the first Aliyah of Parashat Kedoshim (19:11) the Pasuk lists three consecutive negative commandments: “Lo Tignovu VeLo Techachashu VeLo TeShakru,” “Do not steal, and do not deal deceitfully, and do not lie.” Rashi (VaYikra 19:11 s.v. Lo Tignovu) states that these

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commandments are the order in which one will act when he begins stealing and ultimately lead to a society’s’ downfall.

A similar connection is presented later on in Perek 19:17: “Lo Telech Rachil BeAmecha,” “Do not be a gossip monger amongst the nation” and “Lo Ta’amod Al Dam Rei’echa,” “do not stand idly by the blood of your friend.” Many Rishonim suggest that speaking Lashon HaRa about a person is similar to killing the person. However, I believe that there is another possible explanation. “Lo Ta’amod Al Dam Rei’echa” is a passive Aveirah and “Lo Teileich Rachil Be’Amecha” is an active Aveirah. In order not to violate these Aveirot, one must be passive not to speak Lashon HaRa and active to active to save someone in danger. The dynamic relationship between these two Halachot represents a core religious belief that we must be a wholesome Jew.

Finally, Rashi comments (20:7 s.v. VeHitkadishtem) that the juxtaposition between being holy and worshipping Avodah Zara implies that one cannot even think about worshipping Avodah Zara.

I hope that these insights in the Parashah will inspire us to do what is right in the eyes of Hashem.

Lifnei Iveir: Applications and Calculations By Eitan Mermelstein (’21)

Amos and Am HaNivchar By Ephraim Helfgot (’20)