Honorable Mensch-ion

To Be Holy

Abraham was called a God fearer and righteous. Jacob’s name changed to Yisrael. Yet, not one of our ancestors was called kadosh, holy. For when this sacred word appears in the Torah, it never occurs to describe an individual. Only when revelation appears at Mount Sinai, and the people become an am segula, a nation chosen to live a life of Torah, are we described as a goi kadosh, a holy nation. In essence, there are no holy individuals, but a group can transcend into that sate of being holy.

Rabbi Kalonomus looks at the Jews’ exit from Egypt. Individuals believed that by distancing themselves from the ways of the other, holiness would descend upon them. Yet, it was not until they cleaved to the people of God, each other, that they could see and feel what it truly meant to be a holy people.

That is why we do not celebrate a Bar Mitzvah by ourselves or mourn a loved one in solitude. That is why every prayer of kedusha requires 10 Jews to come together to say amen.

And that is why this Shabbat, we should not sit home by ourselves. Go into a place of gathering, be a sacred individual that will make your community holy.

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