TORAH PORTION: ACHAREI MOS/KEDOSHIM - WEEK OF APRIL 29, 2012

This coming Shabbos, we have another double header, we will be reading two Parshios - Acharei and Kedoshim - Leviticus 16 -20.

The Torah talks about being holy because "I, your L-rd, am Holy." What is holiness and how do we compare ourselves to G-d’s holiness?

Rabbi Yechiel Epstein of the past century explains that G-d’s holiness is His uniqueness of being a total giver and not a taker. Hashem is totally complete without receiving anything. Only His will is fulfilled when we do mitzvos. Whenever we do a Mitzvah or kindness for the sake of the recipient and not for ourselves, we are becoming holy like our Creator.

I recently heard the following story.

A little girl, Miriam, whose mother was bedridden due to a chronic illness, was starting school in Jerusalem. Miriam wanted her mother to take her to school and was deeply disappointed that her ill mother could not escort her. As she was sitting on the steps of her home, the chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Rabbi Sonnenfeld, passed by. He inquired why she was crying. When he heard her lament, he gave her a blessing that her mother will live and be able to escort her to her Chuppah (wedding).

Fast forward, a dozen or so years, Miriam is becoming of age to get married and her mother is still sick. Miriam rejects all the matches presented to her. Not tall enough. Not smart enough. Not good enough. Years pass and she is still not married. Gradually, one by one, her younger siblings all get married. Finally, at age thirty-two, Miriam's father begs with her to settle and agree to a match. She says OK and her mother and father are overjoyed. After the wedding her mother passes away. During the shiva for her mother, she explained why she waited so long. She knew the Rabbi's blessing would work. She wanted all her brothers and sisters to be escorted to their Chuppahs by both her parents. Miriam wanted her blessing from Rabbi Sonnenfeld to go to all her siblings.

May Hashem inspire us to be maximum givers like Miriam.

Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Shlomo Porter

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