Shaarei Yosher, sec. 2: Qedushah – part 1

In my opinion, this whole concept is included in Hashem’s mitzvah “Be holy, [for I am Holy].” The Midrash (Leviticus, Emor, ch. 24) says about this verse: “Can it [truly] be ‘Like Me?’ This is why it continues, ‘for I am Holy’ to teach that My Sanctity is above yours.”
ולדעתי כל ענין זה נכלל במצות ה׳ של “קדושים תהיו”, דהנה במדרש ויקרא פרק כ״ד אמור על מקרא זה: “יכול כמוני? תלמוד לאמר ‘כי קדוש אני’, קדושתי למעלה מקדושתכם”,

Rav Shimon already wrote that our job is to bestow good on others, in imitation of the purpose of creation, and used the term qedushah to refer to the commitment of our abilities to that goal.

Here R’ Shimon adds that what we call “commitment” with respect to people is different in kind that Hashem’s commitment. Hashem is absolutely One. He has only One Goal. Purity of purpose is inherent.

For people, our natural state is to be in a swirl of motivations, “tov vara be’irbuvya — good and evil in mixture”. Perfect purity of purpose is an unreachable goal to continually strive strive for.

Thus, Hashem adds “for I am Holy” — that His Sanctity is above ours.

(See also the connection between the sin of eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge and this element of the human condition I drew in my earlier post “The origins of imperfection“.)

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  1. Neil Harris says:

    So, in laymen’s terms, we need to constantly be m’vateir ourselves for the needs of others, right?

    Is the concept of shelaiymus (regarding the individual), in Rav Shimon’s thought, a result of helping others, or is it the other way around?

  2. micha says:

    I think what he’s saying here is that sheleimus is one’s perfection at being a giver.

    That said, R’ Dovid Lifshitz (his talmid) unifies the notions of external shalom and internal sheleimus bidirectionally. To Rav Dovid, the ultimate peace isn’t a cessation of violence, but working together for G-d’s ends. As we will soon say in shul, “ויעשו כולם אגודה אחת לעשות רצונך בלבב שלם — and they [the nations] will be made together a single union to do your will with a whole heart”. This whole heart is the root of peace.

    For Ashkenazim the last berakhah of “Shemoneh Esrei” at minchah and ma’ariv (which Chassidim only say at ma’arim) begins with a request that “שלום רב על ישראל עמך תשים לעולם– place great shalom on Israel Your nation for eternity”. Beyond simply asking for shalom, we ask for shalom rav. But what is shalom rav? “שָׁלוֹם רָב, לְאֹהֲבֵי תוֹרָתֶךָ; וְאֵין-לָמוֹ מִכְשׁוֹל — Shalom rav is granted those who love Your Torah, and they have no obstacles.” (Tehillim 119:165) Shalom rav is the unity and wholeness of self that eliminates all obstacles from the path of the lover of Torah. Peace is the root of personal wholeness.

    (Deserves its own blog entry, no?)

    Peace isn’t exactly the same quality as the one under discussion, but it’s pretty close.

  3. Neil Harris says:

    Thanks. It’s also the recepticle for all blessings.

  4. micha says:

    IOW, shalom is the peace between people that comes from internal wholeness, and thus is both the personal and interpersonal wholeness necessary to be what we were designed to be — recepticles of G-d’s Good (blessings.)

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