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Parshat Kedoshim

Posted by rabbiart on April 30, 2008

This Shabbat we return to the weekly Torah reading cycle with Kedoshim. Kedoshim is a fascinating parshah; it is only two chapters long, a total of 64 verses, yet according to Sefer HaHinuch it contains fifty one commandments. The overwhelming majority of these commandments have to do with social justice.

The first commandment we find in Kedoshim is perhaps the foundation of all social justice; to have reverence for our parents. We find this commandment linked, it appears, to keeping the sabbath, and both are bracketed by declarations that Ado-nai is our G-d. Here are verses two and three of chapter 19. (if you don’t see Hebrew, but see a strange looking set of characters, you need to add Hebrew support to your computer. If you need help, contact Rabbi Art)

ב דַּבֵּר אֶל-כָּל-עֲדַת בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם–קְדֹשִׁים תִּהְיוּ: כִּי קָדוֹשׁ, אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם. ג אִישׁ אִמּוֹ וְאָבִיו תִּירָאוּ, וְאֶת-שַׁבְּתֹתַי תִּשְׁמֹרוּ: אֲנִי, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם.

In verse two we are told to be kadosh because Ado-nai is kadosh. Then we are instructed to revere our parents and to keep HaShem’s Sabbaths, because Ado-nai is our G-d. After several “ritual” commandments, we are then given a couple of dozen commandments that are concerned with providing food for the poor, acting honestly, and not perverting the natural order of the world.

Regarding the natural order of the world, we are given several commandments that require us to abstain from mixing divergent species, a prohibition against tattoos, and a repetition, with a slight variation, of the commandment to have reverence for our parents. In this last case, we are instructed not to curse our parents.

In all, there are fifty one commandments in Parshat Kedoshim according to Sefer HaHinuch. According to the numbering scheme used, these are numbers #212 to #262.

  1. Reverence for father and mother
  2. Not to turn astray after idol-worship in thought or word
  3. Not to make an idol, for oneself or another
  4. Not to eat left-over meat from sacrifices (notar)
  5. To leave the edge of one’s field unreaped for the poor
  6. Not to reap the very last end of one’s field
  7. To leave the gleanings of the harvest for the poor
  8. Not to gather stalks of grain that fell away during the harvest
  9. To leave a part of a vineyard unreaped for the poor
  10. Not to remove absolutely all the fruit of a vineyard
  11. To leave fallen grapes in a vineyard for the poor
  12. Not to gather the fallen grapes in a vineyard but to leave them for the poor
  13. Not to steal anything of value
  14. Not to deny it when something of value is in our possession
  15. Not to swear over a false denial about something of value
  16. Not to swear falsely
  17. Not to withhold another person’s property wrongly
  18. Not to commit robbery
  19. Not to delay the payment of a hired hand
  20. Not to curse any Jew, whether man or woman
  21. Not to make a trusting person stumble through misleading advice
  22. Not to pervert justice in a civil judgment
  23. Not to honor an eminent person at a trial
  24. That a judge should render judgment with righteousness
  25. Not to gossip
  26. Not to stand idly by when someone’s blood is shed
  27. Not to hate one’s brethren
  28. The religious duty to rebuke a fellow-jew for improper behavior
  29. Not to shame a Jew
  30. Not to take revenge
  31. Not to bear a grudge
  32. To have affection for a fellow-jew
  33. Not to mate two animals of different species
  34. Not to sow different kinds of seed together in the land of Israel
  35. Not to eat the first three years’ produce of a tree
  36. That the fruit of a tree’s fourth year is hallowed
  37. Not to eat or drink in the manner of a glutton or drunkard
  38. Not to practice augury nor divination
  39. Not to practice conjuring
  40. Not to round off the temples of the head
  41. Not to marr the edges of the beard
  42. Not to inscribe any tattoo in one’s flesh
  43. To have reverent awe for the sanctuary
  44. Not to act as an ov (medium)
  45. Not to function as a yidoni (wizard)
  46. To honor wise scholars
  47. Not to cheat with any kind of measure
  48. To make sure that scales, weights and measures are correct
  49. Not to curse one’s father or mother
  50. That a bet din should burn to death anyone so deserving
  51. Not to follow the customs or ways of the Amorites

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