This week we read the portion of Kedoshim. It is one of my absolute favorite Torah portions. It talks about the meaning and understanding of holiness and the Holiness Code in Jewish tradition. Within this portion are both directives for how Jews should be holy, but more importantly, how human beings should be holy.
I often describe holiness to children as a difficult term to define, and so I explain that it is best to define holiness by looking at holy acts, holy places, and people who act in holy ways. This is no different for adults. In this crazy world of politics, economics, religion and the like, we need to seek out holy moments; we need to strive to create holy moments.
A few months ago, I had the pleasure to travel to Israel and see a side of Israel that I had never experienced. I learned all about an organization called Makom, an umbrella organization in Israel that is comprised of 14 networks of new intentional communities across the State of Israel. They represent all sides of politics and religion within Israel, which is a very large spectrum.
I learned that in order for each of these networks to be part of Makom, the individual communities within the network need to be geographically diverse, they need to be geared toward people in multiple stages of life, and most interesting to me, they need to be mission driven. This means in addition to meeting the needs of the members of their own community, they also need to be working in an intentional and sacred way to help the greater Israeli society within their neighborhood.
I was so taken with this level of holiness in each of these communities. I observed communities striving to improve and overhaul education systems, communities supporting the cultural arts, communities helping Teens at Risk, communities supporting the LGBTQ community, communities supporting new immigrants, and so much more.
As we celebrate the 68th Birthday of the State of Israel this week, I want to suggest that we focus on the acts of kedushah happening within the smallest corners of the State of Israel each and every day. It is not coincidence that we read the Torah portion of Kedoshim this week - it is b'shert, or meant to be that we should celebrate Israel and celebrate holiness all in one week. They two rightly go hand in hand.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Birthday Israel -
May you forever be leading the path in acts of holiness,