Holiness is Where You Find It

Discovering the sacred in everyday activities

Let's say you have a leaky faucet, and you call a plumber to come and fix it. The plumber arrives, fixes your faucet, and gives you a bill. You gratefully write out a check and hand it to the plumber. Do you feel holy? Probably not. It would most likely surprise you to discover that this is exactly how this week's Torah portion evaluates your behavior in this situation.

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When is the last time you felt holy? Happy? Yes. Busy? Yes. Excited? Yes. Even deeply moved? Yes. But holy? Take a moment and think about it: Was it last week, last month, last year--perhaps never? For us, such times are rare indeed. In our culture, "holiness" is reserved for someone else, usually a religious leader like Mother Teresa who devotes her whole life to helping others. We don't tend to think of our own lives, our own experiences, as holy.

This week's Torah portion,


proclaims a different cultural norm. It begins, "Be holy (kedoshim), because I, Adonai your God, am holy" (Leviticus 19:2). That God is holy is fairly self-evident, but how does that make us holy? According to Torah, we are created in the image of God,

b'tzelem Elohim
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