Concerning the verse: "Be Holy, for I, the Eternal, your G-d, am Holy" our Teachers comment: "My Saintliness is higher than yours".

This verse implies that Hashem created us holy, but his holiness is greater. This should be explained.

Hashem warns that, at no moment of his life, should man consider himself to have attained perfection. As long as we live, we should always purify and sanctify ourselves. And we should tell ourselves: "The level of religiosity I reached helps me to go towards the "divine parcel" that Hashem placed inside me".

Thus, the verse: "My Saintliness is higher than yours" means that the divinity that Hashem gave you is higher than your degree of piety. You haven't yet discovered the treasure Hashem placed inside you. Continue to work to attain perfection.

Having said this, it will be easy for us to explain the link existing between the Parasha Ahare Mot (After death) and Kedoshim (Be Holy).

From our birth, Hashem gives a certain Kedusha (Saintliness) to each and every one of us.  Since at the end of life, evil has no grip on us (Zohar Hadash), the message is as follows: "This Divine parcel that I placed inside you, becomes yours at the end of life, because during all your existence, you worked to watch over it carefully".

We can also give an answer to another difficult question. On the same verse, our Teachers comment: "Keep away from debauchery. Where we put up barriers against debauchery, we find Sanctity."

Thus, the connection between Ahare Mot (this Parasha teaches us the interdictions of the Arayot - debauchery) and Kedoshim could be explained as follows: the duty of distancing ourselves from sin is so great, that we must think of death to achieve it. It is as if the Torah wants to tell us: After reminding yourselves the day of death (Ahare Mot), you can sanctify yourselves (Kedoshim Tihyu). It is, for that matter, as our Teachers affirm it, the way of Teshuvah: When man feels that the evil inclinations have the upper hand, he should remind himself of the day of his death!

Indeed, it is difficult to imagine that a Bne Israel would commit this sin with his mother, sister....So what is the use of this interdiction?

It is because a sin that a human cannot commit with his body, he could commit with his eyes. Thus, an immodest look, even if it is only directed at the closest relative, can cause us to have impure thoughts. The degree of gravity of these thoughts is comparable to the act itself.

By maintaining high morals and being careful of what we look at, we will have purity in our thoughts, which in turn gives us Kedusha. In fact, it is the lack of Kedusha that makes  man commit the most awful sins:  lying, hating, stealing, coveting and even murder.

This is why the Torah warns us: "Be Holy". All of the Kedusha of a human being passes through the Kedusha of his eyes. Our constant concern should be about our Saintliness. It can be acquired by abstaining from things that are even authorized by the Torah: "Sanctify yourself by avoiding what is even allowed" (Yebamot 20, a).

Here is another way of understanding the connection between Ahare Mot and Kedoshim.

We are all put on this earth to observe, in the best way we can, a well defined Mitzvah. Among the 613 commandments of the Torah, there is one we must carry out with all of our strength.

How do we know what commandment this is? It is the one that obliges us to fight the Yetser Hara! The Yetser Hara attempts to discourage us and make us forget this Mitzva at the expense of another. This is why we should observe them all. Even those Mitzvot that seem "small" before our eyes (see Rashi, beginning of Parashat Ekev) have a considerable value for Hashem.

Indeed, the Yetser Hara doesn't give man any rest. And when the Yetser Hara succeeds in turning man away from "the mitzvah", man has to reincarnate (Gilgul) in order to repair the Mitzvah that he was meant to observe. This is what causes exile, which is the exact thing that the Yetser Hara desires. We must, therefore, discover the Mitzvah in which we are weak. It is in that Mitzvah where we invest all of our strength.

In this case, Ahare Mot-Kedoshim can be explained as follows. If we wish to be Kedoshim and avoid the suffering of reincarnation that follows Ahare Mot (After death), all we have to do is put as much zeal in the "small" Mitzvah as we do in the difficult Mitzvah. Otherwise, we risk falling into the hands of the evil inclinations by exposing our eyes to impurity.

We should thus observe every Mitzvah with zeal and attachment to Hashem. This will grant purity to our children, and particularly, to our eyes. This is the kind of perfection we should seek.

What we have just said can be confirmed by the passage: "Do not engage in the wrongdoings of Egypt, where you stayed". Can we imagine that the Bne Israel would be able to commit the same abominations perpetrated by the Egyptians? It is quite the contrary when we learn of their behavior: "they did not change their names, their language, the way they dress, they distanced themselves from low morals and observed family purity". They repaired their behavior by doing Teshuvah.

Thus, what is the significance of the warning: "Do not engage in the wrongdoings of Egypt"? In fact, the Bne Israel did not commit any of the sins that characterized the Egyptians. We also know that they were slaves. However, their eyes saw the way of life of Egyptians. But the glance of a man, no matter how brief it is, leaves a trace in his soul.

The slightest glance, without any ulterior motive, exposes man to the temptation of the Yetser Hara. Even if it is a matter of an old image that is deeply buried in one's memory, it can one day resurface and push man towards sin. It is for this reason that when we are confronted with forbidden images, we should fight our glances continuously. In fact, it is not enough to avoid sin. One must avoid falling in the trap of sin. It is when one casts his eyes over things and people that impure thoughts and bad intentions appear. How do we avoid this? By regularly reading the books of the Mussar (Jewish morality) that discuss reverence and fear of G-d.

In conclusion: "Do not engage in the wrongdoings of Egyptians" means that even though you only looked at the wrongdoings of Egyptians in times of your slavery, you might have been tempted. Be careful, your eyes can drag you into sin! "To distance yourself from Arayot (debauchery, bad morals) means to stay away from it! Only Kedusha can keep man away Arayot. It is our duty to be careful about what we are looking at. It is said: "Don't be misled by your heart and eyes!". Only by making this effort, will we feel the Saintliness of Hashem coming upon us.


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