Dvar Torah Achre Mot – Kedoshim 2004 – 5764 דבר תורה אחרי מות – קדושים

In the beginning of the second Portion we read this Shabbat Hashem tells Bnei Israel that they should be holy “…because I am holy…” ANI HASHEM ELOKECHEM, “I am Hashem your God”. (Lev. 19,2) Rabbi Chiya said: At first, (in the Ten Commandments) Hashem said: ELOKECHA, ZECHOR (remember to keep the Sabbath holy) in the singular. Here He says: ELOKECHEM, TIRU (you should respect your parents), TISHMERU (you should keep the Sabbath), (Lev. 19,3) in the plural. The reason is that when the Bnei Israel stood at Mt. Sinai they were all united in one heart (see Rashi: Ex. 19,2) so the Commandments were spoken as if to one person in the singular. Later, after all the dissension, they were no longer so united so Hashem had to speak to them in the plural because there were so many factions.

Throughout Jewish history there were times of persecution and times of great events when the Jews were exalted, such as when Israel was founded, when the Jews were all united as one. Unity helped the Jews in time of distress and in time of celebration. On the other hand, there were times when the Jews were not together, every faction going its own way and having its own agenda. In such times the Jews are weak and cannot accomplish the goals that they face.

Sadly, today we fit into the second category. Today Jews are not united. They do not speak as one, with one heart and one voice, certainly not in Israel. Every faction is pulling in a different direction. The result is that we are as weak as can be and cannot help extricate ourselves from the problems that face us, be it in Israel or throughout the world. We must find the unity we need and we will then find the strength called for in these terribled times.

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