Dvar Torah Parshat Acharei-Mot & Kedoshim 5775 2015

Hashem instructs Moshe to tell the people: כְּמַעֲשֵׂה אֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ …לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ וּכְמַעֲשֵׂה אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן …, , “Do not perform the practices of the Land of Egypt…and do not perform the practices of the Land of Canaan…” (Lev. 18,3) The caution refers, of course, to the evil practices of these nations that are diametrically opposed to Jewish practice.

There is, however, another aspect of these instructions. We are admonished to not imitate their practices even if they are not evil. We have a different way of life that creates among us a form of holy existence. It is not only the avoidance of wrong doing that results in this sacred and devout way of living. It is also due to the positive things we are instructed to do.

Before we start the morning service we recite daily some of these great deeds. Among them are: honoring one’s parents, acts of kindness, hospitality to guests, visiting the sick, escorting the dead, and many others.

Avoiding evil acts is one aspect of righteous living, but positive acts is really what helps an individual and a people reach true sacredness.

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