Numerous mitzvot appear in Parshat Kedoshim, the parsha that addresses the topic of holiness (kedushah). There is no apparent system that sustains the mitzvot referred to in this parsha. The verses jump from mitzvot between Man and Hashem (bein Adam laMakom) to those between Man and fellow Man (Adam leChavero); from halachot that apply in the Beit HaMikdash to those that pertain to toil in the fields.
Why didn’t Hashem arrange these mitzvot in an order similar to the Mishneh Torah of the Rambam, or of the Shulchan Aruch? Yes- in reference to certain verses in the parsha Chazal explain the juxtaposition of the verses . However, in the basic level of understanding the text there is need for clarification of the order of the verses.
The Midrash (Devarim Raba, Parsha 6) portrays how the mitzvot accompany us in all of our endeavors. When a house is built, a guard rail (ma’akeh) must be erected; the placing of a door requires the fixing of a mezuzah. Wearing clothes includes the prohibtion of kilayim (wool and flax); while shaving some actions are forbidden. While plowing and placing seed in fields the Torah outlines how to proceed; upon walking we may encounter a mother bird hovering over her children- kan tzipor.
What concept does this Midrash convey to us? Rav Yechezkel Yakobson, and Rav Re’uven Ungar of Sha’alvim yeshivah explain: When the Holy One, Blessed Be He, gave us the Torah, He desired that it be a Torah of life. Life together with Torah. Not two parellel levels of existence. Rather, Torah that applies every second and in every situation. If the aim is to merely comprehend what is written in the Torah, indeed the mitzvot in Parshat Kedoshim should be arranged according to topics. But that is not the point- the Torah is intended to accompany us throughout life. Life is dynamic and multifaceted; when a person is on a street, multiple issues appear. The person is expected to confront and deal with all these issues in accordance with the Torha. Therefore the mitzvot in this parsha appear in a dynamic and jarring fashion, in accordance with the goal of the Torah. The beginning of the parsha records the mitzvah of striving for holiness. When the Jewish People attain this level, the Mitzvot do not appear merely as a collection of laws. They constitute a unified, harmonious structure of living Torah.
Prepared by Devorah Abenhaim