Parashat Kedoshim is all about holiness. God instructs Moses to teach the Israelites the laws of being holy. The name of this portion, Kedoshim, means holiness, and comes from the second verse where God says to Moses, “You shall be holy, for I, the Lord your God am holy”.

The portion contains many different commandments – all connected to the idea that by obeying them we become closer to God.

Some of the commandments (there are many!) include:

  • Honor our parents;
  • Observe Shabbat;
  • Not to worship false gods;
  • Not to reap the edges of a field, so that the poor and hungry can feed themselves;
  • Not to steal or lie;
  • Not to wrong the deaf, or the blind
  • Not to bear a grudge;
  • To love others as ourselves;
  • Not to eat anything with its blood;
  • Not to practice witchcraft or summon ghosts;
  • To respect our elders;
  • To treat strangers who live among us fairly;
  • Not to cheat;

The parasha also contains rules about forbidden sexual relations and punishments associated with them. It ends with God repeating that by observing these laws we will be considered holy, and close to God.

Torah Portion in English

1) The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2) Speak to the whole Israelite community and say to them: You shall be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy. 3) You shall each revere his mother and his father, and keep My sabbaths: I the Lord am your God. 4) Do not turn to idols or make molten gods for yourselves: I the Lord am your God. 5) When you sacrifice an offering of well-being to the Lord, sacrifice it so that it may be accepted on your behalf. 6) It shall be eaten on the day you sacrifice it, or on the day following; but what is left by the third day must be consumed in fire. 7) If it should be eaten on the third day, it is an offensive thing, it will not be acceptable. 8) And he who eats of it shall bear his guilt, for he has profaned what is sacred to the Lord; that person shall be cut off from his kin. 9) When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10) You shall not pick your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I the Lord am your God. 11) You shall not steal; you shall not deal deceitfully or falsely with one another. 12) You shall not swear falsely by My name, profaning the name of your God: I am the Lord. 13) You shall not defraud your fellow. You shall not commit robbery. The wages of a laborer shall not remain with you until morning. 14) You shall not insult the deaf, or place a stumbling block before the blind. You shall fear your God: I am the Lord.

Getting to Know my Parasha

What Does my Parasha Say?

  1. What does the word Kadosh mean?
  2. Why does God tell Moses that the Children of Israel need to be holy?
  3. How are we supposed to treat our parents?
  4. When we are harvesting, why are we commanded to leave some of the crops behind?
  5. How should we treat our employees?