Parshat Kedoshim 5784: The Asseret HaD’vrot and Their Reformulation

Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Kedoshim is being sponsored by Dr. Edo and Atara Lavi and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh Lilui Nishmas for the Yahrtzeit of Atara’s Father Eliezer Chaim ben Shlomo Zalman and dedicated for the safety of the Chayalim and the liberation of all hostages: that they are brought home whole physically, mentally and spiritually, and for the good health and security of kol Am Yisrael. To the Lavi family, many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
skype: mark.burt3

Parshat Kedoshim 5784: The Asseret HaD’vrot and Their Reformulation

by Moshe Burt

Parshat Kedoshim, which in a regular year (with one Chodesh Adar) is leyned together with Parshat Acharei Mos, is read on its own in this year of two Adars.

Rabbi Shmuel Goldin cites a Mishnaic Sage regarding the restatement of the Asseret HaD’vrot at the beginning of our Parshat Kedoshim in his sefer “Unlocking the Torah Text”, Sefer Vayikra, pages 150 – 153) :

…The placement of these edicts at the beginning of Parshat Kedoshim may well be connected to a fascinating pattern noted by the Mishnaic Sage Rabbi Levi. Many laws of this Parsha, he maintains, are actually a restatement or a reformulation of the Asseret HaD’vrot at Sinai.

For purposes of this vort, we will consider the sixth and ninth of these edicts and their reformulation according to Rabbi Levi and their rendering to English, as cited by Rabbi Goldin (ibid), as these two edicts seem pertinent to our days during this ongoing war of 7 October:

Sixth Edict:

From Har Sinai: “Do not murder…” (Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 20, posuk 13)

Parshat Kedoshim: “You shall not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor…” (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 19, posuk16)

Ninth Edict:

From Har Sinai: “Do not bear false witness against your friend…” (Sefer Sh’mos, Perek 20, posuk 13)

Parshat Kedoshim: “You shall not go as a gossipmonger among your people…” (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 19, posuk16)

A review of the texts reveals…. this critical repetition enables the Torah to expand on a number of Sinaitic laws and translate them into practical terms.

To cite two examples:

1. A reasonable claim could be made that the Sinaitic commandment “”You shall not bear false witness against your fellow” refers solely to testimony offered in a formal courtroom proceeding. As seen through the prism of Parshat Kedoshim, however, the prohibition expands to include cases of spreading damaging information about other individuals in any setting.

2. The “Do not murder” of Sinai would be of only theoretical concern for most readers. How many of us… will ever find ourselves in a situation of potential homicide? The “You shall not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor” of Parshat Kedoshim, however, translates this admonition into eminently practical terms. One can be conceptually guilty of the crime of “murder” not only by doing something horribly wrong but by failing to do something right. The sin of uninvolvement, of failing to aid others in desperate need, is certainly a transgression within the realm of our experience.

Shem Mishmuel (on Parshat Kedoshim), English translation of parsha selections by Rabbi Zvi Belovski, (page 263) notes:

Rabbi Chiya taught that this Parsha was taught to the entire gathered nation… Rabbi Levi explained that it was because the Asseret HaD’vrot are subsumed [adjective: considered under, or taken up into, a larger or more inclusive category, proposition, entity, rule, term, etc.] by it… (Shem Mishmuel citing Vayikra Rabbah 24:5)

It appears, to this author, that these two Commandments from Sinai, with their Divine reformulations in our Parsha can relate closely to the arrogance of the IDF’s High Command which, by their threats and intimidation of their subordinates, acted in both bearing false witness against those issuing dire warnings of an impending mass terror war, and possibly constituting “murder” by omission [verb, or noun: to leave out; fail to include or mention], i.e. as Rabbi Goldin notes above: by failing to do something right — The sin of uninvolvement, of failing to aid others in desperate need, is certainly a transgression within the realm of our experience. Such omission by the High Command, both in disregarding the dire warnings of their subordinates, and by their failure to timely notify the prime minister and the government of the mass attacks of 7 October apparently led to over 1,200 terror fatalities and to Hamas and their collaborators taking hostage and brutalizing over 250 Jews and others.

May it be that our Chayalim emerge totally victorious — eradicating Hamas, their terrorist buddies and the so-called “innocent civilians” of Gaza who joined with Hamas in their murderous deeds, and that the Chayalim return home whole — physically, mentally and spiritually and that the Chayalim Liberate and bring home all remaining hostages. And may we see the restoration of true unity within Am Yisrael.

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently re-settled in Gush Katif, once the IDF, by the Yad Hashem, destructs and eradicates the wild beasts of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, all other terror entities, and if necessary Iran, and that our brethren be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them, that the thrice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes and the oft-destroyed Yeshiva buildings in Homesh be rebuilt, as well as the buildings of Yishuv Elchanan, all at total government expense. May our Chayalim return from battle unharmed — physically, mentally and spiritually and may all of the hostages brutally taken by the wild beasts of Hamas be liberated and brought home to their families. Baruch Hashem that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard is now in his fourth year at home in Eretz Yisrael and continues in a new chapter in his life. May Esther Yocheved bat Yechiel Avraham have an aliyah in Shemayim and may her spirit and memory continue to lift Jonathan to at least 120 years. May the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem — as with the return in April, 2019, via Russia, of the remains of Zachariah Baumel, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of nine years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we see, in 5784, the REAL Jews from the Ukraine and Russia as well as the US and Canada, the real Jews via matrilineal descent, make Aliyah enmass — via thorough review by Misrad HaPanim. And may we soon and finally see the total end to the Communist Chinese Wuhan Lab corona virus pandemic and all like viruses and variants. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nei Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Chodesh Tov and Good Shabbos!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.