This post is part of a weekly series of Torah commentaries presented by the American Jewish World Service. It was contributed by Aviva Presser Aiden.
At the outset of Parshat Kedoshim, all Israel receives the nebulous command of “kedoshim tihiyu…You shall be holy, for I am holy; I am the Lord your God.” ((Leviticus 19:2.)) The text then proceeds to enumerate numerous laws appearing to detail the requirements of this injunction.
Within this collection of verses we find an interesting parallel: In Leviticus 19:3, the text dictates that part of fulfilling the commandment to be holy includes the obligation to “… revere [one’s] mother and [one’s] father, [and to] keep my Sabbaths, I am the Lord your God.” ((Leviticus 19:3.)) Toward the end of Chapter 19, a second verse, also linked to holiness, structurally and linguistically parallels 19:3 quite closely. It requires that “you shall keep my Sabbaths and venerate My Sanctuary, I am the Lord.” ((Leviticus 19:30.)) In these two verses, the language of Sabbath reverence is identical, and the word for reverence—tira’u—is used in relation to both parents and the Sanctuary.