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April 29, 1988 - Image 47

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-04-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I TORAH PORTION I

A TWENTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY EVENT
BIRMINGHAM TEMPLE

proudly presents

AN- EVENING WITH

You Shall Be Holy
In The Marketplace

RABBI MORTON F. YOLKUT

Special to The Jewish News

T

he theme of this
week's second Torah
portion, "Kedushah",
or holiness, is the theme and
goal of all of Torah. We are
designated as a "kingdom of
priests and a holy nation." We
are to imitate God by being
holy.
Holiness, however, is a very
difficult concept to explain
and it seems out of place in
contemporary America. Is not
the ideal of holiness irrele-
vant in an age of space mis-
sions and a life shaped by

Shabbat
Acharei-Kedoshim:
Leviticus
16:1-20:27,
Amos 9:7-15

computers and advanced
technology?
To answer is that the
Torah's command in the in-
itial verse of the sidrah of
"Kedoshim", "You shall be
holy" was specifically
directed to ordinary men and
women engaged in trade and
business, medicine and law,
child rearing and family
building.
It is interesting and instruc-
tive that the mandate of
holiness is prefaced by the
unusual formula, "speak un-
to all the congregation of the
children of Israel and say un-
to them." Upon this the
"Sifra", one of the oldest col-
lections of rabbinical com-
mentaries on the Bible,
makes the observation: "This
chapter of holiness was
spoken at an assembly of the
entire people, since the essen-
tial part of the Torah depends
on it."
One of the later rabbinic
commentaries interprets this
to mean: the sidrah of
"Kedoshim" is proclaimed for
living within the kahal, as a
way of life for one in society.
Not to separate oneself from
society, to live in this world
and yet be a holy person —
that is the Jewish concept of
holiness. Indeed, if we con-
sider the heroes of our history
whom we have come to regard
as our saints, we find that the
great majority of them were
people who were intimately
concerned with and involved
in the rigorous experiences of
real, practical living; people

Morton F Yolkut is rabbi of Cong.
B'nai David.

who neither secluded them-
selves from their societies,
nor allowed themselves to
become completely over-
whelmed by their mundane
problems.
Moses was the "man of
God", not because he en-
countered a burning bush in
the isolated wilderness of
Sinai, but because he brought
its message into the lives of a
long-enslaved people.
Rabbi Akiva engineered a
revolution; Resh Lakish
emerged as a Talmudic sage
from a career as a Robin Hood
of antiquity; Maimonides was
a busy, respected physician as
well as one of our greatest
philosophers and codifiers.
They are of this world and
in this world — yet not lost in
it. They prove that not only
can holiness survive in a prac-
tical milieu, but that the
challenges of mundane, pro-
saic living can be the
catalysts in achieving a life of
"kedushah."
The Torah's command "you
shall be holy" is not said to
select human beings or
saints, but to all men and
women. One need not look for
holiness in a world to come;
one need not look for I. )liness
in a more religious setting.
"Let me walk before God in
the lands of the living" wrote
the Psalmist. Where is the
land of the living? The rabbis
answer: "It is in the market
place." (Yoma 71a)
It is there where we are ask-
ed to imitate God, as we dwell
among our fellow men. How a
man serves, what he does,
how he shares, what he gives
— ultimately these are the
tests of our lives as Jews and
our holiness as a people.

Shaarey Zedek
Hosts Elazar

Prof. Daniel Elazar will
discuss "The Situation in
Israel Today: What Bothers
Us?" at Cong. Shaarey Zedek
at 8 p.m. May 12.
His appearance is spon-
sored by the Berry family and
presented under the aegis of
the Shaarey Zedek Cultural
Commission.
A native Detroiter, Elazar is
chairman of the department
of political studies and head
of the Institute of Local
Government at Bar-Ilan
University in Israel. He is the
author or editor of more than
30 books and has served on
numerous government
commissions.
The public is invited. There
is no charge.

RICHARD KOZLOW

Nationally Renowned Michigan Artist
who will be
Speaking and Presenting
His Exclusive Premiere Exhibition
of

"VICTIMS"

A preview showing
of a unique body of work

FRIDAY, MAY 6111, 8:30 P.M. RECEPTION TO FOLLOW

BIRMINGHAM TEMPLE

28611 W. 12 Mile/Farmington Hills
477-1410

Free Admission

Community Invited

THE EXHIBITION WILL BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
SATURDAY & SUNDAY, MAY 7-8; NOON-5:00 P.M.

LI&

B'NAI B'RITH HILLEL FOUNDATION

THE CRISIS ON CAMPUS

Maybe you don't know it yet, because you're not on campus these days
as a student. But if you go to Wayne State University or Oakland University
or Oakland Community College, then you feel it.
By "it," we mean the dispersal of Jewish students on local college
campuses.
In the "good old days," when there were lots of Jewish students 'around,
such as you -still find at Michigan State University or the University of
Michigan, students could find each other almost by just looking around
the classroom or the dorm. Today, we Jewish campus professionals find
that the numbers on our campuses are shrinking considerably.
Just as the anti-Israel population is becoming ever more visible and
voluble on campus, the few Jews who are "hunkering down." Instead of
actively seeking out each other and banding together, they are becoming
ever more isolated and invisible, and our organizational life is becoming
more isolated.
We need our Jewish students, and our Jewish student organizations,
more than ever. We're crucial as a Jewish institutional presence, and as a
means of support. We're crucial as a vehicle to bolster the backbones of
the "hunkered-down" Jewish population on campus, to provide them with
information and programs and positive identification.
Obviously, the relationship is a mutual one. We need them; they need us.
We're here to help. Give us a call.

B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundations
of Metropolitan Detroit

Carol Kaczander
Louis Finkelman, Director
Outreach Worker
B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation,
Oakland Community College
Wayne State University

557-3459

577-3459

Sandy Loeffler, Ext. Dir.
Hilell/J.S.O.
Oakland University

370-4257/443-0424

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