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National Council of Jewish Women
Greater Detroit Section
Our Holy Bond With God
Is Affirmed Every Day
what could no longer be done, the rabbis
declared that "sacrifices of the heart," or
prayers were to replace the offerings at
the Temple cult. We were to sanctify the
lights and the bread of our homes and
invest in them the special significance
ast week we read what has been
previously applied to the articles of the
called the "essence of ethical
monotheism," the Holiness
The rabbis charged the people to
Code of Leviticus, chapter 19.
make their lives a series of "holy acts," to
It began kdoshim t'hiyu, ki kadosh ani
live them fully, in proper relationship
adonai el.ohaychem "You shall be
with each other, with nature
holy because I, the Lord your
and with God.
God, am holy."
They composed a statement
We translate kadosh as
that expressed how important it
"holy," but Judaism has a differ-
was for us to praise God and
ent understanding of "holy"
acknowledge with awe God's
than do other religious systems.
majestic and wonder-filled
We declare that kadosh, holy, is
world. They wrote the state-
ment in Aramaic, the common
Holiness is determined by
language of the Jewish world;
the quality of its connection to
for they wanted everyone to be
us, rather than the divinity of its
able to fully understand and
connection to God.
comprehend this ultimate poem
Defining our relationships
with each other, our relationship
When this statement was
Special to the
to this natural world and our
recited, the moment became
relationship with God, holiness
kadosh, even as did the person
is not something declared by
who spoke or sang its words.
God; rather it is something affirmed by
Belonging to our people, the statement,
us. When we decide that a thing or idea
regularly repeated, reaffirmed our special-
is "set aside," is special, is uniquely mean-
ness, our unique status within the world.
ingful, then it becomes kadosh/holy.
It came to be called the Kaddish, per-
In our Torah reading this week, we see
haps because it was a daily reminder that
how holiness was applied to the acces-
this people was to be kadosh/holy in
sories of the Tabernacle, the Tent of
what they said, in what they did, in who
They were the most simple and com-
Repeated in different forms in our
mon of commodities: olive oil for lamps
prayer book, the Kaddish remains the
and flour for bread (Leviticus 24:1-9).
ultimate praise of God.
But in bringing light and food into the
It is quite unique in our liturgy, for it
House of ge Lord, we took special care
is not directed to God, but to the people
that only the "clear oil of crushed olives"
present. Not written in the Hebrew of
and the "choicest of flour" be used.
Torah, of scripture, it remains in
The lamps of the menorah and the
Aramaic, our ancient common language.
bread arranged on the table are really no
Our worship service serves to recon-
different than the lamp and bread of any
nect us in proper relationship to others,
dwelling — except in how these were
to nature, and to God. The great symbol
prepared, in the care and attention given
of that regular reconnection is our
to them. And in separating them and our
designated labors over them from the reg-
ular and routine articles and labors of
daily living, the oil and the light it gave
became holy, and the flour and its bread
How does kadosh as "relational
holiness" help us understand
After the House of the Lord, the
Kiddush (the blessing over wine)
Jerusalem Temple destroyed by Rome in
and. Kiddushin ("holiness" of mar-
70 C.E., there have not been any more
riage)? What are ways in which we
holy things that were regularly brought
can bring kedushah/holiness into
our everyday relationships? Does
To replace what had been taken away,
this understanding of the Kiddish
help to explain how it might have
come to be associated with those
Joseph P. Klein is rabbi of Temple
who have died?
Emanu-El. His e-mail address is
Packs and delivers Kosher Meals on Wheels and is the
sole underwriter for those unable to pay in full.
0 Sponsors Up and Out programs for Seniors with
Advocates for children and adults in the Oakland County
Shabbat Emor: Leviticus
Maintains a Kosher shelter for abused women and
* Has built a Universally Accessible Playground for
children of ALL abilities, including those with
Participates in a literacy program for school children.
e- Gives interest free loans and grants to Jewish
undergraduate and graduate students.
Underwrites weekly shopping transportation for
residents of Jewish Apartments and Services.
Provides programs and support groups for adults and
children experiencing bereavement or divorce.
We wish to thank our wonderful volunteers
who make all our projects possible.
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