Parsha Tzav
Leviticus 6:1 - 8:36

The Costume of Holiness ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of mysticism in Hebrew Gematria is dedicated in the loving memory of Mrs. Ethel Sakash Belk, my mother, may she rest in peace.

"Speak to Aharon and to his sons saying, 'This is the law of the sin offering. In the place that is designated to slaughter the burnt offering, slaughter the sin offering before Hashem, it is holy most holy.'"Leviticus 6:18

We read, Ko Dehsh - Kaw Daw Sheem - Hee, meaning "it is holy most holy." What is holy, most holy? Is the Torah reference to the place, to the Lamb or both? Certainly both are holy but the reference here is specifically to the sacrifice offering.

If one were to ask , 'What is holy?' the answers would be surprising... One may consider that
Ko Desh means saintly... spiritually perfect... pure... NOT SO! One may think that the meaning of holy is being without sin... untainted by evil... NOT SO!! One may consider their rabbi, rav or rebbi holy... NOT NECESSARILY SO! Chassidim, it is one thing to be elected to holiness and quite another to fully realize, to fully accomplish that election. It is one avenue to think of each other as holy and an entirely different avenue to actually fulfill the definition of holiness. HOLINESS IS NOT JUST A WORD! Holiness IS NOT a black and white copy... i.e., black hats, white shirts and black slacks... THAT IS NOT HOLINESS!!

We think of the Bais Ha Mikdosh as being holy and indeed it is. We think of the Kohen Godal as being holy and indeed he is!

We the Jewish people are elected to holiness by Hashem. We are suppose to be consecrated! Hashem intends for us to be dedicated to His holy purposes. We have been chosen to a high office. YET FEW OF US ACTUALLY REALIZE THE SUMMIT OF OUR 'HOLY RESPONSIBILITY!' We misunderstand the intention of Ko Dehsh - Kaw Daw Sheem - Hee! A black and white goniff is a thief that davens Shacharis, Mincha and Maariv. Wearing a black hat, white shirt and black slacks DOES NOT MYSTICALLY transform one into being holy. A black and white sexual pervert is nothing more than a sex offender in a costume! Dear readers, being elected to holiness... being called to holiness... being chosen for holiness... is different than being holy!

So the difference is not necessarily in what we wear or in praying Shacharis, Mincha and Maariv, in being Shomer Shabbos or in living in a frum community! A Jew can do each of these while at the same time knowingly, deliberately violate other very important Torah mitzvahs! From the view of daily prayers this person may look very holy. From the angle of Shabbos observance this Jew appears in sync with the Torah. However from the heart's view... from Hashem's view there are many dirty deeds among the black and white.

Rabbium, it is NOT HOLY for the youth of our schools to act superior to non Jews! It is NOT HOLY to act with disdain towards non Jews! It is NOT HOLY to act arrogant towards non Jews... to insult them... to cheat them...! Schools that allow such practices ARE NOT HOLY!! Blinking twice or looking the other way is NOT teaching the Torah values of holiness!!

Jews who swindle a neighbor cast evil upon Yiddishkiet! An individual who legally purchases a property from his neighbor knowing that the property is worth considerably more does NOT ANSWER THE CALL TO HOLINESS! One may argue that purchasing a property for two or three times less what it is worth is great mazel or great saichel when in fact it is stealing.

A Story of Holiness!
Years ago a man approached my father about purchasing a beautiful two bedroom bungalow for $17,000.00. Immediately my father inquired, 'Do you realize the property is worth more?'

The elderly man replied, 'Yes, two maybe three times more.'

My father suggested that he first speak with his son before offering the property to him at that price. He did. My father then suggested that both the father and son speak with their attorney before offering him the property at the suggested price. They did! They had their attorney draw up an agreement for $17,000.00, total selling price, $2,000.00 down, no interest. My father purchased the house. This is an example of real Holiness in action! I am very proud of my father for this action.

On the other hand, if an individual learns that a neighbor desires to sell a property for two or three times less than its market value without saying a word, that is NOT HOLINESS! One could argue the seller should have checked with a professional before consummating an agreement. That is true! One may argue that it was the seller's obligation to investigate the price of their property. That is also true! YET for a Jew to make a purchase knowing the seller is ignorant of the value, knowing the seller believes he is getting a fair price from the Jew when in fact he is not, rushing the consummation of this agreement before the seller becomes informed that the value is two or even three time greater... that is NOT HOLY! Transactions like this DO NOT ELEVATE THE NAME OF HASHEM!! THEY ARE CHILLUL HASHEM {desecrating G-d's name}, G-d forbid!

We hear the expression 'Time is money!' This is a Jewish expression! If we take another person's time, knowing that we do not intend to use their service, that may be stealing. If we inform them that we do not intend to use their service and they offer their service, being aware of our intention, that is fine. If however we make a pledge... if we sign an agreement... if we make a commitment to use this individual's service and in fact DO NOT... that is NOT HOLY! If we use another service after spending the time of the first individual, after making a pledge to the first individual... that is NOT HOLY! Transactions like this DO NOT ELEVATE THE NAME OF HASHEM!! THEY ARE CHILLUL HASHEM, G-d forbid!

Dear reader, that is why the Torah says Ko Dehsh - Kaw Daw Sheem - Hee, "it is holy most holy." The Torah does not say it looks holy from the outside, it is 'BLACK AND WHITE!' The Torah says, "it is holy most holy." The Torah does not say from the appearance of Shabbos observance it looks holy. The Torah says, "it is holy most holy." The Torah does not say from the observance of Shacharis, Mincha and Maariv it appears holy. The Torah says, "it is holy most holy."

Chassidim, when the Torah says Ko Dehsh - Kaw Daw Sheem - Hee the Torah expresses fulfillment, not election! The Torah expresses completion! Not progress! Not improvement! In Ko Dehsh - Kaw Daw Sheem - Hee the Torah is acknowledging accomplishment!

Now the choice is ours, do we want to wear the costume of the frum? Do we want to bathe in our election to righteousness? Or do we really want to be possessed with righteousness Ko Dehsh - Kaw Daw Sheem - Hee?

This is the conclusion of the Festival of Freedom. It is a wonderful opportunity to cast aside our costumes. I would also like to say we do not need more costumes. We need more holiness! I do not agree with the idea of dressing like a frum Jew and living as a sinner! It is better to wear blue jeans as Ko Dehsh - Kaw Daw Sheem - Hee than to be a carbon copy of election!!

This is one part of a three part series:

The Costume of Holiness

Ten Steps of Holiness

The Eighth Day of Pesach {Passover}

Good Shabbos! Good Yom Tov!

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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