Behar - Pillars of Holiness

And Hashem spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, Speak to the children of Israel and you shall say to them: When you come to the land that I am giving you, the land shall rest a Sabbath to Hashem. You may sow your field for six years, and for six years you may prune your vineyard, and gather in its produce, But in the seventh year, the land shall have a complete rest a Sabbath to Hashem; you shall not sow your field, nor shall you prune your vineyard.
וַיְדַבֵּר ה אֶל משֶׁה בְּהַר סִינַי לֵאמֹר דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לָכֶם וְשָׁבְתָה הָאָרֶץ שַׁבָּת לה שֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים תִּזְרַע שָׂדֶךָ וְשֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים תִּזְמֹר כַּרְמֶךָ וְאָסַפְתָּ אֶת תְּבוּאָתָהּ וּבַשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁבִיעִת שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן יִהְיֶה לָאָרֶץ שַׁבָּת לה שָׂדְךָ לֹא תִזְרָע וְכַרְמְךָ לֹא תִזְמֹר
Vayikra 25:1-4

Rashi asks the famous question: What does the subject of Shemittah have to do with Mount Sinai? Were not all the commandments stated from Sinai? 

מה ענין שמיטה אצל הר סיני

A Holy Nation 
Says the Slonimer Rebbe, to understand this combination of topics we have to understand that the ultimate purpose that Hashem created the world is for Am Yisrael, that Yisrael should serve as a Holy nation for Hashem. The purpose of Yisrael is to be holy.
As it says:
Shmot 19:6
And you shall be to Me a kingdom of princes and a holy nation.' These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Israel."
וְאַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ לִי מַמְלֶכֶת כֹּהֲנִים וְגוֹי קָדוֹשׁ אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר תְּדַבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל
Shmot 22:30
And you shall be holy people to Me, and flesh torn in the field you shall not eat; you shall throw it to the dog[s].
וְאַנְשֵׁי קֹדֶשׁ תִּהְיוּן לִי וּבָשָׂר בַּשָּׂדֶה טְרֵפָה לֹא תֹאכֵלוּ לַכֶּלֶב תַּשְׁלִכוּן אֹתוֹ
Vayikra 19:2Speak to the entire congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them, You shall be holy, for I, Hashem, your G-d, am holy.
דַּבֵּר אֶל כָּל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם קְדשִׁים תִּהְיוּ כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אֲנִי ה קלקיכם
Foundation of Holiness
Holiness, Kedushah, is based on 3 areas and bringing these together forms complete holiness.
  • Place (מקום)
  • Time (זמן)
  • Soul (נפש)
Holiness in Place
Hakadosh Baruch Hu gave Eretz Yisrael to Am Yisrael to provide a place of holiness.

The Slonimer Rebbe brings the parable of the vineyard from the Sefer Kuzari. In Sefer Kuzari (II: 8), Rabbi Judah Halevi dealt with the special connection between the Land of Israel and the people of Israel.
How about the hill on which you say that the vines thrive so well? If it had not been properly planted and cultivated, it would never produce grapes. Priority belongs, in the first instance, to the people which, as stated before, is the essence and the Kernel [of the nations].
: כן הרכם זה, שאתם אומרים שמצליח בו הכרם, אילו לא היו נוטעים בו הגפנים ועובדים העבודה הראויה להם, לא היה עושה ענבים. והמעלה המיוחדת הראשונה, היא לעם שהוא סגולה ולב כאשר זכרתי. ויש לארץ עזר בזה עם המעשים והתורות התלויות בה, אשר הם כעבודה לכרם, אבל לא יתכן לסגולה הזאת להגיע אל העניין האלוקי בבלעדי המקום הזה, כאשר לא יתכן שיצליח הכרם בבלעדי ההר הזה.  
R. Yehuda Halevi compares the people of Israel to the vineyard, as it is necessary to cultivate a vineyard in order to provide grapes, so too Israel must work in order to make them fruitful. Israel's work is the mitzvot. The grapes are the "divine matter" - their prophetic ability and the ability to .

This principle is explained through the parable of a vineyard, which can thrive only in mountainous soil. A vineyard uprooted from its native soil will wither and die.
  • The vineyard symbolizes the people of Israel
  • The soil symbolizes the Land of Israel. 
But the uniqueness of the Land of Israel is not just a question of climate. The Jewish People need the land in order to grow and develop - essentially and qualitatively different from the other nations. Hence the Land of Israel, too, has a special quality, a holiness,  that is conducive to reaching new levels of reality, and for connecting with G-d.

That is to say that R. Yehuda Halevi thinks that in Eretz Yisrael there is a special holiness - the land itself is holiness!!!

Holiness in Time
For the holiness of time, Hakadosh Baruch Hu gave Am Yisrael the Shabbat, a wellspring of holiness.
And G-d blessed the seventh day and He hallowed it, for thereon He abstained from all His work that G-d created to do.
וַיְבָרֶךְ קלקים אֶת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי וַיְקַדֵּשׁ אֹתוֹ כִּי בוֹ שָׁבַת מִכָּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר בָּרָא קלקים לַעֲשׂוֹת
Breisheit 2:3
The interpretation of  "and He hallowed it" is Hashem himself is the wellspring and source holiness for everything related to Am Yisrael, whose purpose is to be a holy nation.

Holiness in Soul
 For the holiness of the soul, the Torah provides the mitzvot:
  • You shall be holy people to Me 
  • You shall be holy
Complete Holiness
The fulfillment of the holiness is when these three areas (place, time, and soul) come together as one. This way Am Yisrael reaches their purpose to be a holy nation for Hashem.


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