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| Published: April 25, 2022
Dozens of commandments are discussed in this week’s reading, Kedoshim. Among them: various mandatory gifts for the poor, love for every Jew, prohibition against sorcery, honesty in business dealings, and sexual morality.
First Aliyah: G‑d commands the Jewish people to be holy. This section then briefly discuses several laws: revering parents; observing the Shabbat; prohibitions against idolatry; the obligation to burn “leftover” sacrificial flesh; the obligation to leave certain parts of one’s harvest for the poor; not to lie, cheat, withhold wages, swear falsely, curse or mislead another.
Second Aliyah: More mitzvot: Not to pervert justice, gossip, be indifferent to a fellow’s predicament, hate a fellow Jew, bear grudges, or take revenge. To reprimand a sinner, and to love every Jew. The following statutes are also given here: not to sow a field with two kinds of seed, wear a garment made of a mixture of wool and linen (shatnez), or crossbreed animals. The section concludes with the laws of one who commits adultery with a half-free maidservant.
Third Aliyah: We are introduced to the laws of “orlah,” the prohibition against eating the fruit of a new sapling for the first three years, and the obligation to sanctify the fruit of the fourth year. We are enjoined not to engage in witchcraft or prostitution, or tattoo our bodies. Men are instructed not to destroy the hair at the edges of their scalp or the corners of their beards. We are commanded to observe the Shabbat; respect G‑d‘s sanctuary, Torah scholars and the elderly.
Fourth Aliyah: We are commanded to love converts. We are also enjoined to be truthful in business dealing by maintaining honest weights and measures.
Fifth Aliyah: The Torah prescribes capital punishment for one who worships Molech; a form of idolatry which required human sacrifices. The Torah also describes the punishment which will befall the nation if they neglect to punish Molech worshippers.
Sixth Aliyah: The Torah sets the punishments for individuals who curse their parents and those who engage in prohibited sexual relations.
Seventh Aliyah: We are instructed not to follow the customs and traditions of the heathens, and to be meticulous about eating only kosher foods. The Torah portion ends on the same note as it started — an enjoinder that we be holy.