The word kedoshim means holiness. Parshat Kedoshim has laws that, when followed, show our dedication to G-d and are supposed to bring us closer to holiness. There are many laws discussed that we are expected to follow for all aspects of our lives.
Some of the commandments from this week’s parsha include: one must leave a corner of a field of standing crops for the poor, which for us could mean participating in food drives; one may not hold back from saving another person from danger; one may not embarrass others; and love your neighbor as yourself.
There are many more ideas in this parsha, and each is important, but the one I’d like to focus mostly on is respecting your parents. In chapter 20 verse 9, the Torah talks about respecting your parents and says that the penalty for insulting your parents is death. Why does insulting your parents have such a harsh penalty? As I read in the commentary, this penalty was so harsh because our parents are G-d’s partners in creation and insulting your parents would be as if you were insulting G-d.
I agree that it is very important not to insult anyone or contradict your parents, but I also think that death is too harsh of a penalty. I think that this is still an important part of the Torah, though, because we learn from it how bad it is to insult your parents. When you disrespect your parents you are not only hurting your parents and G-d, but you are also hurting yourself. You are hurting yourself because you will feel guilty if you argue with your parents, and that hurts you inside and damages the relationship.
The Torah teaches us to treat and respect the people around us the way we want to be treated. And we should treat our parents with even more love and respect. Even on your worst days, your parents will be there for you, with open arms, unconditional love and a shoulder to lean on. I am so lucky to have such amazing parents who take such wonderful care of me.
David Polsky is a seventh-grade student at Krieger Schechter Day School.