“You shall be holy, for holy am I, Hashem, your G-d.” 

If the Torah wanted to command us to act with kedushah it would have written kedoshim yeheyu (in the present tense). Instead the Torah writes kedoshim tihiyu (in the future tense), an express that connotes a promise. The posuk is telling us that bnei Yisroel are Divinely promised that ultimately they will become refined and will be kedoshim. The Torah therefore directs itself to bnei Yisroel and teaches them it is preferable they become kedoshim through intensive and sincere avodas Hashem, while if not they will need to become kedoshim through yesurim (suffering).

[Maran Rebbe Shulem zy’a of Belz]


You shall be holy; for holy am I, Hashem your G-d.”

Rashi states the Midrash (24;9): “You shall be holy, yochol kemoni”—perhaps like Me [Hashem]? The posuk continues, “for I, Hashem your G-d, am Holy”–My Holiness is above yours.

The Gemara (Bava Basra 75:) relates: Rebbi Elozor says, that in the future, the angels will say ‘kodosh’ to the tzaddikim, just like they presently say it for Hashem.

Through this we can offer another insight into the intent of the Midrash: HaKodosh Boruch Hu proclaims, “You shall be holy, yochol kemoni;” Yes, you do have the ability to be holy like Me. How can you attain such elevated heights? Talmud lomar—(“talmud” has the root word “lemod”, to get used to), accustom yourself to say, “ki kodosh ani”—I am holy. Thereby, when the yetzer hora attempts to incite you to sin, you will tell him, “I am holy; how can I stoop so low as to transgress?” Conversely, when the yetzer tov will tell you to perform a mitzvah, you will tell him, “Yes, I am holy, and I will accept your advice and do the mitzvah promptly.” This will elevate the person to the ultimate level of being holy, comparable to Hashem’s holiness.

[Rebbe of Ruzhin zt”l]


You shall not take revenge and you shall not bear a grudge against the members of your people; you shall love your fellow as yourself—I am Hashem.”

The Talmidim of Rebbe Shmelke of Nikolsburg zt”l once questioned their Rebbe, “How can you possibly observe the mitzvah of loving a fellow like yourself in every situation? There are times when another Yid behaves despicably towards you; how can you love him at all, all the more so love him like yourself?”

In response, Rebbe Shmelke told them, “We know that all the Yiddishe neshumos harbor a part of the One Above. Hashem is One, and thus all the Yiddishe neshumos are also one.

“Occasionally, a person’s hand mistakenly strikes his other hand. Though the person feels the pain, he will surely not take a stick and hit the hand, for why should a person hurt himself?

“Along this vein, a person should regard his fellow Jew. If all the souls are one, and all of Klal Yisroel is one entity, then his fellow Yid is one with him. If this fellow Yid will hurt him, he surely does so unintentionally, because he does not know that he is hurting himself. However, a person who understands this concept, will surely not diminish his love towards his fellow Yid, because he knows that it is comparable to one hand hurting the other. Hence, he is able to accomplish the Mitzvah of loving his friend like himself.”

With this thought we can interpret the sequence of the two Mitzvos in the above posuk: “You shall not revenge and you shall not bear a grudge against the members of your people”- Should a person wonder how it is possible to refrain from bearing a grudge against a fellow Yid who hurts him, thus the Torah writes, “You shall love your fellow”—and to accomplish this, you should think that, “Komochoh”— he is a part of yourself; He is one with you. If a person will bear this in mind, he will be able to fully love his fellow Yid, and will not desire to revenge him, because he will not want to hurt himself.

[Kav Ve’noki]