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Kedoshim 2019

Elimelech Weisblum of Lizhensk - the author of Noam Elimelech as he is known (1717-1787) was the founder of Hasidism in Poland-Galicia. This book is one of the principal works of Hasidism. The sefer was called Sefer Shel Tzadikim, (a Book for the Righteous) by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (founder of the Lubavitch dynasty).

His explanation of the opening first phrase of the sidra “Speak to all the congregation of Israel …you are holy” is typical of his interest in who are the Righteous.

When the Torah speaks of the Jewish people as “Israel” it is referring to only the righteous amongst them, however when it refers to the children of Israel it refers to their whole spectrum. Thus the verse seems to be saying everyone has the propensity to be holy.

The import of holiness is according to the Noam Elimelech to reflect continually on the Divinity of Hashem. He gives the example of Abraham. After being ordered to abort the sacrifice of Isaac, he sees a ram caught in a hedge and understands that this coincidence can be turned into actualising the Divinity of Hashem by substituting it as The Sacrifice.

We constantly do ruminate on this idea, I suggest unconsciously. Listen to how even people who would regard themselves as somewhat secular invoke Hashem in times of trouble or times of great joy lauding the disparity between our human limitations and the unbounded predisposition of Hashem.

Jeffrey Samuels

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