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The Search for Holiness

09/24/2023 01:42:16 PM


Shalom and tzaharayim tov. Our afternoon Torah reading tells us, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” All of Jewish life can be summed up here. We are constantly on the search for holiness, to understand what it means to honor our Divine Spark, to strive to walk in God’s way. The Holiness Code, the section of Leviticus we read from this afternoon, gives us some guidance, but between God’s unknowability and the progression of civilization from the time of the writing of the Torah, there is only so far that code can take us. The rest is up to us to, as I said this morning, Choose Life.

So little in life is assured, nothing comes with a handbook, and our autonomy and free will has more limits than we like to admit. Not because God is dictating our actions, but because we are constrained by nature, our own physical limitations, the ways in which other people or systems impede our growth and goals, and so on. But the Jews are nothing if not persistent, and we keep going. We keep striving to choose life, to be holy, to keep our faith and do good in the world. St. Augustine taught that “faith is in the search for meaning, not the finding,” and while he was of course speaking from a different theological perspective, this quote really speaks to me this High Holy Day season.

May each of us keep searching, may we find meaning in the mysteries, and may we live a new year in holiness. Amen and Shana Tova.

Tue, July 23 2024 17 Tammuz 5784