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Parashat Kedoshim: K'ish Echad, B'lev Echad

As One Man with One Heart

Further thoughts on Parashat Kedoshim

by John J. Parsons

Note: The following explores some themes found in this week's Torah reading (Kedoshim). Please read the Torah portion to "find your place" here.

Salvation (יְשׁוּעָה) is always corporately understood.  We are one "body," and when one member hurts, we all are affected (1 Cor. 12:26). This is summed up with the saying, kol yisrael arevim zeh la-zeh (כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲרֵבִים זֶה לָזֶה): "All Israel is responsible for one another."  The sages reasoned that since the various commandments of the Torah cannot be literally fulfilled by any single person (e.g., the commandments given to the Kohanim (priests) do not apply to the Levites, the commandments given to men do not apply to women, and so on), all Jews taken together are considered a single person. This is why the Ten Commandments are formulated in the singular: "I am the LORD your (singular) God"; "you (singular) shall have no other gods before Me," and so on.

When we live our lives "as one man with one heart" (כּאישׁ אחד בּלב אחד), we are better equipped to love others as ourselves (Lev. 19:18). Each of us - and this is especially true and vital for those who belong to Yeshua the Mashiach - are connected to one another as ish-echad chadash (אישׁ־אחד חדשׁ) "one new man" (Eph. 2:15). Our welfare, blessing, and ultimate salvation is bound up with one another. Just as the midrash says that each soul is linked to a letter of the Torah, so each of us is linked to the LORD Yeshua who gave Himself up for us in order to reconcile us to God. Each child of God is part of the message of Yeshua's life and love in this world.


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