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Holiness and the Spiritual Light

By: David Bondy ('08-'10)

The Jewish nation trapped in the slavery and horrors of egypt wasn't only an entrapment on their physical being, but was a trapping of the mind as well. When a human being settles into a place, into a framework, that framework eventually grows onto the individual causing one to be a slave to his/her surroundings. To leave such a state of mind and literally "switch gears" into this new reality wasn't something which the Jewish nation, or anyone in such a situation for that matter, could simply snap out of just like that. This is one of the main reasons Hashem sent the Ten Makkos, as an awakening into a new and true reality.

This parsha speaks a lot about respecting ones elders and looking highly upon those older and wiser than us. It is known that as Moshiach gets closer, the young of the generation will look down upon their elders and boldly stnd out with a sharp tongue. A generation where the young teach the old, and the older/wiser have no importance to the younger. Mesilas Yesharim accounts for this, as it states (in chapter 11), "This is all the result of the haughtiness which sets wisdom backwards and dulls people's minds. It removes the wise leaders and disciples who have not been sufficiently apprenticed, whose eyes have barely opened, and already consider themselves to be the wisest of the wise." Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai taught: Even in the future, the Holy one will accord honor to the elders, as it says, "And the moon will be embarrassed, and the sun put to shame, for G-d has ruled over Zion and Jerusalem... and before his elders there will be honor." Rabbi Shimon was speaking of L'ateed Lavoh, a future when G-d's eminence will have illuminated the universe, His radience outshining the brillience of the sun and the moon. The sun and the moon reffered to here is not the sun and the moon we know today, but rather the sun and moon of the future, whose luminescence will be 'many times brighter than today's' (Pesachim 68a). Even in this brilliant world, the place of Israel's elders will be well established. May we all soon see the day which the light and majesty of Hashem will take over, and the respect for elders is fully restored. 
The Ramban points out about this parsha, "Kedoshim Tihiyu," meaning that we 'have' to be holy. How? Holiness emits from things that are concealed, things which one separates from the mundane. One of the mitzvot in this parsha is to abstain from indulging in things. We ourselves, and as a nation, need to make that separation and create that symbol in our daily lives that shows us and all who are around us that we are a nation separate from the rest. We are a symbol. A symbol of kedusha. G-d said he wants us all to be G-dly creatures, not to be a physical beast with spiritual attributes, but rather a spiritual being in a physical world. If we can achieve this goal, we can succeed in our mission to bring holiness into this world. With this goal being achieved, may we all bring upon the world an abundance of spiritual light among all the nations, breaking out of the frameworks of our daily lives, and ultimately bringing Moshiach in that process.