adapted from Meta Parshahs by R David Wolfe-Blank, Living Torah R Aryeh Kaplan

K’DOSHIM – Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, The Dalai Lama meeting, Rabbinic Pastor Eve Ilsen smiling in the middle


This week’s Torah portion, K’doshim, consists of 64 verses grouped into four chapters. Everything said in this Torah portion seems to have been said to the community as a whole, as they were standing together at some major convocation, similar to the one at Mount Sinai. Most of the back-bone themes of Torah emerge in this week’s reading which details a great variety of mitzvot. The substance of each of the 10 Commandments is repeated here and a new singularity, an essence of all the words of Torah is articulated in the first sentence: K’doshim t’h’yu, Be holy.


Big wow! Here is another extension in the cycle of this leap year!

What does it mean when the S’firah comes down in an extended manner? Let’s look at a Hasidic explanation of the two-day holiday celebration in Galut (outside of Israel). In Israel, they celebrate a single holy day at the beginning and the end of Passover and Sukkot and a single day of Shavuot. In Galut, we celebrate two days of holiness for every one day in Israel.


What takes a single day to be absorbed in Israel requires two days in the Galut to be absorbed. The Alter Rebbe said that if he had had the power, he would’ve decreed that two days be celebrated even in Israel. He obviously thought that holiday stretching was a good idea.


Aharei Mott and K’doshim are frequently read as a double portion. Together are associated with Yesod in Netzah, Intimacy through Endurance. This year each of these Torah portions is read on a separate Shabbat.

Kedoshim ranges over a wide area of human activities and mirrors the wealth and energy of Netzah. Yesod is centered on the tree, able to assimilate both right and left. It brings energies into balance at every turn. Since Yesod is close to the bottom of the tree and in a direct line with the top, we understand why it is identified with holiness (at the top of the tree) as well as sexuality (close to the action realm). Laws about sex are found in this Torah portion. Just as Yesod gathers all the energies of the tree together, this Torah portion gathers together many statutes, as well as all the people are gathered together in the setting where all these laws were given.


Pesah is celebrated during the time of year Netzah is counted in the Torah portion count. As I have written before, Pesah is a key reason that the Jewish people have retained an identity even when we did not have a country.  This means that Pesah inherently is an aspect of Yesod in Netzah, Foundation in Continuity. Significantly, the holiday is celebrated during this part of the Torah cycle count.  


This year, Aharei Mott was read in the Monday and Thursday Torah services the week prior to Pesah, initiating Yesod in Netzah before the holiday began.  

1) Since the first day of Pesah coincided with Shabbat, the Torah reading for Pesah was read that Shabbat.  The Shabbat energy is overlaid and elevated with Powerful Pesah Presence. Yesod in Netzah initiated it this year.

2) Next Shabbat coincided with the eighth day of Pesah, and so the Pesah Torah portion was read again in Galut. The Shabbat energy is overlaid and elevated with the Powerful Pesah Presence. Yesod in Netzah stretches.

3) On the Shabbat following Pesah, Aharei Mott was read.  Yesod in Netzah stretches.

4) This week K’doshim is read and continues to resonate. Yesod in Netzah expands further.  

Consider Yesod in Netzah. Its place in the Tree of Life gathers all the light from the other S’firot.  Netzah endures and keeps going even when the going gets tough. This year, Yesod in Netzah keeps going and going, as is Netzah’s character. By these means, a solid foundation for moving forward is cultivated. Cosmic batteries are being charged through this sequencing for what is coming next.

Holistic Jew