Celebrating the Spiritual Levels of Torah

Torah Portion for the week of April 20 - 26: Kedoshim

(Leviticus 19:1 - 20:27)

The essence of spiritual awareness is the realization of absolute Oneness. We open toward that inclusivity through a radical expansion of our sense of Self: Our "I" opens more fully, and we know a shared Presence, a common Being shared with others and our world.

When we experience ourselves separate from others and from our world, we identify more exclusively with our exclusive ego-self, and we are less spiritually aware. We maintain our separateness by focusing on our grievances with others and with ourselves, and when our thoughts and our actions are self-serving.

That this has always been the case is illustrated in the parashah this week. The Holiness Code is centered in the 19th chapter of the Book of Leviticus with which this week's reading begins.

"You are holy, for I AM, the Eternal your God, is Holy." (19:2)

When we realize that the Universal I AM awakens through us, we begin to appreciate the nature of our holiness. This is both reminder and invitation to open ourselves to our greater Identity. Because I AM is the Name of God given to Moses at the burning bush, we understand that this verse refers to the absolutely inclusive Universal I AM.

"Do not turn to idols or make molten gods for yourselves: I AM is the Eternal One who is your God." (19:4)

Our belief in other "gods" inhibits our capacity to realize the One Identity connecting us all. Our lesser selves too often crave the "gods" of fame, success, money, recognition, power, and prestige, as if those could provide lasting security and happiness. Our "idols" interrupt our natural ability to experience the shared Presence within us.

Awakening to the Holiness within all Being provides the spiritual foundation for true ethical action in the world. We care for others not out of obligation, but as a natural expression of reality. We are all connected, we share One Life, and the suffering of any impacts all of us.

"You shall not pick your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I AM is the Eternal your God." (19:9 - 10)

Compassionate action flows naturally from the awareness of the essential dignity of each and every being. From this deeper spiritual awareness we are called to forgiveness and reconciliation. We are called to Love.

"Love your neighbor as yourself: I AM is the Eternal One." (19:18)

Behind all authentic ritual is the extraordinary simplicity of this spiritual reality. Compassionate action in the world always follows from the recognition of the Being we share.

Our challenge is to remember the One we are.

Focus Phrases

I am connected to All Being right now.
Life flows through me in loving ways.
I witness One Life awakening within all beings.

Writing Prompts

When I forget the Being I share, I tend to. . .
What most helps me remember my greater Identity is. . .
When I am spiritually aware, I am able to. . .

“Torah is the book with no end, supporting our understanding of what it means to be a vehicle for the Spirit of Creation.”

Photo: Mark Reden