Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

Be Holy – It’s quite a challenge to achieve, but where should one start? Ohr Hachaim (known as “Hakadosh”, as it were) points out that the first Mitzva following Kedoshim Tih’yu is:

איש אמו ואביו תיראו – A holy person will honor and respect his parents.


Rashi famously associates Kedusha with chastity, refraining from forbidden relations. When Joseph was tempted by the wife of Potiphar it was the image of his father, Yaakov, that kept him on course. While not every Jewish father since then has reached Yaakov’s level, there is a basic dignity and morality that Jewish parents represent (unfortunate exceptions are fortunately few and far between).

Furthermore, notes Ohr Hachaim, mother precedes father in this verse. If a child does stray from the path of morality, it is invariably the mother who is most humiliated.

While we can’t choose our parents, we can determine what kind of image our children will conjure up as they go through life’s travails.

Shabbat Shalom


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Rav Korn is a senior Rabbi at Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh