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    The source of holiness – T’tzavveh

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Lilien_High_priest-e1549334913136.jpg

    The Kohen Gadol wore a head-dress with the Hebrew words, Kodesh LaShem – “Holy to the Lord”.

    Not that the Kohen Gadol alone was singled out for holiness. The whole people were mamlechet kohanim, “a kingdom of priests” (Ex. 19:6). The priest was one of them, albeit their leading representative. Not only he but all the people had to be Holy to the Lord.

    However, the Hebrew word kodesh literally means, not “holy” (which would be kadosh) but “holiness”.  In that sense, Kodesh LaShem denotes, “Holiness belongs to the Lord”.

    In the words of Rabbi Harry Freedman in his edition of the Chumash (page 528), “The priest proclaimed the Lord as the source of holiness… The Pantheon of many ancients was peopled with deities who were pictured, without any sense of condemnation, as guilty of every crime in the calendar – theft, deceit and rape, to name only a few.

    “The proclamation of the Lord as the source of holiness set an ethical ideal to which man should aspire by imitation”.

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