Jewish Journal

The Way to Holiness - D’var Torah Acharei Mot/K’doshim – Leviticus 19

by Rabbi John Rosove

April 18, 2013 | 8:23 am

Exalted One –
You call us to holiness,
To climb the ladder,
Higher and higher,
To reach as far as we might,
But never to rise above the angels.

You call us to purity,
To be as priests,
In this world,
Separate and apart,
As intermediaries  
Between our flawed humanness
And Your Transcendent Oneness.

How do we come near
To You Who dwells on High?
How do we discover
You, enthroned beyond stars?
How can we reach
You, larger than thought?
How can we know
You, Ineffable Truth?

What is the way to holiness
If we be so bound to earth,
And driven by need,
And broken by grief?

You call us to rise up
and bow low to You,
At Your holy footstool ,
To be enveloped in Your Glory,
To transcend our senses
Where sapphires glisten,
And angels praise,
And Torah letters shimmer,
And souls sing.

You say that Your teaching is not so distant,
Not across the seas beyond our reach,
Nor in the heavens above
Making it unattainable.

It is rather, close,
So very close,
In our hearts,
In our breath,
And upon our lips.

Almighty One –
You brought us out from Egypt
To renew us,
Redeem, free, heal, and restore us,
To ready us
As Your treasured people.

You led us into the wilderness,
Into silence and nothingness,
Into a blank slate,
And you painted a picture of our lives
And commanded us to be
Like paint upon a landscape,
Parent respecting,
Shabbat observing,
Torah learning,
Vengeance eschewing,
Righteousness doing,
Kindness performing,
Neighbor assisting,
Senior revering,
And stranger loving.

If this is what You intend for us
And if this is the way to be holy,
It is so very hard!
But those who seek You
Will continuously strive,
And we will teach this to our children.

Tracker Pixel for Entry


View our privacy policy and terms of service.




Rabbi John L. Rosove assumed his duties as Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood in November 1988. A native of Los Angeles, he earned a BA in Art History from UC Berkeley...

Read more.