After a week’s absence, it was pleasing to see the shul walls still standing and the physical address exactly where it has always been. Perhaps somewhat disconcerting, to hear that things went well in my absence and that the world revolves as always.
In the week of my absence, the Rabbi’s drasha was delivered by Kornel, and although I was not there, I believe that it Is safe to say that it was related to the teachings of the Tzaddik, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, probably containing many tidbits of gematria (numerology) accompanied by the occasional clapping of hands and other object/organs.
This week we had a full house, with both rooms full almost to minyan capacity, which created the dilemma as to whether the minority in the shul should join the kidush/shmuzing room to pray with a minyan or to recruit a couple from among the reserves and pray in the Shul. Being of conservative constitution, or out of pure laziness we opted to pray in the Shul, evading the need to move the Torah to the room.
We had a couple of Davids as guests, Klopffer David who was also here when I was away and probably on the mistaken assumption that I would be away again, returned. Or perhaps just woke up too late for the long trek to Obuda. Also David Lantai who I’ve promised an Aliya to the Torah for years, but when the time to call up came, went A.W.O.L. We also had the honor of Gergú Borbás among us.
The topic of the Drasha was holiness, with a discussion as to the precise obligation and definition of holiness as mentioned in the beginning of the Parsha. Rashi connects holiness as concomitant to refraining from violating the sexual prohibitions of the torah, an opinion that clearly disturbed certain members of the congregation. Other opinions view holiness as a result of following all the laws of the Torah, viewing “kedoshim tiye” as a prediction – “you will be holy” as opposed to command, “be holy”.
The Ramba”n follows the view that it is a commandment, which only begins after the laws have been given, giving an extra dimension to religiosity. Accordingly, it is not enough to fulfill the laws, but even when something is kosher, does not necessarily mean that it is in fact kosher. The obligation to be holy is a duty to step beyond the call of duty and the narrow confines of the law and find refinement by refraining from excessive lust even when legally permitted.
Nonetheless, that is merely the path to achieve holiness, but what exactly is holiness and how is it in fact achievable? “Be holy for I am holy…” Holiness is to be apart, transcendent – and somewhat Godly. And the final explanation was that holiness is Godliness, and in effect the command to be holy is the emperative to connect with the spark of the divine within all of us.
With the message of holiness in mind, we finished the prayers and had a wonderful kidush, where Zelig broke bread with us and Gergo led us with birkas hamazon.
Until next week, Good Shabbos.