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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

Thoughts About Holiness

This week at the KI minyan, we shared thoughts on the definition of Kadosh or holiness, as part of thinking about Parshat Kedoshim. This is the collection. You are welcome to add to it, by emailing me at

I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on what this concept means.

Rabbi H

"For me the holy is that which is dear to God. It’s action-based. It requires human initiative. It’s not for bystanders. It invites us and those around us to be and become upstanders."


“A cut above”


" Lovingly and intentionally placed, recognized as special, brought into pure focus."

Larry C

"Being holy is honoring the ideas of B'tzelem Elokim. I can't say that I always live up to it but if we could all recognize our common humanity in the image of GD."


" To be holy means to live at the highest level in terms of the valuational plane of one's actions, thoughts, etc. For example, to be selfless is a mode of being holy."


"To act and speak with integrity and empathy and towards just purposes."


"Many words come to mind-Kindness, gratefulness, loving others, to be non-judgmental, and then there is all of nature, the ocean, the sky, sand, flowers, especially right now."


”To be holy is a term that others assign to an individual or an object that is exceptional


to be holy is a conjoining of the human and The Divine.”


"To be uplifted, to feel a spirituality and sanctity in all things."


"To strive to be open to the divine in all our dealings."


"I saw the holiness this morning when I heard the voice of others.

the voice of others made me connected with a holy moment when I just listened.

I see the holiness when I see a cloud moving in the sky, and I see that the cloud is passing in front of me, and I stop thinking and only see the cloud and receive a blessing.

I see the holiness when I make a mistake and then I see that it was holy to make too.

I see holiness when I sit on the ground for a moment and my hands touch the grass and the tree trunk and I feel the connection with the creation. I see the holiness in the brother or sister who questions me and that makes me see that there is holiness there too. I heard this morning that holiness is in a moment when your heart speaks. This morning I feel the holy when I am silent."


"To act in a holy manner is to put another’s welfare before your own."


"Holiness our personal communication with our inner soul and heart

God is a part of your soul and how we live our lives.

Holiness is the good deeds we do for others.

The contribution we make with make charity

Lighting candles and observance of Shabbat and holidays is holiness in motion

The example we set for our families and friends.

Holiness is with us in sadness snd joy.

It’s the flame that keeps us going every day in life."


"I think the holiness referred to here is innate--our default state of being (the state of all humans) is holy, because we were created in the image of the Divine.

I think this particular verse is about manifesting that innate holiness in the world--choosing actions, words, behaviors, etc. that actualize that holiness in concrete, discernible ways"


"Holy is a private space set apart from daily life. Even shared, it is still private and calming."


"To be connected to G-d. To have a bit of godliness in me, or a bit of me in G-d?"


"To strive to be open to the Divine in all our dealings."


"To be mindful of the simultaneous divinity pervasive in all things and the value of the individual identities of all things."


"Sanctified, set apart, special, devoted to Hashem, behaving in a way that would make G-d proud of us.."


"I think it is aspirational. It is sort of a guide in our quest for being a better person. It is a state never achievable."

For more on the concept of holiness:

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