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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Vayiqra: Parashat Qedoshim: Eternal Qedousha

Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi

In this week's Parasha "Qedoshim", we are privy to a basic repetition of the ten commandments and many other laws in different words. The commentators on the Humash deal with this issue at length. However, there is a subtle repetition within this very Parasha that we can learn a great lesson from.

"Each of you must fear his mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am Hashem your God." (Vayiqra 19,3)

Yet later in the Parasha, we are given a repeated warning regarding observing the Shabbat:

"Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am Hashem." (Vayiqra 19,30)

Many commentators explain the reason why a warning adhering to the Shabbat appears next to having reverence for the "sanctuary" (Bet Hamiqdash), in order to teach us that the building of the Temple us not uproot the laws of the Shabbat. Even though we are commanded to build the Temple, we cannot do so on Shabbat.

However, this can be learned in concept from the first time that the observance of Shabbat appears in the Parasha. In the first above-mentioned verse, the warning to observe the Shabbat is written immediately after the law of fearing one's parents. Here, the commentators teach us that we must fear and respect our parents, but if they tell us to breach the laws of the Torah, we are not to listen. That is a positive (Aseh) commandment (to respect one's parents) cannot uproot a negative (Loh Ta’aseh) commandment, to not not to desecrate the Shabbat. Similarly, the positive commandment to build the Temple, cannot uproot a negative (Loh Ta’aseh) commandment, not to desecrate the Shabbat.

Therefore, the Malbim explains that there is a different teaching to garner from the juxtaposition of the observance of the Shabbat and the reverence of the Temple: Just like the Shabbat is eternal and is always sanctified, so to the Temple, though it may lay in ruins, is always sanctified and holy. We learn that the holiness of Jerusalem and Israel transcends the physical existing of the bricks of the temple or any other physical type structure. The holiness is permanent and resides in our holy land. We must always keep this in mind.
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