Shaarei Yosher, sec. 1: Mission – conclusion
[To repeat the first clause of the sentence:
So too His Will is that we walk in His ways. As it says “and you shall walk in His Ways” (Devarim 28:9)]
כן רצונו ית׳ שנהלך בדרכיו כאמור “והלכת בדרכיו”, – that we, the select of what He made – should constantly hold as our purpose to sanctify our physical and spiritual powers for the good of the many, according to our abilities. … היינו שנהיה אנחנו בחירי יצוריו, מגמתנו תמיד להקדיש כוחותינו הגופניים והרוחניים לטובת הרבים, כפי ערכנו,
Here Rav Shimon Shkop introduces the notion of qedushah, holiness, and applies it to our topic. Bestowing good to others is not only the emulation of the Creator (who created only for the benefit of His creatures), but it is also the essence of qedushah, holiness.
What is holiness? So far all we see is that holiness is defined by dedication; dedication to doing Hashem’s work of bestowing good.
When the Torah speaks of taharah, the proposition is “mi-”, from, e.g. “vetiharo min hatzora’as”– and he [the kohein] purifies him from the [tum’ah associated with the spirito-somatic illness,] tzora’as“. What is taharah? While many object to translating it as “spiritual purity”, the word is used to describe the “pure gold” of the menorah, “zahav tahor”. Taharah is freeing the soul from a kind of adulteration, just as it describes gold that is free of impurities. The tahor soul is one that is free from the habits and effects of living within an animal body.
On the other hand, qedushah is about pull. The golden tzitz on the kohein gadol’s forehead reads “qadesh Lashem”. Qedushah is being set aside for a given purpose. The wedding formula, “Hereby you are mequdeshes li…, committed to me…” uses the term where the “to” isn’t Hashem’ purpose. But in usual usage, if the “le-” is not provided, it means creation’s Ultimate Purpose, “for My Honor, lekhvodi, I have created it”.
Qedushah is thus being dedicated purpose of bestowing Hashem’s good to others.
This is Rav Shimon’s segue into the next topic, which I will be labeling “sec. 2: Sanctity”.
What we have established in this first section:
- Man is created in the image of G-d and to emulate Him.
- Hashem needs nothing, and thus the universe could only have been created for our sake. (Even the unpleasant parts, since without them have no opportunities to imitate and partake of His Ultimate Good.)
- Therefore, just as He acts for the good of others, emulating Him means bestowing good on others — and wanting to.
- Bestowing good must include both relating to others as individuals as well as a communal focus.
- This includes both doing good in the present and preparing to be able to be good in the future.
- Qedushah is defined as our commitment to this goal.