קדשים תהיו, be holy. Rashi says this means to refrain from immoral relationships. Ramban says this means to take it even further, by sanctifying one’s self even with what is permitted. So how does this mean holy? Let’s take a look at what it says regarding holiness for one who is not born yet. It is said (Yirmiah 1:5) בְּטֶרֶם אֶצָּרְךָ בַבֶּטֶן יְדַעְתִּיךָ וּבְטֶרֶם תֵּצֵא מֵרֶחֶם הִקְדַּשְׁתִּיךָ נָבִיא לַגּוֹיִם נְתַתִּיךָ, before I formed you in the belly I knew you, and before you left the womb I sanctified you; I established you as a prophet unto the nations. So we see that even someone who has not yet entered the world can be a קדוש, holy. What, then, is this mitzvah of “be holy?”
The primary source for waiting until a Jewish boy is three years old to cut his hair is found in this week’s parasha regarding the mitzvah of ערלה. The Torah requires that when we plant fruit trees in Eretz Yisroel, we are prohibited from eating them for three years. In the fourth year one brings these fruits to Yerushalayim and there he can redeem them and eat them. Similarly, we allow the hair of a Jewish boy to grow until he is three years old and then we cut the hair, which is symbolic of praising HaShem. It is noteworthy that the Medrash Tanchuma states as follows:
This portion is referring to a child, who for three years cannot speak (apparently that was the norm in those times) in the fourth year the father consecrates him to the study of Torah. Praise in the fourth year is to HaShem, and in the fifth year he begins to study Torah, as we know that a five year old boy begins to study Scripture. The Rambam writes that there is a mitzvah to converse in לשון הקדש, the Holy Tongue. The word פה, mouth, equals in gematria the word מילה, circumcision. This teaches us that the way one speaks reflects his conduct in that area of morality. When the Torah commands us to be holy, it is not sufficing with the injunction to refrain from immoral relationships. Rather, one must speak in the “Holy Tongue,” which the Rambam explains to mean not using coarse language. It is noteworthy that the word קדשים forms an acrostic for the words שישמור מערוה, ידבר דיבורים קדושים, one should refrain from immorality, and speak holy words. Furthermore, regarding the mitzvah of ערלה it is said (Vayikra 19:24) וּבַשָּׁנָה הָרְבִיעִת יִהְיֶה כָּל פִּרְיוֹ קֹדֶשׁ הִלּוּלִים לַ-י-ה-וָֹ-ה, in the fourth year, all its fruit shall be sanctified to laud HaShem. The words קֹדֶשׁ הִלּוּלִים forms an acrostic for the words התחיל לדבר, מקדישו לתורה, ואז ידבר דיבורים של קדש, when the child begins to speak, the father consecrates him to Torah, and then he should speak words of holiness.
HaShem should allow us to guard our speech and only converse in holy maters, and to safeguard our hearts and minds from foreign influences, and we should merit the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, speedily, in our days.
Have a HOLY and PURE SPEECH Shabbos!
Erev Shabbos Kodesh Inspiration Kedoshim 5776
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Have a Wonderful Shabbos!
Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler
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