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Ordinary Holiness

A Bit of Jewish Wisdom.

 "The divine and the ordinary merge in Judaism, where the holiest day of the year is not Yom Kippur, the majestic and awesome Day of Atonement, but every Saturday. This potentially average day of the week is such a distinctive time. In Judaism, a holy place is not a magnificent cathedral, but the the sukkah, a rickety hut erected in the backyard or on the balcony to celebrate the harvest in early autumn. Holy objects? The Torah, a length of parchment wound around two undistinguished wooden rollers. Holy food? Challah, a plain egg bread. And on what does the future of the world rest? Not on great acts of heroism, but on the breaths of schoolchildren who are studying their tradition."

~ Wendy Mogel, Ph.D. The Blessing of a Skinned Knee. 

God doesn't call us to be happy, God calls us to be holy. He calls us to be separate from the evil in the world. He says, "You are to be holy because I am holy." 1 Peter 1:16. When we think about trying to become holy, it can be quite a daunting conundrum because we are also told that we are in a constant unalterable sinful state (Jeremiah 17:9). So what can we do to become holy as the Lord says? Lets look at the Hebrew blessing: Asher kideshanu bemitzvotav "who has sanctified/separated us by His commandments." 

Back to ordinary holiness. Becoming holy isn't some form of ascetic lifestyle, the ability of extreme self-denial, or the performance of miracles, but simply the obedience to Gods commandments. By obeying His words and commands, we are then separated from the rest of the world and we are becoming holy because He is holy. His commandments are given to us to sanctify/separate us because of His mercy and grace. He calls us to follow and obey Him because, He loves us.

Leviticus 11:45

"For I am the Lord who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy."

Leviticus 20:26

"Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine."

1 Peter 1:16

Because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:15

But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior.

The above picture of the Torah scroll was taken from an ancient synagogue in Hebron, one of the holiest cities in Israel. 

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