"And G‑d spoke to Moses saying, 'Speak to all the Congregation of the children of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy: for I, the L-rd your G‑d, am holy.'" (Lev. 19:1-2) Rabbi Elazar opened [his discourse by] saying: "Be not like the horse, or the mule, which have no understanding..." (Psalms 32:9) How many times did the Torah attest to people, how many times did she raise her voice in every direction to awaken them, but all lay sleeping in the holes [of their eyes], not looking and not paying attention [to the future] with what faces they will stand on the day of heavenly judgment, when the Heavenly King will exact from them the shame of the Torah that cried out to them, and yet they did not turn their faces to her. That all are blemished by all [sorts of sin] since they do not know of the Faith of the Heavenly King. Woe to them [their bodies in this world] and woe to their souls [in the world to come].

For the Torah attests to them and says, "Whoever is simple, let him turn here, she says to he that lacks a heart..." (Prov. 9:4) Who is [meant by], "he that lacks a heart"? That he lacks faith [strongly established in his heart], for whoever doesn't toil in Torah, has no [strongly established] faith [but only by rote and habit] and is blemished in every respect. Why is it written, "she says to him," when it should read, 'I will say to him', [but it is] as the verse says, "I will say to E-l my rock..." (Psalms 42:10) [whenever in exile]. So why does it say here, "she says"? It wishes to include also the supernal Torah [bina] which also calls him, "that lacks a heart," blemished in faith.

For so have we learned that it is forbidden to approach him, to be a partner or do business with him, and one must surely not travel with him on the way, since he lacks faith. We learned that everyone who walks along the road without mentioning words of Torah endangers his life. All the more so for he who befriends on the road one who lacks faith, that he did not properly honor his Master [to toil in Torah and thus acquire faith], nor even himeself [for he will be sentenced in the future to shame in Purgatory], as he shows a lack of concern for his nefesh.

Rabbi Yehuda said: How will he who shows no concern for his nefesh [by toiling in Torah to repair it] draw a proper soul to his son? And of this is written, "Be not like the horse, or the mule, which have no understanding..." [It is so important to draw down a holy soul for one's children by engaging in Torah, which illuminates the inner part of the worlds, the source of holy souls. Ed.] Worthy are the righteous who strive in Torah and know the ways of G‑d and sanctify themselves with the sanctity of the King. They are always found in holiness. And for this reason, they draw a spirit of Holiness from Above and all their children are truly worthy and are called 'the children of the King', 'holy children'.

BeRahamim LeHayyim: What does the above mean to you, and why is it revealed now?

"Wake up sleepyhead" is a cry we usually only hear around the Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur—HiHo [High Holiday] cycle. That is one of the reasons for hearing the Shofar as an alarm, a wake-up cry to Teshuvah. In this part of Leviticus we are learning, the so-called Holiness Code is given over. The Torah tells us we are a holy nation and a nation of priests. All of us. If we choose to ride this wave and comport our life accordingly, more power to us. If we ignore it, what a loss! We are not talking here about mere superficial observance. G‑d desires the faithful heart.

A little done with intention is greater than lots without. "Derech Eretz" literally means the way of the land, but connotes trying to do the right thing at all moments, whether we are sleeping, eating, engaging in marital relations, learning, traveling to and from work, etc. A mindful nature is what the Holiness Code stands for. Now go and learn!

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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