Rabbi Mordecai Finley
Be Holy - Kedoshim 2022
A holy person acts differently from other people. A holy person is separated from other people. A holy person knows something that a regular person does not know. A holy person knows things in a different way from others. A holy person is connected to something far beyond this mundane level. A holy person might seem to be connected to that unseen realm more than this one.
When God said to the Israelites in our portion, Kedoshim, to “be holy,” the people of Israel were called into being to form a new holy order, the United Israelite Fellowship of the Six-Pointed Heart of the Star. We were to act differently from the general population, pursue holy knowledge, connect ourselves to the Source of Holiness.
Anyone could join, as long as they accepted upon themselves the rules of the Holy Order. As members of this order, we are given a moral behavioral code, a code of honor, and a spiritual code, to establish a relationship with the Source of Holiness. We work to be kind to each other, to help each other, to strengthen each other.
A few of the rules of the Holy Order are given in our Torah portion: Revere your parents, don’t worship idols, leave harvest gleanings to the poor and strangers, don’t steal, don’t deny the truth, don’t swear falsely by the Divine name, don’t cheat others, don’t rob, pay your workers on time, don’t curse the deaf, or put stumbling blocks before the blind – you shall revere God. No perversion in justice: don’t favor the poor or honor the great, but judge with righteousness. Don’t gossip, don’t stand idly by in the blood of your neighbor, don’t hate others in your heart. Make sure to hold others accountable, otherwise you share in their wrongdoing. Don’t take revenge or bear a grudge against the others in the Holy Order, or people in general, for that matter. Love each other as yourself.
When you sign up for this United Israelite Fellowship of the Six-Pointed Star, you get your own set of tassels, made of pure white strands of cotton with one thread of sky blue, tied into special symbolic knots. The knots we will explain to you. You’ll wear these tassels every day.
You make an inscription on your doors and gates. We’ll show you.
You’ll eat a certain way, and mark time a certain way. You’ll engage in a daily ritual, uniting head and heart, uniting thinking and feeling, uniting intellectual and physical power, dedicating it all to the Holy God who has called you into holiness.
You’ll be told the sacred stories, and you should memorize them. We will set time for gatherings – you should study and attend. You’ll be taught practices of cultivating mind, soul, and spirit, and you’ll be expected to practice them.
You’ll rest once a week, connect with other members of the Holy Order, discuss and teach the nature of this order, understand its rules and stories, and contemplate together the Divine Source of Holiness.
Not every practice of mind, soul, or spirit mean as much to you as another, but you’ll try all of them as you find the ones that sing directly to your soul. You’ll work this path with all your heart, soul and might. Take it seriously. A lot of effort has been put into forging this path and keeping it alive. Honor it. Earn it.
And you will learn that part of the founding self-understanding of this Holy Order is a story of liberation and a story of the revelation of the rules of the Holy Order of the heart of the United Israelite Fellowship of the Six-Pointed Star. You will study the connection between the liberation and the revelation.
Here is the caveat: You will encounter a force within you that does not want to measure up to the demands of this Holy Order. This force will call you to become cynical of the beliefs and ornery to each other. In fact, one reason this order was established was to expose that hidden force of resistance to what is good and true and bring it out into the foreground. That hidden force plots, plans in paces deep in the inner chambers of human beings. That hidden force ruins lives and can ruin everything. We are dedicated to taming it. That hidden force is terrified of this Holy Order. We are in constant battle with in. You’ll discover that we are a holy order of spiritual warriors. We’ll teach you how to fight the hidden force of resistance to all that is true and good, but you’ll have to train. In fact, much of what we do is train. You’ll see.
We have alliances with many other holy orders, dedicated to fighting resistance to what is right, and true and beautiful. We all share what we know.
What do you get out of it? A life of holiness with other seekers and warriors of the Holy. If you think you measure up, contact a member of the order and they’ll walk you through it.