While traveling from city to city selling his wares, a peddler approached the city of Tzipori and called out in a loud voice, “Who wants to buy the potion of life? Who wants life?” A crowd gathered around him. Rabbi Yanai heard the commotion and stood by watching. When he heard the man’s offer, he said to him, “I would like to purchase some.” The peddler responded, “It’s not for you and your type.” Rabbi Yanai persisted. Finally the peddler took out a T’hilim and opened it to the pasuk, “Who is the man who wants life? Guard your tongue from evil.”

“And a man from the house of Israel, and from the converts who live with you, who shall consume any blood, I shall place My face against the soul of the one who consumed blood, and I shall cut it off from amongst your nation.”

VaYikra 17: 10

“You shall be holy, for holy am I, your G-d.”

VaYikra 19:2

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In this one sweeping statement, the Torah assigns to us a mitzvah that seems well beyond our capacity – be holy. Even more perplexing, this isn’t relegated only to the elite, or to the most pious. Rather, every Jew is commanded to be sacred.

“When you enter the Land of Israel, you will enjoy prosperity and abundance. You will build beautiful homes. Your crops and livestock will increase. You will amass gold and silver. And all that you engage in will flourish… If you become arrogant and say, ‘My strength and the might of my hand made this wealth…’”

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