This week in the Torah:
Three Mitzvos are mentioned one after the other: a) You shall be Holy, b) A man shall fear his mother and father, c) Guard My Sabbaths.
Torah is precise. Therefore the juxtaposition of these three commandments together is intentional and delivers a message. What is that message?
- Jewish Holiness: To be Holy means for a Jew to be distinct from members of any other nation. The Jew does not need to make himself distinct within the fulfillment of the Mitzvos, because that has always been distinct. Rather in matters that are apparently similar to that of other nations, such as eating, drinking, business, etc., that is where a Jew need be distinct and Holy. This is possible because a Jew is always connected to the Almighty and draws Holiness from Him.
- Jewish Parents: A Jew is not meant to be self-absorbed. Rather he is meant to educate others to follow the path of G-d. This is hinted to in the second of the above Mitzvos; the relationship between parents and their Children – education. And the mother is mentioned first. Because, practically speaking, the mother has more opportunity to educate the child.
- Sabbath: This Mitzvah is the method with which a Jew can effect in himself and in his learners the feeling that they are distinct from the nations of the world. Shabbos is an indication of the bond between G-d and the Jews. It strengthens the Jews’ faith in the creation of the world and that G-d constantly conducts it. For Shabbos reminds us that G-d created the world in six days and on the seventh day He rested. The other nations believe that G-d left the world in the hands of the stars and the constellations – nature. Jews realize that everything comes directly from G-d. Hence, the Jews are not shackled by nature. They are not born of the six days of creation which are mundane. Rather they are associated with the Sabbath which is G-d’s day, and, hence, above nature. Shabbos also reminds us of the Exodus, which signifies the departure from all limitation.
The message of these three Mitzvos together is one. By keeping the Sabbath, a Jew can impart to himself and to others the feeling of being distinct from all other nations even within mundane activities.
(Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 1, Kedoshim)