What does ‘holiness’ mean to you?April 22, 2016
The Passover holiday is upon many of us. It begins this Friday, April 22, 2016 on Shabbat. How fitting a time for Jewish families and friends to gather together to celebrate this religious and historic holiday. I know, from my personal experiences, that there will be family festivities with lots of chatter, laughter, and delicious foods! There will be moms and dads, siblings, grandparents and our darling, grandchildren seated around dining room tables all over the world. But there will also be something deeper at this religious holiday which is why today I want to talk about defining holiness.
Our grandchildren, and for that matter all of us, darlings, should constantly enjoy interesting topics of conversation over dinner with our families. As a “Honey” of a grandmother I enjoy relating my personal stories to my Grands; to leave them a lesson and a memory in their heads
Since it is Passover I am reminded of a story I told my entire family. I discussed holiness; a word that includes all faiths, a story that can be told to all.
What is holiness?
I was asked this question, by my Rabbi, when I was studying for my Bat Mitzvah, three years ago.
“What is holiness? What role does it play in your daily life?” He caught me off guard. I was speechless. I finally answered.
“I never thought about the word holy in my daily life. Holy was up in heaven. It was God. It had no bearing on the daily life of a mortal.” I continued and tested him with this question, “Do you know any holy people on earth?”
His answer was divine, in my mind. He said, “I know people who have pieces of holiness.”
“And what does that mean?” I, again, questioned.
He continued, “It is a specialness in their being; a person’s state of mind, their ability to be mindful of what is important in their lives and the lives of others.”
I drove home from my lesson wondering about “pieces” of holiness.
Did I unknowingly, incorporate “pieces of holiness” in my daily life that gave me joy, a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of well-being; my personal mantra, my state of being? I had an hour to think.
◦ Holiness is lighting the Shabbat candles on Friday night and saying a blessing for my family and feeling joy.
◦ Holiness is when someone upsets me, and I try to think before I speak.
◦ Holiness is walking on the beach with my husband and my dog and feeling content.
◦ Holiness is being honest, kind and knowing I try to be a good person.
◦ Holiness is being charitable and helping others and feeling good about it.
◦ Holiness is my love for my family and feeling blessed.
◦ Holiness is the highest level of human behavior. That is why my Rabbi said each of us has only pieces.
If you decide to ask your Grands and everyone at your dining room table this Passover or at some kind of family gathering, “What does holiness mean to you?” I think you will have a very lively conversation! And…
I believe everyone will leave the table with a thought or a message that never entered their mind pertaining to the word holiness. And that is what I call marvelous, darlings… to leave with a divine message in your head!
At this time of the year, Passover, if I could grant each of you a wish, it would be to add the word holiness to your vocabulary. It is a profound word. This is a perfect time of the year with Easter passed and Passover at many of our front doors to get in touch with your spiritual side and work on defining holiness for yourself.
Please, my darlings, don’t Passover the chance!