The portion of Kedoshim sets forth dozens of commandments in connection with sanctifying oneself and relating to the holiness of G-d. Specifically, the portion addresses idolatry, charity, Shabbat, sexual morality, honesty in business, respect for one’s parents and the sacredness of life. The word Kedoshim means “holy”.
The primary rule and wisdom of the Torah is found in the following sentence in this week’s portion – “You should love your fellow (neighbor) as you love yourself”. The great Kabbalist Rabbi Akiva called this the cardinal principal of Torah, while Hillel, one of the leading Jewish scholars, said “[t]his is the entire Torah, the rest is commentary”. It really is that simple. When we love and share with others the same way we’d like to be loved and shared with, then we can become holy and find true happiness and fulfillment. It is beautiful to note that the word “love” in Hebrew is “ahava”, which has the numerical value of 13. When we love others as we love ourselves, we get 2x love or 26. G-d’s holiest name (the Yud Kei Vav Kei) also has the numerical value of 26 so that when we love others as we love ourselves, we connect to the energy of G-d, which is unconditional love.
This Torah principle of loving your neighbor as you love yourself is all we need to understand this week. A story in the Talmud describes how Hillel shared this simple message from Kedoshim when challenged by a heathen to teach him the entire Torah while standing on one foot.