The parsha presents the “genesis” of being transformed from common (chol) to holy (kadosh). There is a developing awareness of the concept of holy being developed through the design and construction of the Tabernacle, which is “holy” and filled with “holy” articles, being used for a “holy” purpose. G~d is in the process of transforming the consciousness of mankind from common to holy, a process which is still ongoing today. It started with Abraham, and is now in step two, developing a model using Israel as a tutor for the rest of mankind.
How can this ever take place? Man is made in the “image and likeness of G~d” yet we are so base, so common, that we use and or destroy anything for our own short term desires (talking now in universal terms of “mankind”). A model is needed for mankind to copy. Israel is the chosen instrument for the model. In the universal sense, Israel is a microcosm of the rest of mankind. G~d desires to “choose” all mankind as his “chosen people, a royal priesthood.”
How does this happen? Be Holy! kadosh is a difficult word to translate into English (see the Ancient Hebrew Research Centerlink for more details.) Even the translation does not do justice to the transformative concept “Be Holy!” This is a physio-spiritual concept – a physical reality with a spiritual transformation. It is a command to become a new being. Absolutely impossible by our own power, and absolutely incapable of doing anything without the power of G~d (the Holy One) operating in the holy person. Similar in concept to commands like Be Alive, or Be Loving, or Be Smart! It is a command to change something spiritual inside a person, which can only be a reality if the person behaves with certain principles. Thinking one is Loving means nothing if no loving actions follow. Doing loving actions does not actually mean the person is loving, they may just be a good actor. Thus, the only way to Be Loving, is to have both an internal transformative process or experience, and the outward actions which demonstrate the internal state, AND the outward actions must be principally spontaneous and genuine. (Of course there is plenty of room for growth and training which molds both the internal and external aspects of a person. )
Thus Be Holy! is transformative internally and externally, over a period of time, and generations, that people will be UNCOMMON in the aspect of transforming OTHERS to Be Holy! as well. It is the state of being which recreates the universe. The driving force toward Eden for every aspect of the Universe. The respect and care for all that is good, and the banishment for all that is evil (the familiar spirits along with all the evil they generate). Be Holy! is a physio-spiritual STATE of BEING.
One can not really Be Holy by self power, any more than one can Be Alive. One can direct the thoughts and actions of life to Be Holy, and through the miraculous power of G~d, which works throughout everything, the transformation will slowly occur. Once one IS Holy, it is a state of being, not an effort. The model is the Tabernacle. The Holy Tabernacle, filled with Holy items, would transform the Common to the Holy. The Holy items could become defiled and need to be re-purified, but they never became Common.
For those who want to delve a little deeper into the spiritual, transformative power of G~d, the model which Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus) lived, depicts a life which has transformed individuals and nations. The numerous stories of people being Born Again are really pictures of Be Holy! in action. These people had the spiritual transformation to Be Holy, which then needed the time and effort to learn what a holy life looks like. Some did well, others over history have done poorly.
Do not be confused by the scoundrels of history! The false “holy” people. Various leaders and lay people who project a sense of being righteous but are filled with evil actions and intents. They have nothing to do with Be Holy!
Be Holy is not getting it all right! We can not get it all “right.” We are not looking for perfection, because perfection does not exist except in G~d, and we are not G~d, nor would we want the responsibilities of being G~d. Be Holy is a transformed state of being where we inherently care for the welfare of others, the best, without neglecting ourselves.
Here are some study notes: