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Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “Every person faces a life of wearying, unending toil.”

We recite every day: “You shall love God your Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deut. 6:5).

Our sages interpret as follows: ‘“With all your heart’ means with both your inclinations, with the good inclination and with the evil inclination; ‘with all your soul’ means even if He takes your life; and ‘with all your might’ means with all your money” (Berakhot 54a).

But the order in this series of required sacrifices to God is strange:

If one is ready to give to God with both of his inclinations, and he is even prepared to give up his life in service of God, it seems anticlimactic to end the series with the injunction to give up one’s money in service of God as well.

The meaning of “with all your money” is not simply that the person is told to hand over his money.

Rather, every person faces a life of wearying, unending toil.

“With all your money” is not about the act of giving but about committing oneself to a type of life where he is aware of the sacrifices expected of him from the outset.

One must face these sacrifices not once in his lifetime but every day – often three or ten times a day.

In light of the erosion that we have discussed, it stands to reason that “with all your money” is actually the most difficult demand of the three.

First comes “with all your heart,” then “with all your soul,” and if someone is truly courageous and holy, he can also serve God “with all your might.”

A lion or a bear can be struck down, but a million termites is a different kind of challenge altogether.

The secret to achieving this courage is “Sanctify yourselves and be holy, for I am holy” (Lev. 20:7).

We agree to take upon ourselves the million termites of life, which appear every day and at every hour, from the time we rise in the morning until we go to sleep at night.

The solution is to emulate God; when we bring God into the picture, we begin to understand the meaning of the verse, “I am God – I have not changed” (Mai. 3:6).

God does not change; He remains holy no matter what the circumstances.

“Who dwells with them in the midst of their impurity” (Lev. 16:16) – God has the ability to maintain life in the midst of impurity.

Parashat Kedoshim states that we, too, can walk in His ways. Then and only then will we succeed in being holy like Him.

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz